Posts Tagged ‘Stasi Prison’

What to do in Berlin? Visit the former Stasi Prison!

Monday, January 9th, 2012

 

Stasi Prison (c) Sulamith Sallmann

Pay a visit to the former Stasi Prison in Berlin Hohenschönhausen, and learn more about the GDR times.

The Stasi Prison Memorial is always worthwhile a visit. You need to keep in mind that you can only visit on a tour. You will be guided through the prison building and outside areas. You will hear stories, sometimes from firsthand, because some of the guides have stayed at the prison themselves.

It is an unique opportunity for you to learn more about the Berlin History while being at a uniquely remained historical sight. A lot of the old furniture is still there, so it offers a really good view of how it was, and what it looked like.

When you get in a sort of creepy feeling comes over you, history gets more lively when you not only read about it but when you really visit the places where it all happened. I got  a really shivery feeling at some of the stories that had been told during the tour.

 

Thousands of political prisoners passed through this jail, almost all prominent figures who where opponents of the GDR – regime where held prison at Hohenschönhausen.

 

The location of the Stasi Prison, was in a strictly hermeneutic sealed area, in a military district. Before the prisoners where transported to the prison they where blindfolded an put into a van. Driving and driving for hours and hours in circles, just in means to disorientate the prisoner. As they finally arrived at Hohenschönhausen they had absolutely no clue that they where still in Berlin. To disorientate the prisoners was one of the many methods  the stasi used to get information from the inhabitants of the stasi prison!

This area never appeared on any map and was kept very secretly.

Follow this link for a map of the historical location.

For opening hours: you can check their website for further details and to get information on the various exhibitions that are being held.

Besides the tours through the building they also have an exhibition space, for permanent and temporary exhibitions. All exhibitions encourage and stimulate critical reflection on the forms and consequences of political persecution and suppression under the communist dictatorship.
Opening hours for the exhibitions, daily from 9am till 6pm. There is no entrance fee so you can visit the exhibitions for free!
To check which exhibitions are currently on, follow this LINK

English speaking tours are on every Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30 pm. Tours in German are on more frequent, from Monday till Friday at 11am, 1 pm and 3pm, and on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays every hour between 10am and 4pm.
The cost of the tour is 5€, if you are a student you pay 2,50€.
Most of the tours are being guided by a contemporary witness or a historicist.

Here some information on how to get to Hohenschönhausen, from the EastSeven Berlin Hostel.
Also a map: klick here
To get there you first take the U2 from Senefelderplatz, in direction Ruhleben, get off at Alexanderplatz. From Alexanderplatz you take the M5 in direction Zingster Strasse. You get out at the stop Freienwalderstrasse. From here you can walk there.
If you need help with how to get there, just come ask us at the hostel in central Berlin, EastSeven!


Autumn in Berlin: a TOP 10 of cool things to do in Berlin!

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
Berlin

Berlin

Slowly but surely summertime is almost gone. But no need to worry, Berlin is amazing in Autumn too.

We have listed up some cool events and things to do in the autumn.  Some of the events written about here are totally free of charge, wow! It is just to give you some ideas and inspiration. Sure there is much more to see and do than the 10 things listed here.

1. Visit the Stasi Prison in Berlin Hohenschönhausen

The site of the main remand prison for people detained by the former East German Ministry of State Security (MfS), or ‘Stasi’, has been a Memorial since 1994. Since the vast majority of the buildings, equipment and furniture and fittings have survived intact, the Memorial provides a very authentic picture of prison conditions in the GDR and gives another view of the divided Berlin.
Tours of the prison are usually led by former inmates, who provide first-hand details on prison conditions and the interrogation methods employed by the GDR’s Ministry of State Security (MfS).
It is only possible to view the extensive prison complex on a official guided tour as Visitors require detailed guidance in order to understand the various sections of the prison.
Public tours every Saturday and Sunday, every hour from 10am to 4pm in various languages, but better call ahead to ask at what time it is in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Danish or Norwegian…
Phone Visitor’s Service: Phone: +49 – (0)30 – 98 60 82-30 / ask at the reception and we call for you!
Admission:
Regular fee 5,00 Euro, concessions*) 2,50 Euro, Students 1,00 Euro
*) university students, senior citizens, handicapped persons, Berlincard-holder
How to get there:
Take the Metro U2 from the Hostel and go 2 Stops to Alexanderplatz. From here you take the Tram M5 to the stop “Freienwalder Strasse”. The Memorial is then about a 10 minute walk down Freienwalder Strasse in Genslerstraße 66.

2. Go to the sauna to do some healthy sweating!

There is a really nice sauna close to the EastSeven Berlin Hostel, it is called the Saunabad.

In autumn they are open daily from 3pm till midnight. For 2,5  hours you pay 10€

Tuesday is ladies-day.

3. This is the perfect season to go to a museum.

The following 3 museums are so cool, you could spend your entire day there!

- German history museum

- Pergamon museum

- Hamburger Bahnhof

 

4. Go shopping!

Yes indeed you still need some nice clothes for the winter!

A great street for shopping you will find closeby the hostel, the kastanienallee.

Check out our shopping guide video for more inspiration!

 

5. Party till you drop!!

Berlin is good for partying all night long, untill the early morning sunrise.

close to the hostel you´ll find some cool bars & clubs.

One of our favorite bar within walking distance is the 8 mm bar.

A variety of clubs is to be found in the Kulturbrauerei, a former brewery now famous for it´s thrilling night life program.

6. Topography of Terror

Back in 1987 a group of students excavated, with little more than their bare hands, the cellars of Berlins former Gestapo and SS headquarters. The Topography of Terror is the fruit of their labour, an open-air exhibition documenting what happens when a totalitarian regime tortures its people to death for fun.

Pickup a headset from the reception for English audio commentary.
Next to the Topography of Terror is an excellent art museum called Martin-Gropius-Bau.

7. Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum
When visiting Berlin, you should visit some historical sites aswell. for instance the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. It’ s not going to be a fun trip, but you will learn so much more about the terrible second world war and its victims.
Opening Hours
15 March until 14 October: daily 8:30 – 18.00
15 October until 14 March: daily 8:30 – 16:30
Entry is free.

8. Go on, try German food!! You´ll Like it!

Schusterjunge is a nice traditional German restaurant.

This is a quite popular restaurant, there is always a crowd here! The food is good and the have really big servings, you will get good value for your money here!

9.The Berlin Wall Documentation Center


is one component of the memorial site ensemble at Bernauer Strasse. The ensemble consists of the Berlin Wall Memorial, the Chapel of Reconciliation and Documentation Center. The Documentation Center is officiated by the Verein Berliner Mauer – Gedenkstätte und Dokumentationszentrum, which is supported by an advisory council and bears responsibility for the project content.
The Documentation Center on the history of the Berlin Wall provides historical information and educates the public. It makes information and in-depth programs available to the interested public. Beginning with the historical, political events that occurred at Bernauer Strasse, an area situated at the border between East and West and hence a focal point of German postwar history, the center researches and presents the history of the division of Germany.
The Documentation Center opened on November 9, 1999, the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, with a workshop exhibition titled “Grenzblicke. A new exhibition titled “Berlin, August 13, 1961” has been on display since August 13, 2001. The exhibition, presented in both English and German, was designed by the Berlin company gewerk.
The Documentation Center is housed in a section of the Evangelical Reconciliation Parish. The rooms, provided rent-free, are to be used for documentation and for an exhibition.

10.Viktoriapark Kreuzberg
Viktoriapark is one of Berlin’s oldest and prettiest parks and offers a great view from the top of Kreuzberg. Have a delicious and cheap vegetarian lunch at Seerose (Mehringdamm 47) and then have a coffee or some ice cream at one of the plenty cafes in Bergmannstraße. Kreuzberg/Viktoriapark @ U-Mehringdamm.

Have fun exploring Berlin without spending too much money!! Hope to welcome you soon to the EastSeven Berlin Hostel!!!!

 

 

 


Our wintertime TOP 10 of Events in Berlin

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Reichstag

Reichstag

The EastSeven Berlin Hostel made you an amazing top 10 of cost-free activities and events in Berlin this winter.

Berlin is an exciting capitol, where lots of events are being organized all through the year. Some of these events are free of admission.
So if you are traveling on a low budget, like a lot of backpackers staying in hostels, read on! You will be able to have a great time in berlin without spending too much money :) .

1. Visit the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum.
When visiting Berlin, you should visit some historical sites aswell. for instance the sachsenhausen concentration camp. It’ s not going to be a fun trip, but you will learn so much more about the terrible second world war and its victims.
Opening Hours: 15 October until 14 March: daily 8:30 – 16:30. Entry is for free.

2. Enjoy Berlins lovely Christmas Markets. Most of the Christmas markets are free of any charge. Check out our blog on Christmas markets for a list of markets closeby. If you go to one of the markets, you will have a great time just by watching all the action thats going on.
3. Don´t pay money for culture! On thursday nights, from 18-22h, most of the state museums are admission free to visit! just ask at the reception where you should go to!
4. The Berlin Wall Documentation Centre is one component of the memorial site ensemble at Bernauer Strasse. The ensemble consists of the Berlin Wall Memorial, the Chapel of Reconciliation and Documentation Center.
The Documentation Center on the history of the Berlin Wall provides historical information and educates the public. It makes information and in-depth programs available to the interested public. Beginning with the historical, political events that occurred at Bernauer Strasse, an area situated at the border between East and West and hence a focal point of German postwar history, the center researches and presents the history of the division of Germany. A visit is free of charge and really worthwhile!
5. Ping pong bar, Dr. Pong,  at the Eberswalder straße. You pay a deposit of 5€ to get a bat , and then you just start playing table tennis with evryone that is there! Its definately a great deal of FUN!
6. Don´t miss out on the monday evening cooking event at the EastSeven Hostel. The food is for free, it´s vegetarian and 100% delicious. Our cook Florian makes the best food in town! Its also a nice opportunity to meet up with other travelers.
7. Go on a walking tour to visit all important sights in Berlin. Just take the Brewers walking tour, they come to pick you up every day at 12.45 from our hostel.
8. The stasi prison in Berlin Hohenschönhausen is free of admission on mondays.The Memorial’s charter specifically entrusts it with the task of researching the history of the Hohenschönhausen prison between 1945 and 1989, supplying information via exhibitions, events and publications, and encouraging a critical awareness of the methods and consequences of political persecution and suppression in the communist dictatorship. The former Stasi remand prison is also intended to provide an insight into the workings of the GDR’s political justice system.
Since the vast majority of the buildings, equipment and furniture and fittings have survived intact, the Memorial provides a very authentic picture of prison conditions in the GDR. The Memorial’s location in Germany’s capital city makes it the key site in Germany for victims of communist tyranny.
9. Holocaust Memorial. Berlins ultra-controversial memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe, 2,711 concrete blocks jutting off at offensive and suffocating angles. Co-incidentally only a stones throw away from the site of Adolf Hitlers former underground lair, the Führerbunker.
10.Reichstag – The German parliament building,
re-opened in 1999 after the government and most of the ministries moved from Bonn to Berlin. British architect Lord Norman Foster redesigned this place, complete with a huge glass dome with public access, so you can watch the politicians at work.

If you need more help and inspiring ideas for planning your berlin city trip make sure to also check out our online staff-recoomendations. Also just come ask our friendly staff at the reception. Hope to see you all soon in Berlin at the EastSeven Berlin Hostel!!


Visit Berlin, visit the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Stasi Prison (c) Sulamith Sallmann

Stasi Prison (c) Sulamith Sallmann

The EastSeven Berlin Hostels recommendation for this week:  visit the former stasi prison

The site of the main remand prison for people detained by the former East German Ministry of State Security (MfS), or ‘Stasi’, has been a Memorial since 1994 and, from 2000 on, has been an independent Foundation under public law. The Berlin state government has assigned the Foundation, without charge. The Foundation’s work is supported by an annual contribution from the Federal Government and the Berlin state government.

The Memorial’s charter specifically entrusts it with the task of researching the history of the Hohenschönhausen prison between 1945 and 1989, supplying information via exhibitions, events and publications, and encouraging a critical awareness of the methods and consequences of political persecution and suppression in the communist dictatorship. The former Stasi remand prison is also intended to provide an insight into the workings of the GDR’s political justice system.

Since the vast majority of the buildings, equipment and furniture and fittings have survived intact, the Memorial provides a very authentic picture of prison conditions in the GDR. The Memorial’s location in Germany’s capital city makes it the key site in Germany for victims of communist tyranny.

In 2006 the Memorial could reach a new record with more than 171,000 visitors in total and 50% of these being students. Since the Foundation came into effect in July 2000, the number of visitors has more than doubled (figures as of 31.12.2006). Tours of the prison are usually led by former inmates, who provide first-hand details on prison conditions and the interrogation methods employed by the GDR’s Ministry of State Security (MfS).

Events
The Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial regularly holds events designed to encourage critical reflection on the communist dictatorship in East Germany. The spectrum of events ranges from elaborately planned exhibition openings to panel discussions, lectures, and book presentations, as well as film, music, and readings, with events frequently combined with a tour through the former prison.

Despite the Memorial’s rather out of the way location in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, previous event evenings have usually met with a very positive response. For example, over the last few years the “Long Night of the Museums” has often attracted more than 1000 visitors to the former Stasi prison for that event alone. The Memorial has enjoyed similar success during the “Open Memorial Day” each year in September, with visitor figures usually at around 1500. The “Long Night of the 17th June” in summer 2003 marked a special highpoint in the Memorial’s history, with numerous events to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 17th June uprising in the GDR. With various partner institutions, the Memorial also organises a number of events that take place at venues in the centre of Berlin.
If you are planning to visit the Memorial as a group, you can register with the Visitors’ Service either by phone, letter, or email. The Visitors’ Service then appoints a guide for your tour and coordinates the times with you, confirming the planned date of your visit and providing the details for payment. The Visitors’ Service also offers a fee-based service for accompanying film teams (permission to film has to be obtained in advance).

It is only possible to view the extensive prison complex on an official guided tour. The guided tours team has more than 30 freelance members, most of them former inmates, who also relate the tour to their own experience in the remand prison. Since our tour guides were imprisoned for a variety of reasons during different periods of persecution, they provide an insight into a broad spectrum of political persecution in the GDR. As part of the Memorial’s civic education programme, our guides are also available for longer eyewitness interviews.

Tour Times

Public tours in English for individual visitors
Every Wednesday at 2.30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.
and upon request by mail, fax or phone.
Admission: € 4 / concessions, € 2; students free
Free admission on Mondays.

Guided tours for non-German groups
The Memorial offers guided tours in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Danish and Norwegian, daily between 9am and 4pm.
Groups are requested to register 7 to 8 weeks in advance of their proposed visit.
Please contact the Visitor’s Service: Phone: +49 – (0)30 – 98 60 82-30, Fax: +49-(0)30 – 98 60 82-34, Email: besucherdienst@stiftung-hsh.de

Regular admission

  • Groups with no more than 12 participants pay an allowance of 48 Euro.
  • Groups with at least 13 participants pay 4 Euro each.
  • Groups with no more than 18 participants pay an allowance of 36 Euro.
  • Groups with at least 19 participants pay 2 Euro each.

(Text: stiftung-hsh.de)

For more info on  Events, Museums and clubs in Berlin you can also check our online staff-recommendations