Hohenschönhausen: Visual and Material Representations of a Cold War Prison Landscape

Part of the One World Archaeology book series (WORLDARCH)


The Cold War prison complex at Hohenschönhausen is notorious as a former forbidden zone of the East Germany’s Ministerium für Statssicherheit (Stasi). Set in a far-flung suburb in eastern Berlin, Hohenschönhausen has, since 1994, been a memorial site, increasingly visited as part of organised coach tours to landmarks of Berlin’s troubled past. As with other recently occupied prisons around the world, former prisoners guide visitors around the stark interior, with first-hand accounts of torture and atrocity. It is a visit one remembers. But the prison itself is only part of the story, albeit a central focus for the wider landscape of Hohenschönhausen – a place of industry and espionage, a secret city of the Stasi and of the Cold War. In 2005, the authors spent 2 days surveying and generating a characterisation of this wider landscape to improve interpretation and presentation for prison visitors, on site and online. An unexpected dimension to this study was a realisation that, for some, the habits of the Cold War remain.


German Democratic Republic Industrial Building District Heating System Secret Police Wide Landscape 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to the staff of the Gendenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen for welcoming us and sharing their knowledge of the area. In particular, we are indebted to Silke Bauer, Reinhard Bernauer and the historian Peter Erler. All photographs by the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.English HeritageCambridgeUK

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