Gedenk-und Begegnungsstätte Leistikowstraße, memorial

Memorials of recent German history
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The house at Leistikowstrasse 1 was built in 1916 as a vicarage and the administrative headquarters of the Protestant Women’s Aid Association. In 1945, Soviet military counterintelligence seized the building and used it as a central transit and remand prison in East Germany until 1991. Up until the mid-1950s, the secret service imprisoned German and Soviet citizens there, and occasionally people of other nationalities, too, and from 1955 onwards solely Soviet military personnel and civilians. The reasons for imprisonment changed over the years. In the years 1945/46 the charges were participation in war crimes, sabotage, anti-Soviet propaganda, possession of weapons or aiding and abetting treason, while from 1947 prisoners were increasingly accused of espionage, anti-Soviet activities, desertion and criminal offences.
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  • Sitz der Evangleischen Frauenhilfe vor 1945, Foto: Gedenkstätte Leistikowstraße
  • Posten am Grenzzaun der Geheimdienststadt, Foto: Gedenkstätte Leistikowstraße / Birgit Ragotzky
  • Blick in die Dauerausstellung, Foto: Gedenkstätte Leistikowstraße / Hagen Immel
  • Geschichtspfad zur sowjetischen Geheimdienststadt, Foto: Gedenkstätte Leistikowstraße / Hagen Immel
  • Gedenkstätte Leistikowstraße, Foto: Gedenkstätte Leistikowstraße / Friedemann Steinhausen
It is not known how many people were imprisoned in the almost 50 years of the prison’s history. More than 1000 prisoners’ inscriptions in the cellars bear witness to the inhuman prison conditions of the early years. The cold, damp rooms, the poor hygienic conditions and inadequate nutrition remained etched on the prisoners’ memories forever. The secret service interrogated prisoners on the upper floor or in the neighbouring building. Soviet military tribunals sentenced them in non-public proceedings to death or to several years’ imprisonment, which the victims had to serve in the camps and prisons of the Soviet Union/DDR and the Soviet Union’s Gulag system.

The prison was located at the geographical centre of a restricted area of the secret service, “Military Town No. 7”. Apart from the KGB headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst, it was the largest Soviet secret service base at the interface to Western Europe. After the withdrawal of Russian troops from Germany in 1994, the building was returned to the Evangelical Church Aid Association. Established in 2008, the memorial is a modern museum of contemporary history which serves special educational and humanitarian functions. The permanent exhibition opened in 2012 and documents the history of the site as well as the fate of the prisoners. Since 2014, a history trail has provided information on architectural relics and important sites relating to the secret service in the city. Those interested can study the topography of this area on a bronze model in the inner courtyard at the memorial site.

Literature:

     – Ines Reich/Maria Schulz (eds.),  Sowjetisches Untersuchungsgefängnis Leistikowstraße Potsdam, Berlin 2012

     – Ines Reich/Maria Schultz (eds.),  Sprechende Wände. Häftlingsinschriften im Gefängnis Leistikowstrasse Potsdam, Berlin 2015

     – Wolfgang Benz (ed.), Ein Kampf um Deutungshoheit. Politik, Opferinteressen und Historische Forschung. Die Auseinandersetzungen um die Gedenk- und Begegnungsstätte Leistikowstrasse Potsdam, Berlin 2013

     – Memorial Deutschland e.V. (ed.), Von Potsdam nach Workuta. Katalog zur Ausstellung über deutsche und sowjetische Häftlinge im KGB-Gefängnis Potsdam und die Lagerhaft in Workuta/Sowjetunion, Berlin 2003
Continue readingcollapse
The house at Leistikowstrasse 1 was built in 1916 as a vicarage and the administrative headquarters of the Protestant Women’s Aid Association. In 1945, Soviet military counterintelligence seized the building and used it as a central transit and remand prison in East Germany until 1991. Up until the mid-1950s, the secret service imprisoned German and Soviet citizens there, and occasionally people of other nationalities, too, and from 1955 onwards solely Soviet military personnel and civilians. The reasons for imprisonment changed over the years. In the years 1945/46 the charges were participation in war crimes, sabotage, anti-Soviet propaganda, possession of weapons or aiding and abetting treason, while from 1947 prisoners were increasingly accused of espionage, anti-Soviet activities, desertion and criminal offences.
Continue readingcollapse
  • Sitz der Evangleischen Frauenhilfe vor 1945, Foto: Gedenkstätte Leistikowstraße
  • Posten am Grenzzaun der Geheimdienststadt, Foto: Gedenkstätte Leistikowstraße / Birgit Ragotzky
  • Blick in die Dauerausstellung, Foto: Gedenkstätte Leistikowstraße / Hagen Immel
  • Geschichtspfad zur sowjetischen Geheimdienststadt, Foto: Gedenkstätte Leistikowstraße / Hagen Immel
It is not known how many people were imprisoned in the almost 50 years of the prison’s history. More than 1000 prisoners’ inscriptions in the cellars bear witness to the inhuman prison conditions of the early years. The cold, damp rooms, the poor hygienic conditions and inadequate nutrition remained etched on the prisoners’ memories forever. The secret service interrogated prisoners on the upper floor or in the neighbouring building. Soviet military tribunals sentenced them in non-public proceedings to death or to several years’ imprisonment, which the victims had to serve in the camps and prisons of the Soviet Union/DDR and the Soviet Union’s Gulag system.

The prison was located at the geographical centre of a restricted area of the secret service, “Military Town No. 7”. Apart from the KGB headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst, it was the largest Soviet secret service base at the interface to Western Europe. After the withdrawal of Russian troops from Germany in 1994, the building was returned to the Evangelical Church Aid Association. Established in 2008, the memorial is a modern museum of contemporary history which serves special educational and humanitarian functions. The permanent exhibition opened in 2012 and documents the history of the site as well as the fate of the prisoners. Since 2014, a history trail has provided information on architectural relics and important sites relating to the secret service in the city. Those interested can study the topography of this area on a bronze model in the inner courtyard at the memorial site.

Literature:

     – Ines Reich/Maria Schulz (eds.),  Sowjetisches Untersuchungsgefängnis Leistikowstraße Potsdam, Berlin 2012

     – Ines Reich/Maria Schultz (eds.),  Sprechende Wände. Häftlingsinschriften im Gefängnis Leistikowstrasse Potsdam, Berlin 2015

     – Wolfgang Benz (ed.), Ein Kampf um Deutungshoheit. Politik, Opferinteressen und Historische Forschung. Die Auseinandersetzungen um die Gedenk- und Begegnungsstätte Leistikowstrasse Potsdam, Berlin 2013

     – Memorial Deutschland e.V. (ed.), Von Potsdam nach Workuta. Katalog zur Ausstellung über deutsche und sowjetische Häftlinge im KGB-Gefängnis Potsdam und die Lagerhaft in Workuta/Sowjetunion, Berlin 2003
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Leistikowstraße 1

14469 Potsdam

Weather Today, 9. 8.

14 28
Partly cloudy throughout the day.

  • Wednesday
    13 29
  • Thursday
    15 30

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Tourist information

Potsdam Marketing und Service GmbH

Humboldtstraße 1-2
14467 Potsdam

Tel.: +49 (0) 331-27558899
Fax: +49 (0) 331-2755858

Weather Today, 9. 8.

14 28
Partly cloudy throughout the day.

  • Wednesday
    13 29
  • Thursday
    15 30

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