Memorial and Documentation Centre “Opfer politischer Gewaltherrschaft” (“Victims of Political Tyranny”) in Frankfurt (Oder)

Memorials of recent German history
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“It was hell. I will never forgive them for what I experienced here. I was scared to death.” These were the words used by Heinz Grünhagen to describe the horror he experienced during his time at the Stasi remand prison in Frankfurt (Oder). He was incarcerated there as a young worker after joining strikers in Strausberg during the popular uprising of June 17, 1953. Crammed into an overcrowded cell, he was sentenced to five years in prison after brutal mistreatment and interrogations lasting several nights.
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  • Blick von der Oderpromenade, Foto: Museum Viadrina/ Karl - Konrad Tschäpe
  • Blick von der Stadtseite, Foto: Museum Viadrina/ Karl - Konrad Tschäpe
Historically, the prison is not only closely linked to the SED dictatorship but also to the history of the National Socialist tyranny. In 1933, the Gestapo used the building complex to imprison opponents of the Nazi regime, as well as those who had been excluded from the so-called Volksgemeinschaft (“national community”). It is likely that Social Democrat and Communist Willy Jentsch (1892-1966) was also imprisoned here for some time. Having become mayor of Frankfurt (Oder) after the war, Jentsch ad to spend many months in various concentration camps and penitentiaries because of resistance activities.

After the end of World War II, the prison was first used by Soviet security agencies as a place of internment or interim prison, then from 1950 to 1969 as a Stasi investigative prison and finally as a detention centre for the East German police. It was used for executions both during the Nazi era and in the years thereafter up until 1952. As such, the prison was one of the sites in the Soviet occupation zone (SBZ) of East Germany where the death penalty was carried out.  

During the peaceful revolution in the autumn of 1989, a round table working group proposed turning the prison into a memorial. Opened in 1994, the memorial and documentation centre contains a permanent exhibition in the former cell wing which is dedicated to the practice of internment and criminal prosecution during the Nazi era, the period of the Soviet Occupation Zone and the German Democratic Republic. In 2006, the programme was expanded with the addition of the permanent exhibition “Locked up... remanded in custody with the Stasi in Frankfurt (Oder)”. Numerous texts, photos and documents provide information on the individual fates of former prisoners as well as the prison conditions.

Literature:
  • Museum Viadrina Frankfurt/Oder (ed.), Begleitheft Gedenk– und Dokumentationsstätte “Opfer politischer Gewaltherrschaft” in den Jahren 1933 bis 1945 und 1945 bis 1989, Frankfurt/Oder 2010.
  • Joachim Widmann, “Dich kriegen wir weich”. Berichte aus dem Alltag einer Diktatur, Bonn 1997.
  • Gerhard Hoffmann, Antifaschistischer Widerstand in Frankfurt (Oder) und Umgebung, Schkeuditz 1999.
  • Katrin Passens, MfS-Untersuchungshaft. Funktionen und Entwicklung von 1971 bis 1989, Berlin 2012.
  • Andreas Weigelt / Klaus-Dieter Müller / Thomas Schaarschmidt et al. (eds.), Todesurteile sowjetischer Militärtribunale gegen Deutsche (1944-1947). Eine historisch-biographische Studie, Göttingen 2015.

Links:

  • http://www.museum-viadrina.de/Ausstellungen/15_Gedenkstaette.html

Continue readingcollapse
“It was hell. I will never forgive them for what I experienced here. I was scared to death.” These were the words used by Heinz Grünhagen to describe the horror he experienced during his time at the Stasi remand prison in Frankfurt (Oder). He was incarcerated there as a young worker after joining strikers in Strausberg during the popular uprising of June 17, 1953. Crammed into an overcrowded cell, he was sentenced to five years in prison after brutal mistreatment and interrogations lasting several nights.
Continue readingcollapse
  • Blick von der Oderpromenade, Foto: Museum Viadrina/ Karl - Konrad Tschäpe
  • Blick von der Stadtseite, Foto: Museum Viadrina/ Karl - Konrad Tschäpe
Historically, the prison is not only closely linked to the SED dictatorship but also to the history of the National Socialist tyranny. In 1933, the Gestapo used the building complex to imprison opponents of the Nazi regime, as well as those who had been excluded from the so-called Volksgemeinschaft (“national community”). It is likely that Social Democrat and Communist Willy Jentsch (1892-1966) was also imprisoned here for some time. Having become mayor of Frankfurt (Oder) after the war, Jentsch ad to spend many months in various concentration camps and penitentiaries because of resistance activities.

After the end of World War II, the prison was first used by Soviet security agencies as a place of internment or interim prison, then from 1950 to 1969 as a Stasi investigative prison and finally as a detention centre for the East German police. It was used for executions both during the Nazi era and in the years thereafter up until 1952. As such, the prison was one of the sites in the Soviet occupation zone (SBZ) of East Germany where the death penalty was carried out.  

During the peaceful revolution in the autumn of 1989, a round table working group proposed turning the prison into a memorial. Opened in 1994, the memorial and documentation centre contains a permanent exhibition in the former cell wing which is dedicated to the practice of internment and criminal prosecution during the Nazi era, the period of the Soviet Occupation Zone and the German Democratic Republic. In 2006, the programme was expanded with the addition of the permanent exhibition “Locked up... remanded in custody with the Stasi in Frankfurt (Oder)”. Numerous texts, photos and documents provide information on the individual fates of former prisoners as well as the prison conditions.

Literature:
  • Museum Viadrina Frankfurt/Oder (ed.), Begleitheft Gedenk– und Dokumentationsstätte “Opfer politischer Gewaltherrschaft” in den Jahren 1933 bis 1945 und 1945 bis 1989, Frankfurt/Oder 2010.
  • Joachim Widmann, “Dich kriegen wir weich”. Berichte aus dem Alltag einer Diktatur, Bonn 1997.
  • Gerhard Hoffmann, Antifaschistischer Widerstand in Frankfurt (Oder) und Umgebung, Schkeuditz 1999.
  • Katrin Passens, MfS-Untersuchungshaft. Funktionen und Entwicklung von 1971 bis 1989, Berlin 2012.
  • Andreas Weigelt / Klaus-Dieter Müller / Thomas Schaarschmidt et al. (eds.), Todesurteile sowjetischer Militärtribunale gegen Deutsche (1944-1947). Eine historisch-biographische Studie, Göttingen 2015.

Links:

  • http://www.museum-viadrina.de/Ausstellungen/15_Gedenkstaette.html

Continue readingcollapse

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Collegienstraße 10

15230 Frankfurt (Oder)

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Tourismusverband Seenland Oder-Spree e.V.

Ulmenstraße 15
15526 Bad Saarow

Tel.: +49 (0) 33631-868100
Fax: +49 (0) 33631-868102

Weather Today, 30. 11.

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Overcast throughout the day.

  • Thursday
    -1 4
  • Friday
    -2 3

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