Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Obama in Saudi Arabia: Oil diplomacy triumphs in face of human rights abuses (part 2)

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'There have never been so many jobseekers in France'

Read more

DEBATE

Obama in Saudi Arabia: Oil diplomacy triumphs in face of human rights abuses (part 1)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Auschwitz, 70 years on

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Former LRA commander appears before ICC

Read more

WEB NEWS

'Snowmageddon 2015': Web users brace for massive snow storm

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

In Nazi death camps, 'I asked myself where God was all the time'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Far-left and far-right celebrate Syriza's victory

Read more

FOCUS

Auschwitz, the symbol of industrial-scale extermination

Read more

Europe

Former political prisoners of the Stasi share their memories

Video by Philip CROWTHER , Virginie HERZ , Marina BERTSCH

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-11-06

The old Stasi prisons lost their purpose in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. They have now become the symbols and a daily reminder of what the unified Germany never wants to see again.

 

The fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov 9, 1989, brought about the end of one of East Germany’s most feared institution, the secret police, known as the Stasi.
 
Now, ten years later, what was then the Stasi's main prison in Hohenschönhausen in East Berlin, has lost none of its gloom. But with no more political prisoners to lock-up, this haunting symbol from the not-so-distant past has been converted into a museum.
Harry Santos is one of Hohenschönhausen’s former prisoners who now act as a guide.
 
“Back under the communist regime, people protested, they would stand in a square holding a banner that said they wanted freedom or free elections,” Santos recalls. “After just two minutes, they’d be arrested and locked up for years.”
 
Santos was originally caught while hatching a plan to flee to the West. To this day, he has not forgotten the total silence that reigned in the prison or the daily humiliations that were meted out.
 
“A lot of young people know almost nothing about this,” Santos says. “Our mission is political education, and I must say it is working.”

 

Date created : 2009-11-06

COMMENT(S)