After German unification, the abandoned Stasi prison of Berlin-Hohenschönhausen was turned into a memorial museum where many former political prisoners work as historical witnesses, giving tours to the public and bearing witness to the trauma and terror of Stasi detention. Their stories of arrest, interrogation, and imprisonment form the centerpiece of the memorial museum’s historical narrative and the cornerstone of its political education. This article examines how the site’s physical properties lend shape and texture to the tour narratives of historical witnesses and how personal stories of political repression at the hands of the Stasi inform the collective memory of the staff as well as the public history produced by the memorial museum. Even after hiring professional historians and standardizing the tours, the use of historical witnesses and the victim-centered historical narrative of the memorial museum remains a source of continuing controversy that set Berlin-Hohenschönhausen apart from other memorial museums in Berlin and Germany.
Stein, Mary Beth
"Narratives of Stasi Detention: Memory and History at the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial Museum,"
Narrative Culture: Vol. 3
, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/narrative/vol3/iss2/6