Stasi sights in Berlin not to miss

by Feb 8, 2019Berlin Region

No visit to Berlin should be without a closer look at the horrific history of East Germany’s former secret police, the Stasi. These are the top Stasi sites in Berlin to visit.

No visit to Berlin should be without a closer look at history – specifically the horrific history of East Germany’s former secret police. These Stasi sights in Berlin should find a place on your to-do list. Read our stories about each and see our photos prior to your visit to find out more in advance.

Stasi Museum Berlin

The Stasi Museum Berlin is actually housed in the bleak former headquarters of the infamous spy agency, called “House 1” on the Ministry of State Security’s campus in the Lichtenberg area. You too can climb the same stairs that residents did on their way to dreaded meetings or interrogations, walk through the offices (as they were) of Stasi head Erich Mielke, and read exhibits (German and English) about how it operated.

A ticket costs 8 Euro at the time of this writing, with various discounts or group rates.

Stasi Prison Berlin at Hohenschönhausen

A visit to the Stasi Prison Berlin is a bleak experience, but a must. You can walk the halls and into the cells and interrogation rooms at this secret prison, but only on guided tours. Most tours are actually led by former prisoners, who have their own style and stories (Some English tours may be led by historians and not former prisoners). An interesting note is that this prison – known as the Hohenschönhausen Memorial and run by a non-profit — was actually a blank spot on former East Germany maps to make its existence more secretive.

Regular admission prices are 6 Euro, with various reduced rates. Please check tour schedules, offered in German, English and Russian. You will find many school groups visiting this location.

We encourage you to watch our brief 6-minute video tour so you can see highlights prior to your visit. It explains the memorial site of the Stasi secret prison.

Stasi Archives Berlin

The newest addition to the group of Stasi sights in Berlin is the archives of the secret police, open since mid-2018. You can see exhibits about how the archives were run, how they logged I information on its citizens and get a look behind several sets of doors at the actual stacks of paper files dating back to East German days. Researchers and historians are still at work trying to track files and recreate information that was torn up or burned.

Again, tours are the only way to get into the archive stacks, although the exhibits can be visited (free) at any time. The tours (German, and English) are only offered at certain times so do visit the website prior (links and information in our story) to plan your visit.

HITT TIP: On the same campus as the Stasi Museum and Archives is an additional open-air exhibit about the revolution that lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is in the courtyard area and is thus open 24/7. An audio guide is available in the “Info Center” during its open hours. Also available in the center are a number of books and brochures (all free, some also in English) about the Stasi, the wall and other historical items. 

Bonus Stasi visit

If your travels take you to Leipzig, the heart of the peaceful revolution that helped lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall, you should also take the time to visit the small Stasi Museum Leipzig in the “round corner” building.

There are guided tours, but only in German at the time of this writing. Much of the exhibit is also only in German, but the exhibited items and photos are still of interest, as well as the building itself. Plus, there is an audio guide (for a fee) that is very thorough and in excellent English.

Stasi Museum Leipzig Cover

If you are spending additional time in Berlin, our archives of stories about the area will help you plan a visit to the city we love for its diversity, history, art and culture! 

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  1. yarasam

    What a neat tour to learn more about the past. Stasi sights remind me of my tour of the House of Terror in Budapest. I can’t imagine having the prisoners themselves giving the tour though, that must have been a unique memorable experience. Thank you for sharing.

    • HI Travel Tales

      Through remembering and acknowledging the lessons of the past we are best able to work to prevent such attrocities from happening again … though sadly many in the world seem to want to embrace terror as a means of control. Yes, the tour in the Hohenschönhausen Memorial led by former prisoners is eye-opening, personal and so very very real.

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