Hohenschönhausen Memorial

Berlin, Germany
Photo © Lukas Roth
Photo © Lukas Roth
Photo © Lukas Roth
Photo © Lukas Roth
Photo © Lukas Roth
Photo © Lukas Roth
Photo © Lukas Roth
Photo © Lukas Roth
Photo © Lukas Roth
Interior Designers
jangled nerves
Genslerstraße 66, 13055 Berlin, Germany
Stiftung Hohenschönhausen
hg merz architekten museumsgestalter

The permanent exhibition in the former National Security central remand prison of the former East Germany focuses on the biographies and personal experiences of the victims. The layout of the Memorial draws a clear distinction between the authentic location as a »carrier of history« and the documentation and exhibition level. The medial information layers stand out from the historical building structure and distinguish between the authentic and the new.

The exhibition is divided into a Prologue, a Victims' Area, a Perpetrators' Area and an Epilogue. First of all, a medially staged abstract model of the prison complex is used to distinguish the various stages of detention. This introduction is accompanied by auditory witnesses of the inmates. The large Victims' Area Room exemplifies on the basis of five focal topics the fates of the prisoners. Large, illuminated panels superimposed with projections define the space, shed light on the topic area and display authentic locations on the themes. In the subsequent, largely preserved Perpetrators' Area, the use of constructional elements is reduced to a walkable bridge, on which display cases containing staged objects are placed. The surfaces conveyed remain clearly readable for the visitor and are subtly staged with typography projections. Following the tour down into the cellar, the visitor experiences an authentic impression of the so-called "submarine", a windowless prison section. Here the encroachments of the exhibition design have been scaled back even more. Only a single cell is medially staged to be able to didactically draw attention to the key facts. Next to it is an interactive monitor, which provides the stories of the former inmates in the cells. The Epilogue ends off the tour with present-day statements of the victims.

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