- Posted May 9, 2012 by
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Behind the Bars: The Stories of a Former KGB Prison
- jmsaba, CNN iReport producer
If these walls could talk...
Actually, they can. Sort of. Thanks to the writing on the walls.
The building -- that was from 1945 to 1989, the central KGB prison of counterintelligence/espionage in Eastern Germany -- has been kept in its original state to help historical researchers learn more about the people affected by it. Next to the former prison, the state funded a 1,000-square-foot permanent exhibition which includes nearly 400 photos and tells the precise stories of more than 50 prisoners. This permanent historical exhibition is dedicated to uncovering the stories of the people who suffered there, much of which can be seen as one tours the former prison, and literally reads the prisoners' writings on the wall.
I had the rare opportunity to be shown inside by Memorial Leistikowstraße's Director, Dr. Ines Reich as she prepared for the permanent exhibition's mid April 2012 opening.
For decades, Potsdam, part of Eastern Germany until the re-unification, was like a "forbidden city" and was primarily occupied by military and the KGB. The Berlin Wall actually ran through Potsdam as it is a neighbour city to Berlin and literally just across a small bridge from it.
Prior to this, Potsdam had been a designer city, its landscaping designed by Prussian kings. Its grand parks and summer residences were once nearly exclusively enjoyed by European aristocrats and royalty.
**An interesting fact is that nearby the site is Castle Cecilienhof -- the famous location where Stalin and Truman and many others met to negotiate the Potsdam Agreement in 1945, which effectively led to the division of Germany.
Filming permissions by Memorial Leistikowstraße Potsdam
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Memorial Leistikowstraße Potsdam
Historic Highlights of Germany