Stasimuseum - Berlin - Germany

Address: Normannenstrasse 22, haus 1, Berlin (See map)
Telephone: +49 (0)30-5536854

Shop: small shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: refreshments
Size of the museum/site: medium
Year of visit: 2003
Overall rating:

Description: Tucked away in a cramped, densely built-up area in eastern Berlin lies the former headquarters of the Ministry of State Security of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (the GDR). Nowadays it houses the Stasimuseum (Stasi being short for "STAats-SIcherheit", meaning state security), which deals with the feared and despised activities of the Stasi during the communist past of East Germany.

The museum offers some items of great historic value, but at the end we left with the feeling that they could have showed much more about this important historical period... Leaving our moaning for what it is, we can say without doubt that it is worth your while to visit this historic location. The rooms used by the infamous Stasi chief Erich Mielke and the top of the Ministerium are open to visitors, left exactly in the state they were in at the end of the GDR-period.

The van with six prison cells (see below) is something that you will definitely remember after your visit. It captures the atmosphere of fear and distrust characterising the GDR-period completely: the chance of getting snatched off the street by this prison-van disguised as a mobile flower shop or a wagon from the post-office because your neighbour, son or colleague passed some minor incriminating information about you on to a Stasi-agent, was ever present. No one was to be trusted!

Consider visiting the Stasimuseum when you're in the German capital. It can be reached using the U-Bahn (Metro), exiting at Magdalenenstrasse-station.

The Stasi building in the Normannenstrasse. Now easier to visit than in the GDR-period!

The logo of the "Ministerium für Staatssicherheit" (the Ministry of State Security).

The room of Minister Erich Mielke. He held office here from 1961 until the breaking down of the Wall in 1989.

Here in another corner of his office, Mielke could meet with his fellow ministers.

The party conference room.

This small van contained 6 (!) cells and was used by the Stasi to pick up people from the streets quickly. Of course this doesn't show on the outside.

This prison cell was reconstructed in the Stasimuseum with the original parts of a cell that was in use elsewhere.