A place of silent remembrance
The memorial centre at Plötzensee is a place of silent remembrance for the nearly 3000 people who were executed here by the Nazis.
Only a little light comes in through the arched windows in the room. The walls are grey and bare. On a dark heavy beam under the ceiling, five hooks are attached, each a metre apart, darkly hinting at what happened here in Plötzensee between 1933 and 1945.
The memorial centre at Plötzensee is a place of silent remembrance for the nearly 3000 people from Germany and abroad were were executed here by the Nazis.
Plötzensee prison was built between 1868 and 1879 on part of the Plötzensee manor estate in Tegel Forest. From 1933, it was increasingly used for interrogating and executing political prisoners. Many of the prisoners were condemned by Sondergerichte, political courts set up by the Nazis, such as the Volksgerichtshof, or People’s Court, which they established in 1934.
Between 1933 and 1945, 2891 people were sentenced to death and executed at Plötzensee prison, including members of the Red Orchestra, participants in the failed coup of 20 July 1944, Czech resistance fighters and members of the Kreisau Circle. Almost half of those executed were not Germans. All of them died by guillotine in the prison yard, or, after 1942, were hanged in the execution room.
In 1951, the city government established a memorial centre at Plötzensee, which was officially opened a year later. It was dedicated to the Victims of Hitler’s Dictatorship from 1933 to 1945. The room where the executions took place is now a room of remembrance. The heavy beam with the five hooks gives visitors a nightmarish impression of those times and has not lost any of its effect today.
In the room next door, an exhibition documents the Nazi court system. It shows the individual fates and life stories of people who were persecuted and killed by the Nazis. The memorial centre is run by a dedicated foundation called the Stiftung Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand.
Not far from the memorial centre is a housing estate called the Paul-Hertz-Siedlung, where there is a church built as a memorial to the victims of Plötzensee. It features artwork by Alfred Hrdlicka, with twelve panels depicting the murder and death at Plötzensee as a danse macabre.
The Path of Remembrance connects the Plötzensee Memorial, with the Protestant Plötzensee Memorial Church (Heckerdamm 226), the Catholic Maria Regina Martyrum Memorial Church (Heckerdamm 230) and the Protestant Church of the Atonement of Christ (Toeplerstraße 1), which commemorate the women and men who sacrificed their lives to resist the Nazis.
|Mar - Oct||10am - 5pm||daily|
|Nov - Feb||9am - 4pm||daily|