Tuesday, February 3, 2015

KGB Leistikowstrasse Prison (Potsdam)

The building in Leistikowstraße 1 Potsdam was belonging to the Protestant church organisation EKH. After the Potsdam Conference the rectory was seized by the Soviet Military Administration (SMAD) along with more than 100 other buildings of the Nauener Vorstadt, and turned into a restricted area, “Militärstädtchen No. 7”.

The Soviet Counterintelligence SMERSH reconstructed the building into the central remand prison. All together 36 cells were constructed, located in the basement, on the first floor and the second floor. Gangways and windows were bricked up, to only leave narrow slits. The few windows left were barred with massive iron. Blinds made it impossible to get in contact with the outside world.

The prisoners were often interrogated for months, often abused, and sentenced to long imprisonment or death. Numerous inscriptions in German and Russian show the degree of isolation, psychological pressure, and deprivation to which the detainees were subjected. The Soviet intelligence sent the prisoners after their sentence either directly to one of the notorious Gulag penal camps in the Soviet Union or to one of ten Soviet special camps like Torgau or Sachsenhausen in the Soviet zone of occupation.

The building of the former remand prison was used as a storehouse for materials since the mid-1980s. After the withdrawal of the last Russian troops and intelligence services in 1994, the EKH regained the building at the Leistikowstraße 1 and with the help of committed citizens made it accessible for the public. In 1997, a first exhibition informed visitors about the history of the building. 

Map: google maps

This reportage is part of the We Will Forget Soon Project, developed together with Stefano Corso. Like it and support the Facebook Page

All images are under CC Creative Commons (Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works), please refer to " darioj laganà | www.norte.it "