The sinister secrets of House 3

'Who survived?' Site of a former Soviet and Stasi prison and interrogation centre, and moving memorial by artist Karla Sachse

"Who disappeared in the cellar? What did they know? Who survived?"

These are just a few of the questions printed on a black band surrounding a handsome brick building that now forms part of the municipal offices for the district of Pankow (Bezirksamt Pankow).

The work by artist Karla Sachse movingly records the fact that, from the end of WWII in 1945, the building's basement was used by Soviet Secret Services to interrogate prisoners accused of Nazi collaboration or opposition to Soviet occupation.

'How long was a day without light?' The site of a former stasi prison, Berlin

The block known simply as 'House 3' was later handed over to the infamous Stasi - the East German security service - who again used the cellar as a detention centre until at least 1956.

The sobering installation commemorates just one of the many histories permeating the Bezirksamt Pankow's headquarters - an impressive, late 19th century complex of creeper-clad buildings originally constructed as a hospital and hospice.

Bezirksamt Pankow, was originally built as a hospital complex
Bezirksamt Pankow - House 3 and its former Stasi prison

In 1933, the medical facilities were moved and the buildings assumed their current role as an administrative centre. The chapel overlooking Prenzlauer Allee became a meeting hall for the Nazis, and later served as headquarters to the Commander of Soviet Military Administration for the district of Prenzlauer Berg.

And as for House 3 - how cold were the walls? And where was hope?

Further facts

A Russian inscription left by a Red Army soldier can still be seen protected under glass on a building behind House 3. It reads: ДА ЗДРАВСТВУЕТ 1е МАЙ! (Long live the first of May!)

See also:
A field of rabbits where the Wall once stood
Berlin's beautiful Charité hospital

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Bezirksamt Pankow: Fröbelstraße 17, 10405 Berlin


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