Germany / Monument

Moabit Cellular Prison History Park




The Moabit Cellular Prison History Park (Geschichtspark Zellengefängnis Moabit), was constructed on the site of the former political prison in Berlin. Some participants of the 20 July 1944 plot were held in this prison.

The Moabit Cellular Prison History Park was constructed on the site of the former prison in Berlin-Moabit. The latter was built between 1842 and 1849 as the first exemplary prison consisting of solitary cells in Germany. The prison was built as one of the most modern prisons in the 19th century. Some of its prominent inmates included Polish insurgents of the January Uprising in 1863 and a Bolshevik leader, Karl Radek, in 1919. After the beginning of the Second World War, the Wehrmacht, the German police as well as the Gestapo used the prison as their place of remand for criminals, political enemies or Wehrmacht deserters.

After the plot of 20 July 1944, some participants and other members of the German resistance were held inside, of which only few would survive the war. They were kept for show trials presided by the notorious Nazi judge Roland Freisler and tortured by the Gestapo officers.

During the Battle of Berlin, on 23 April 1945, sixteen prisoners were executed by the SS squad in the nearby park and later buried in the cemetery in the Wilsnacker Straße. Among them was Albrecht Haushofer, who wrote his famous Moabit Sonnets in this prison. He was the son of Karl Haushofer, whose ideas of Geopolitik indirectly influenced the expansionist views of Adolf Hitler.

The premises were captured by the Soviet 207th Rifle Division between 29 and 30 April 1945. The prison itself was less damaged and served as a prison and execution site for West Berlin. Among the twelve people executed here between 1947 and 1949 were also doctors who took part in the Nazi euthanasia programme. After the prison was demolished between 1957 and 1958, the site saw different usages until its historical importance was recognised again in the 1980s.

Between 2003 to 2006, the history park was established, and it was inaugurated in 2006. The features of the former prison are represented through the former prison walls, ground reliefs, a concrete replica of a prison cell and plantings.