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File:Bundesarchiv Bild 102-11695, Brandenburg, Hauptgebäude des Zuchthauses.jpg

Brandenburg-Görden Prison is located on Aton-Saefkow-Allee in the Görden section of Brandenburg an der Havel. Erected between 1927 and 1935, it was built to be the most secure and modern prison in Europe. It was a Zuchthaus for inmates convicted of lengthy or life sentences at hard labor, also those sentenced to death, for. Both criminal and political prisoners were sent there, also people imprisoned for preventive detention or for interrogation. Prisoners of war were also sent there. Built with a capacity of 1800, it sometimes held over 4000.

History Edit

By the end of the Nazi era, from 1933 - 1945, roughly 4,300 people had been imprisoned at Brandenburg-Görden. A total of 1,722 people, who were sentenced for political reasons, were executed there. 652 other political prisoners died from disease and seven committed suicide.

The old Brandenburg Prison, on Neudorfer Straße, was closed in 1931 because of its terrible hygenic condition, but later housed the Brandenburg concentration camp from August 1933 till February 1934. The prison later became the site of the Aktion T4 euthanasia program, where from February to October 1940, some 10,000 disabled, mentally retarded or mentally ill people were gassed.[1]

Initially, there weren't many political prisoners at the new prison, but during the war years, it increased to about 60%. The prison was installed an execution chamber in 1940, using what had previously been a garage. They installed a guillotine and a gallows. The total number of executions was 2743 and took place between August 1, 1940 and April 20, 1945. The youngest victim was a 15-year old French boy. By the end of 1942, "preventive detention" prisoners, such as Jews, Roma, Sinti, Russians and Ukranians were sent to concentration camps.[2]

The Red Army liberated the prison am April 27, 1945, finding around 3600 prisoners, including 180 awaiting execution.[2] After the war, the Soviet Army imprisoned collaborators here until 1947, primarily members of the Russian Liberation Army.

Till 1989, the German Democratic Republic also used the correctional facility for political prisoners. Since 1975, there has been a memorial room at the prison, which is today part of a Justizvollzugsanstalt complex.[2]

The present Edit

Today, the prison is divided into three main sections, plus a social therapy wing and prison hospital. There is a jail for 88 adults, a medium security wing for 330 adult men and a minimum security wing for 100 adult men. In addition, there is a social therapy wing with 80 men and a prison hospital with 32 beds. There are another 36 beds in the transport wing for prisoners who are being moved from one location to another. The JVA Brandenburg is a men's prison and is supported by a total staff of 439, of which 145 are women.

Prisoners there have sentences from temporary detention to life, the most severe sentence in Germany. Life sentence does not, however, mean one is to spend the rest of one's life in prison, rather that it is for an undetermined, but long time with a minimum of 15 years. After 15 years, the sentence may be commuted.[3]

The prison is in the midst of a renovation that will last until 2014. It will update the security and technical equipment to state of the art. The prison will remain operational during this time.

The street where the prison exists is now named for one of the people executed there, Anton Saefkow.[4]

Notable prisoners Edit

(Many of the people on this list are notable because they later became important in the German Democratic Republic. For more information on any of the people below, see the list on the German version of this page.)

Executed or died at Brandenburg-Görden Prison Edit

File:Stamps of Germany (DDR) 1964, MiNr 1016.jpg
File:Stamps of Germany (DDR) 1964, MiNr 1015.jpg
File:Stamps of Germany (DDR) 1964, MiNr 1014.jpg
File:Werner Seelenbinder auf DDR-Briefmarke.jpg

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. "Denkmal zur Befreiung des Zuchthauses Brandenburg-Görden" City of Brandenburg, official website. Retrieved March 17, 2010 (German)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Dokumentationsstelle Zuchthaus Brandenburg Archive for Zuchthaus Brandenburg. Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenstätte (Brandenburg Memorial Foundation) Retrieved March 17, 2010 (German)
  3. "§ 57a Aussetzung des Strafrestes bei lebenslanger Freiheitsstrafe" Bundesministerium der Justiz ("Federal Ministry of Justice") official website. Section of the penal code defining a life sentence. Retrieved March 18, 2010 (German)
  4. Timeline of the prison City of Brandenburg, official website. Retrieved March 17, 2010 (German)
  5. Short biography of Hermann Schlimme. German Resistance Memorial Center, Berlin. Retrieved March 24, 2010
  6. Short biography of Alexander Schwab. German Resistance Memorial Center, Berlin. Retrieved March 24, 2010
  7. Short biography of Franz Jägerstätter German Resistance Memorial Center, Berlin. Retrieved March 25, 2010
  8. Short biography of Wilhelm Knöchel German Resistance Memorial Center, Berlin. Retrieved March 25, 2010
  9. Short biography of Alfred Kowalke German Resistance Memorial Center, Berlin. Retrieved March 25, 2010
  10. Short biography of Rudolph Mandrella German Resistance Memorial Center, Berlin. Retrieved March 25, 2010
  11. Short biography of Franz Mett German Resistance Memorial Center, Berlin. Retrieved March 25, 2010
  12. Short biography of Alfons Maria Wachsmann German Resistance Memorial Center, Berlin. Retrieved March 25, 2010

External links Edit

fr:Prison de Brandenbourg

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