• Keyvisual Goerden

Welcome to the online anniversary of liberation at Brandenburg-Görden Prison Memorial

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#sharingmemory – The 76th anniversary of liberation at Brandenburg-Görden Prison Memorial

Dear guests and visitors of the digital 76th anniversary,
the Memorials Brandenburg an der Havel welcome you to the homepage of the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Brandenburg-Görden prison. Here you will find our program for this event:

Zuchthaus-Brandenburg-Görden

Brandenburg-Görden prison, 1930s, GBadH

Liberation in 1945

Brandenburg-Görden prison

Beginning operations in 1931, the prison is regarded as one of the biggest correctional facilities of the German Reich.  Between 1933 and 1945, approx. 20,000 political prisoners and common criminals from all over Europe are detained here.  In 1940, the Nazis install a guillotine to be used in executions.

The last few weeks prior to liberation

Holding approx. 3,500 inmates in April 1945, the prison is completely overcrowded.  The prisoners are malnourished and suffer from lack of medical care.  When the frontline draws closer, the guillotine is sunk in a nearby lake.  Some of the warders and the director flee.

27 April 1945

In the morning of 27 April, the cells are unlocked.  Representatives of the prisoners and the remaining staff prepare for a peaceful handover of the prison to the approaching Red Army.  Around noon, a Soviet tank rolls through the gate greeted by cheering prisoners.  [331]

Evacuation of the prison

Since the prison is situated between the frontlines, the Red Army orders the facility to be evacuated on 28 April.  Most of the inmates leave Brandenburg-Görden on the same day.  Around 300 ill or emaciated prisoners remain in the prison hospital, now a civilian one, to be nursed there.

First commemorative event in 1946

Between 1945 and 1948, the site is part of the largest repatriation camp run by the Soviet occupation administration.  On the occasion of the first anniversary of liberation, former inmates and their relatives are allowed to enter and, standing in front of the Nazi execution place, remember the people killed here.

  • Erste-Gedenkfeier-vor-der-Hinrichtungsstätte-1946

    Commemorative event, 5 May 1946, GBadH

  • Prison hospital, 1930s, GBadH

  • Zeichnung-Jensenius
    Gedenkstätte der JVA Wolfenbüttel, Nachlass Jensenius

    Drawing by Norwegian prisoner Wilfred Jensenius, April 1945, JVA Wolfenbüttel Memorial, Jensenius estate

  • Inside the prison, 1930s, GBadH

    PREVIOUS ONLINE EVENT

    Online commemoration on April 25, 2021 on the anniversary of the liberation at the memorial for those executed in the Brandenburg-Görden penitentiary

    PROGRAMME

    Official welcome:
    Dr. Sylvia de Pasquale, Director, Brandenburg-Görden Prison Memorial

    Speeches:
    Michael Stübgen, Minister of the Interior and for Municipal Affairs of the State of Brandenburg
    Steffen Scheller, Lord Mayor, Brandenburg an der Havel

    Wreath-laying
    Video messages sent by relatives of former detainees, prisoners in preventive detention and victims of execution

    Only in German

    Videos

    Photo exhibition

    The prison in Brandenburg-Görden is a listed architectural landmark; it was comprehensively modernized in the 2000s leaving only one wing untouched. Photographer Arnd Weider shows it in artistic pictures giving an impression of the historic correctional facility. The artist speaks about his work in a video interview.

    Prisoners in security confinement

    As in previous years, our remembrance will centre this year on one particular group of inmates: prisoners in security confinement in Brandenburg-Görden will be the focus of a video documentary in 2021. Their fate, just as that of other Nazi victims stigmatized as “anti-social”, is still largely unknown.

    Portrait film

    On the occasion of the 76th anniversary of liberation, the Brandenburg-Görden Prison Memorial, together with filmmakers of Out of Focus, made a short film about the site.