Mielke’s private jail, a detention center or a Stasi prison, – Bautzen II prison went by many names in the GDR era. Today, it is a memorial site. It is there to remind us of the victims of both Bautzen prison institutions, Bautzen I, the so-called Yellow Misery and Bautzen II.
The thematic focus of the Bautzen Prison Memorial is:
- The history of both Bautzen Prisons in National Socialism from 1933 to 1945
- Bautzen I as a Soviet special camp from 1945 to 1956
- The Stasi prison Bautzen II 1956 to 1989
In the former prison, the historical and political background of the respective periods of persecution, as well as individual instances of imprisonment are documented for the visitor.
In addition to exhibitions and regular guided tours, readings, lectures, talks and film screenings are held. The memorial was founded in 1993 on the initiative of the Bautzen Committee, an organisation of former political prisoners of the Bautzen prisons. Today, the Prison Memorial is administered under the umbrella of the Saxon Memorials Foundation.
On the “Karnickelberg”, located in Talstrasse, directly next to Bautzen Prison, many of the prisoners, who died in the special camp in the years 1945–1949, were buried.
Here, the City of Bautzen, with the support of the federal government and the Saxon State, and in cooperation with the Bautzen Committee and the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, created a memorial cemetry for the victims of communist tyranny in Bautzen prisons.
Under difficult conditions, from 1992 to 1994, some of the bodies of the special camp victims, which were hitherto buried in unknown places, were recovered. In September 2000, a memorial chapel was inaugurated in the immediate vicinity of the burial ground.
Since 2013, a memorial path, which runs along the moat where the deceased were originally buried, leads to a place of remembrance for the victims. Thanks to the generous donation of the entrepreneur Prof. Dr. Reinfried Pohl, who lost his father in Bautzen, the long-cherished wish of the survivors and relatives of the victims for a place of remembrance was realized.
The figure “Reconciliation” of the Dresden sculptor Alexander Preißler welcomes the visitors and symbolizes the wish of the donor that this place stand for forgiveness but not forgetting.
In the Neuschen promenade, on the river Spree and at the present location of the railway manufacturer Bombardier, a memorial stone stands as a reminder to the external camp of the concentration camp Groß Rosen.
From 1940 onwards, on the site of the former wagon and engine factory, a forced labour facility with two camps for prisoners of war was established. In order to increase production, an external camp of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp was built in 1944, and in April 1945 further prisoners were sent to the camp. On April 20 1945, all the camps were disbanded and the majority of the prisoners were forcibly transported from the camp. Many of them did not survive this death march. Their fate remains unknown.
In 1979 a memorial for the victims of the external camp was erected at the site of the factory, which had once again begun production. Because of a construction project at the factory, this memorial was removed in 1993 and it was not rebuilt. On 27 January 1997, a new memorial stone in memory of the external camp was inaugurated, located outside the factory grounds. In addition to the stone, an information board on the history of the camp was set up.