This exhibit provides an overview of the structure, methods and impact of the Ministry of State Security (Stasi), former East Germany’s secret police, inside the feared institution’s fortress-like headquarters. Marvel at cunningly low-tech surveillance devices (hidden in watering cans, rocks, even neckties), a prisoner transport van with tiny, lightless cells, and the stuffy offices of Stasi chief Erich Mielke. Panelling is partly in English. Free English tours at 3pm Saturday and Sunday. The museum is in the eastern district of Lichtenberg, just north of U-Bahn station Magdalenenstrasse.

At its peak, more than 8000 people worked in this compound alone; the scale model in the entrance foyer will help you grasp its vast dimensions. Other rooms introduce the ideology, rituals and institutions of East German society. There’s also background on the SED party and on the role of the youth organisation Junge Pioneere (Young Pioneers).