Now a memorial site, Potsdam's central remand prison for Soviet Counter Intelligence – colloquially known as 'KGB prison' – is a particularly sinister Cold War relic. All sorts of real or alleged crimes could land you here, including espionage, desertion, insubordination or Nazi complicity. Using letters, documents, photographs, personal items and taped interviews, exhibits outline the fate of individuals.
Prisoners were often abused and tortured until they confessed, then tried in closed sessions without legal representation and usually sent straight to the Gulag or the executioner.
In the creepy basement cells you can still see messages inmates scratched into the walls. The building remained a prison until 1980, was then used for equipment storage and only vacated in 1994 as one of the last Soviet military outposts in Germany.
The prison was part of Military Station 7, a top-secret walled town where ranking members of the Soviet military lived and worked. Locals had only a vague idea of what went on behind these walls. For a self-guided tour of the entire compound, pick up a map at the memorial.