History of memory

The building was largely spared the destruction of war. After 1945 the history of the early concentration camp, with the exception of a few references, seemed to be falling into oblivion. It was only in 1981 that a memorial plaque was installed on the property for the „Victims of early Nazi terror”.

The memorial plaque provided the impetus for historical research by interested residents. In 1991 the sociologist Sylvia Walleczek, the sculptor Rolf Scholz and the historian Kurt Schilde founded the „History Workshop Papestrasse”. A year later they succeeded in conclusively identifying the present memorial site as the former detention centre. The decisive clue came in 1992 from a former sausage seller among whose customers in 1933 were SA Field Policemen. Since then members of the History Workshop and „Friends” of the initiative have engaged in working out the history of the site.

In the year 2003 the Tempelhof-Schöneberg district assembly passed a motion to establish a memorial and encounter site in the formerly privately rented basement rooms and to open it to the public. The memorial was officially opened in April 2011. As of March 2013 an exhibition and a visitors’ archive will provide further information about the history of the site.