• Former prison - today a monument: Experience a place in transition

  • Illustrative, close and human rights-oriented

  • 1860–2002: Discover German history on 22.000m2

The Cottbus Prison Memorial is a place to safeguard the history from oblivion. Vivid, tangible and unique.

In October 2007, former political prisoners of the GDR founded the association Menschenrechtszentrum Cottbus e. V. (MRZ), which has been the owner of the former prison (1860-2002) in Bautzener Straße and the sponsor of the Cottbus Prison Memorial since 2011. The work of the memorial focuses on dealing with political injustice during the National Socialist reign of terror and the SED dictatorship.

Several permanent and special exhibitions throughout the year at the Cottbus Prison Memorial exemplify political injustice from both German dictatorships of the 20th century. The significance is placed on the biographies of former political prisoners: the reasons for imprisonment in Cottbus, the life stories of the prisoners and their attempts to preserve their dignity even under undignified conditions.

Visitors can explore the main building of the memorial in the former Detention House I (Hafthaus I) as well as the outdoor area with the prison yards (Freihöfe) independently. Photos, documents, objects and drawings, which illustrate the prison and working conditions in the Cottbus prison system from 1933 onwards, provide an insight into the persecution and repression mechanisms of the respective system of rule.

Guided tours include the visitation of individual detention cells, the former factory hall of VEB Pentacon Dresden and two reconstructed GDR prison transport vehicles. Guided tours in simple German or in the English language are also possible by arrangement.

My Image

Dieter Dombrowski, imprisoned in Cottbus prison from August 1974 to December 1975 for „attempted escape from the Republic“

"Every day of imprisonment was worth it - for the happiness of living in freedom and self-determination."

Understanding means shaping the future - educational offers at the memorial site

Using modern experience-oriented, creative and interactive methods, the Cottbus Prison Memorial provides information at the historical site about the injustices committed during the Nazi reign of terror and the SED dictatorship. The history of the Cottbus prison as well as the historical developments and structures of the respective repressive state apparatuses are illuminated with a variety of educational formats. Talks and guided tours with contemporary witnesses bring the history of the prison to life.

Through the examination of historical photos and film footage, objects and archive materials as well as the memories of those affected, a differentiated picture of the past emerges. At the same time, as an extracurricular place of learning, the memorial aims to raise awareness of current social and political developments around the world. The focus is always on respect for human dignity and human rights.

Lutz-Peter Naumann, imprisoned in Cottbus Prison in 1972 for "anti-state agitation".

"Somehow I expected more from life than just swearing allegiance to a party..."

  • Please help us so that we can preserve history and stories! Thank you.

Menschenrechtszentrum Cottbus e. V. | Bautzener Straße 140 | 03050 Cottbus | Free parking spaces

Information and reservations:

Opening hours:


Tue. - Fri.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sat. + Son.
1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission until one hour before closing time.

Closed on public holidays.

Sponsored by:

Logo Land Brandenburg
Wappen Cottbus
Logo UKA – Umweltgerechte Kraftanlagen