• The history
    of the prison


The former "Royal Central Prison Cottbus" was used as a place of detention for 142 years. During the National Socialist reign of terror and the SED dictatorship, numerous political opponents were imprisoned here.

1855 – 1930
Construction of the prison

01. April 1860
Opening of the "Royal Central Prison Cottbus"

1930 – 1937
Juvenile prison

January 1937 – July 1937
Men's prison

August 1937 – January 1939
Women's prison

January 1939 – April 1945
Women's prison

Luftbild Zuchthaus Cottbus 1944

The Cottbus women's prison from the air in 1944

15. February 1945
Destruction of the prison at the end of the Second World War

July 1945
Reopened as a municipal prison

January 1951
Taken over by the Ministry of the Interior of the GDR

June/July 1953
Massive overcrowding

1960 – 1990
After the Wall was built

Foto Pentacon Stanze

Cottbus production plant of VEB Pentacon Dresden on the grounds of the prison


Landschaftsbild Cottbus 1985

Cottbus from outside at the time of the GDR, 1984


1961 – 1990
Prison and remand centre at the same time

Luftbild Zuchthaus Cottbus 1987

Aerial photograph of the penal institution from 1987

1990 – 2002
Prison of the State of Brandenburg


2002 – 2007

December 2007
Sale of the site to a private investor

Purchase of the prison site by the Menschenrechtszentrum Cottbus e.V. and opening of the memorial site

August 2020
Listed as a historical monument

Since November 2021
A branch of the Stasi documents archive (under construction).

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:

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