A Childhood Behind Barbed Wire

 

"The Children of Sachsenhausen and Hoheneck"

Hoheneck, castle or palace in the middle of the Erzgebirge belongs to the town of Stollberg. It had many different owners, since it was used in 1864 as a prison, in the beginning for men and women.

In 1950 the prison was taken over by the East German police, who made it to the number one prison in the GDR for women. The first prisoners who came there were women who were brought in 1950 from the soviet special camp Sachsenhausen, a former concentration camp, after the camp was closed and the women were handed over to the East German authorities. The women had been condemned by soviet military tribunals for political reasons, many to 25 years. The soviet and the East German authorities called them dangerous criminals.

Among the women behind the prison walls there were babies and children, who were born in the soviet special camps of Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald or Bautzen. For example, there were 30 babies and children among the 1.119 women, who were brought from Sachsenhausen to Hoheneck on February 11th, 1950. Even in Hoheneck babies were born. They all could only live for a few months with their mother before they were separated and send to children homes in the GDR.

Since the end of the GDR Hoheneck was used for female prisoners. The life in the overcrowded and primitively furnished cell rooms and halls was often made unbearable by harassment and psychological terror of the guards. Most of the women, who were condemned by soviet military tribunals, were released by 1956. Then more and more women, who were condemned the East German courts have been brought to Hoheneck, many of them for political reasons. In the 70th and 80th the political and criminal prisoners lived often together in rooms of 24 women.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2005 by Alex Latotzky