Locked up by East Germany
Thomas Raufeisen was jailed for years in a notorious GDR political prison. He was just 17.
This is where East Germany’s secret police psychologically tortured Thomas and thousands of others.
You were bombarded with questions for weeks, for months. They wanted to know every detail of your life. It was incredibly stressful.
Thomas’ only crime was hiding a family secret.
Thomas’ father was a GDR spy who grew disillusioned under communism in East Germany.
I thought ‘my life is over. What am I doing here? Why are they locking me up?’ It’s not like I robbed a bank, I just wanted to go home.
Thomas Raufeisen,
Political prisoner
East Germany jailed an estimated 250,000 political prisoners before its collapse in 1989.
As a surveillance state, East Germany went to any length to maintain power.
Thomas now gives tours of his former prison because he’s afraid the crimes of the past could be repeated.
People forget very quickly what happens in dictatorships. And it shouldn’t be forgotten because it’s a very relevant issue now.
Thomas Raufeisen | Political prisoner