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Hohenschönhausen is a district part of the borough of Lichtenberg. During the separation of the city, this borough of East Berlin was part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). This area is notorious for having hosted the former headquarter of the Ministry of State Security (Stasi). This evidence of the GDR period is also very much present in Hohenschönhausen, even if it is often associated to the sadly famous former central detention centre used by the Stasi (Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen).
Hohenschönhausen is a district of more than 100,000 inhabitants which shows indeed other very interesting aspects. Mainly made up of the southern part « Alt-Hohenschönhausen » and the northern part « Neu-Hohenschönhausen », these two areas are significantly different.Alt-Hohenschönhausen has a very old historical past dating back to the Middle Ages and existed as a village. Some evidences of its past – such as some cemeteries or churches – are still there. This part of the district is also made of very different neighborhoods, such as a industrial zoning, a modest mixed neighborhood or even a richer residential area composed of villas along the lakes of Orankesee and Obersee (e.g. the Haus Lemke by Mies van der Rohe).
Neu-Hohenschönhausen is, by contrast, known as a large modernist complex area of the 70’-80’s in which the so-called building type Plattenbau can be found repeatedly (buildings built with prefabricated concrete slabs, often considered to be typical of the GDR).

Like many other districts in Berlin, the population of Hohenschönhausen includes many different nationalities. The district of Lichtenberg however – including Hohenschönhausen – is particularly well known for its Vietnamese community as a result to an agreement in the 80’s between the GDR and Vietnam on a guest worker program (Vertragsarbeiter). There is also a significant population related to the eastern European countries due to their previous adhesion to the Soviet Union. More recently, Neu-Hohenschönhausen has also hosted three refugee centres.Important public investment is currently being made in integration policies to encourage the commitment of the inhabitants of Hohenschönhausen to an open and solidary community. In this context, Tesserae has developed participatory workshops with local residents on topics that matter to them



Project “Erinnerungen im Wandel – Zeig mir dein Hohenschönhausen!”