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Former Stasi prisoner goes back to jail for art

The Local · 30 Oct 2009, 10:24

Published: 30 Oct 2009 10:24 GMT+01:00

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The stunt, which is being broadcast live on the internet by video artist Franziska Vu, is a tribute to the estimated 200,000 political prisoners who helped bring down the Berlin Wall 20 years ago.

Holzapfel entered the cell just after midday on Thursday and will stay for one week, living as he did when he served 13 months in solitary confinement in the prison in the mid-1960s.

Click here for photo gallery of Holzapfel’s project.

With plenty of time for reflection, Holzapfel, dressed in the same blue tracksuit he wore when he was imprisoned by the communist regime, paced his cell on Thursday, delivering a broad-ranging commentary on human rights.

“This is just a small small part of what thousands of political prisoners suffered under the GDR but with the modern technology, we can convey to many people around the world some idea of what it was like,'' the 65-year-old said.

“Today, a 25-year-old has no experience of a state without justice.”

Story continues below…

Hubertus Knabe, the scientific director of Hohenschönhausen, which is now a museum, said the display intended to temper the 20th anniversary celebrations with a sober reminder of just what the communist regime was like.

“They want to make clear that the happy end was not the whole story of the communist dictatorship, but there were 40 years of repression before it … and that the victims are still often suffering today because of what they experienced here and at other prisons,” he said.

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Your comments about this article

11:15 October 30, 2009 by derExDeutsche
no ACTUAL political prisoners in unified Germany, I guess.

So he had to show what that would look like under a repressive, censoring regime.

you know, for Art.
11:48 October 30, 2009 by danyang
There are still so many political prisoner in China, if I do the same art in China, I'll be incarcerated too :_: this is communist regime. Today it means nothing for most of German, but it still means a lot for Chinese.
12:15 October 30, 2009 by derExDeutsche
This only means something to the persons that AGREE with the political statement another person is incarcerated for.

While this Carl-Wolfgang sat in the 'Knast', I'm willing to bet there were plenty of his Countrymen who thought he was exactly where he should be.

Moreover, in Germany today, if a prisoner is a Sympathizers of an Unpopular political opinion, ... his fellow countrymen say, let him rot. so, whats the difference?
13:45 October 30, 2009 by danyang
If you lived in a exact autarchy, you would know political pinion never be the first matter. People are incarcerated in China on account to speak sth for the kids killed by the poisonous milk. It is not pinons, it is their lives. Anyway please feel lucky for born in a democracy.
17:25 October 30, 2009 by mixxim
Is forced military service in Germany not a form of political imprisonment if not slavery?? First look at yourselves....
22:24 October 30, 2009 by wood artist
It's true that free speech isn't rally quite Free Speech. That's true in the US, it's true in the UK, and I'm sure it's not quite true in Germany. In each country there are certain things that aren't allowed, and in each case they either make sense, or made sense at the time.

In Germany issues such as the denial of the Holocaust are limited for good reasons, even if those reasons have faded a bit with the passage of time. As an American, I can not hold any current German responsible for things that happened during the war, even while I admit that I find that period of time fascinating.

Like the Nazi era, where contrary opinions were simply not allowed to be expressed, countries such as China have similar limitations on their citizens today. It's different, but only because technology has evolved. In Germany and Russia it involved neighbors denouncing neighbors, or even family members. In China, it now includes those who dare to practice "forbidden religions" or question the decisions of the state, even when those decisions lead to death and injury to innocent citizens.

While you may feel there are limits on your freedoms, MIXXIM, you have no idea what living under LIMITS is about. Ask someone starving in North Korea, or trying to exist in China. Or challenge a government decision in Burma.
17:02 October 31, 2009 by edwards629
Germany has no shame in its past or present, it murderd millions of inocent people during the days of hitler, then of course we had the stasi and like the nazis murderd many, and to say that was part the old regime of east germany is no excuse its still germany. And now we have a german goverment that welcomes middle eastern terrorist in with open arms. Oh and lets not forget much of 9/11 the murder 3000 inocent americans and non americans as well, was planned by some middle eastern terrorist leaving in hamburg. Yes murder seems to follow germany around like a lost dog.
17:22 October 31, 2009 by derExDeutsche
I hate to say this, and really I HATE this argument.

However, it needs to be said, or asked for that matter.

Why do Germans think they know what is best for the rest of the world?

And why do they use East Germany and WWII as the resume to support their superior and 'correct' opinion?

I mean sheesh! The nerve! I mean, really, DA NOIVE!

Keep out of it, Germany! At least until YOU get something right. As I remember it a Republican, was instrumental in bringing down the wall. No one told you, I guess. figures, all i ever hear is 'Ik bin ein Burliner'
21:37 November 4, 2009 by wxman
Quite simply, a history lesson for those who know nothing form someone who knows everything.
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