Photo. Visitors at the opening of the exhibition, 'Drawings by Refugee Children,' August 29, 1953
&copy Landesarchiv Berlin - Willy Kiel

Freigekauft - Wege aus der DDR-Haft

Ransomed - Ways out of GDR arrest

The transactions belong to the most confidential chapters of the German history: From 1963 to 1989 the Federal Government ransomed for 33,755 political prisoners from jail of the GDR – people who had mostly been presecuted because of escape attempts, escape aid or opposition actions by the SED regime and had been arrested. In return the GDR received goods deliveries to the value of more than three billion DMarc.

With the help of six exemplary biographies of former ransomed prisoners from different decades the exhibition tells about political custody in the GDR, the process of the ransom and the conditions of the new beginning. Protagonists of state and church explain the political dimension of the ransom business.

Funded by The Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship