Secret State Archives Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation

The Secret State Archives Prussian Cultural Heritage traces back to the chancellery of the margrave of Brandenburg according to a charter issued in Stendal 1282. Three hundred years later, in 1598, Erasmus Langenhain was appointed as the first archivist and the archives began to play an autonomous role.

In 1803, the institution obtained the honorary title Secret State Archives. By incorporating the Secret Ministerial Archives (Geheimes Ministerialarchiv), it became the central archive for the records of Prussia’s supreme authorities. In 1924 the institution moved into a path-breaking new functional building in Berlin-Dahlem. To this day, this is the seat of the Archives.

Because of bomb attacks, documents were partially evacuated during the Second World War. After 1945, these documents were kept in Merseburg as a part of the GDR’s Central Archives. The documents that remained in Berlin continued to be available in Dahlem after 1945. In 1963, the Secret State Archives was incorporated into the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz).

After German Reunification, the divided archives were joined in their original seat in Berlin-Dahlem.

Download: "A Short Guide For Readers" [PDF, 600 KB]

Plan your visit

Visit our Homepage (Startseite). Look carefully through the service links (SERVICE). They give thorough information on a wide range of popular research topics. Go to our catalogue (Archivdatenbank) to search for records we hold. Write to us for further information (see below). Use the online forms (Anfrage- und Bestellformular) to order records and/or book a desk in the reading room. Study digitized documents (Schrifttafeln) to get used to German manuscripts in writing.

What it costs to do your own research

Visits to the Secret State Archives Prussian Cultural Heritage and viewing original documents is free of charge. We do charge for copies and specific inquiries by mail and e-mail.

Write to us

If you would like information from the archives, please write to us, or fill in our online form (Anfrageformular). Please remember to give as much detail as possible. Scientific inquiries are free of charge. For commercial and private inquiries (especially inquiries regarding family history) we charge € 16 per 30 minutes research. Charges are based on general terms regulating fees and charges levied (Benutzungs-, Gebühren- und Hausordnungen für das Geheime Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz).


All written inquiries will be answered in German. The Secret State Archives Prussian Cultural Heritage does not provide translations or translators.


Readers are not permitted to make copies of records using their own equipment. Our photolab can copy documents onto paper for you in a range of sizes and formats. It is also able to copy documents onto CD-ROM/DVD, microform, negatives and slides. Please note that bound records, records at risk of damage and large maps can only be copy onto CD-Rom/DVD and film. For prices (Preisliste) visit our homepage. If you want to use an image commercially you will be charged by the Bildagentur PK.

Copies can be collected:

Monday-Wednesday: 10-12 and 13-15 Thursday 10-12 and 13-18
Friday 10-12
or delivered by mail.


underground train no. 3 to Dahlem-Dorf and Podbielskiallee stations
bus no. M 11, X 83 to Dahlem-Dorf stop
bus no. 110 to Domäne Dahlem stop

Opening hours

Monday, Tuesday 8.00 a.m - 4.00 p.m.
Wednesday, Thursday 8.00 a.m - 6.00 p.m.
Friday 8.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.

Examples of citation

GStA PK, I. HA Geh. Rat, Rep. 10 Reichstagsverhandlungen, Nr. 2

GStA PK, I. HA Rep. 77 Ministerium des
Innern, Tit. 500 Nr. 2 Bd. 1, Bl. 9

GStA PK, II. HA Generaldirektorium, Abt. 25 Fabrikendepartement, Tit. I Nr. 23 Bd. 7, Bl. 2

GStA PK, VI. HA Familienarchive und Nachlässe, Nl Friedrich Theodor Althoff, Abt. B Nr. 7 Bd. 1, Bl. 21

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