The Stasi - Staatssicherheit - State Security
Erich Mielke center, Minister of State security from 1957-89
The Ministerium für Staatssicherheit or Ministry of State Security (MfS), commonly known as the Stasi, was formed on Feb 8, 1950. The motto of the Stasi was "Schild und Schwert der Partei" (Shield and Sword of the Party). It was modeled after the MGB , Ministry of State Security, then existing in the Soviet Union. The Stasi infiltrated all aspects of daily life in the East Germany, it was estimated that by the 1980s, one out of seven citizens in East Germany was part of the Stasi or a Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter (IMs, Unofficial Collaborators) . Like its Soviet counterpart, The Stasi monitored political behavior among East German citizens, and is known to have used torture and intimidation to stop dissent. The Stasi was East Germany's largest employer in East Germany .
East Germany's answer to 007 Das unsichtbare Visier ( The invisible visor)
ran from 1973-79
A 70s East German Spy TV series made with co-operation of the Stasi.
It starred Armin Mueller-Stahl in the role of Werner Bredebusch, a Stasi agent active abroad .
The Stasi ran security checks for most job positions . Files were kept on 6 million of East Germany's 16 million people .A prison was built in the Schumannstrasse, where the Stasi used NKVD techniques to extract information, such as making victims stand in front of a bright light for days, threats against family and isolation . Phones were tapped, letters steamed open and people were arrested on the slightest suspicion. Dissenters were often followed 24 hours a day with exhausting detail. Family members and close friends were also forced or enticed to become informers, leading to much hatred after the fall of East Germany . An East German citizen never knew who could be trusted .Each year a Said agent had to recruit 25 informers or risk a loss of benefits or demotion .Many were bribed or blackmailed into working for the Stasi .
Ich liebe ....doch alle Menschen!“ ( But I love...I love all....all the people..) Erich Mielke at the Volkskammer Nov 13, 1989 and being jeered at. Mielke avoided persecution for his role with the Stasi since it was deemed to be done under the laws of a sovereign state. He was charged with the murder of two policemen in 1931 and sentenced to 6 years .He was paroled after 2 years due to health problems and died on May 27, 2000.
video of Stasi prison
The house or apartment of those who were suspected of anti-state activities were searched while the suspect was away. If someone was seriously suspected of anti-state behaviour, agents would usually appear at their place of work and disappear, perhaps for years . The Stasi was directly linked to the KGB and sent it information until 1990. There had been an estimated 85,000 full time Stasi agents and 109,000 private informers and an estimated 1 to 2 million east Germans had served as Stasi agents at one time or another .The Stasi left behind a staggering 2 trillion pages of reports . Most were hand written, as the Stasi distrusted computers . The colloquial name for the Stasi was Zur Firma (The Firm).
Markus Johannes 'Misch' Wolf (1923-2006) head of the General Reconnaissance Administration (Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung) during most of the Cold War
Video on Markus Wolf
The Assenpolitischer Nachrichtendienst (APN) later called the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA) was the foreign intelligence service of the GDR and a section of the Stasi.During the Cold War Berlin was the 'Spy Capital' of the world where agents from the British SIS, American CIA, the West German BND, French SDECE and the Soviet NKVD-later the KGB were active. The Soviets were the most active, have over 800 agents in Berlin by 1953 .The HVA under Markus Johannes 'Misch' Wolf had great success in penetrating the government, political and business circles of West Germany with spies. The weak link in West German security, the office staff, was infiltrated by East German spies. East German woman were trained to be 'honeytraps' to seduce important West Germans into relationships, young men were also trained to seduce middle aged single women in important positions .Moles were also used, the most famous being Heinz Felfe, who became head of the Soviet Counter-intelligence of the BND. He was discovered in 1961, a revelation which helped topple the Anenauer government .East German spy Gunter Guillaume, became an aide to Chancellor Willy Brandt . Double agent Klaus Kuron claimed that as many as 25 members of the West German parliament were east German agents in the late 80s.The discovery of this also led to his downfall. In an interview with Der Spiegel in 1990, Wolf claimed there were 10,000 East German agents working in West Germany in 1985.
Watch Former Stasi Agents Defend Their Deeds
Talk with Roland Jahn, Head of the Stasi Archives | Talking Germany
Roland Jahn has a background in broadcast journalism and since March 2011 he has been head of the German government's caretaker agency for East German Stasi archives.
about those who worked for and resisted the Stasi
The Untold Story Of the German Secret Police
classic movie about a young woman's life destroyed by media and police.