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Encyclopedia > Stasi
Logo of East Germany's Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS or Stasi) / Ministry for State Security
Logo of East Germany's Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS or Stasi) / Ministry for State Security

This article is about Stasi, the secret police of East Germany. See Commission Stasi for its other common meaning. For the Orange flavored cola see Spezi. Image File history File linksMetadata MFS_01. ... Image File history File linksMetadata MFS_01. ... This article is about secret police as organizations. ... GDR redirects here. ... The French commission Stasi is a commission set up to reflect upon the application of the laïcité principle. ... Spezi is a soft drink made with cola and lemonade. ...


The Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS / Ministry for State Security), commonly known as the Stasi (from Staatssicherheit), was the main security (secret police) and intelligence organization of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). The Stasi was headquartered in East Berlin, with an extensive complex in Lichtenberg and several smaller complexes throughout the city. Widely regarded as one of the most effective intelligence agencies in the world, the Stasi's motto was "Schild und Schwert der Partei" (Shield and Sword of the Party), showing its connections to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the equivalent to the CPSU of the Soviet Union. Another term used in earlier years to refer to the Stasi was Staatssicherheitsdienst (State Security Service). Numerous countries and governments have or have had a Ministry for State Security or Ministry of State Security. ... This article is about secret police as organizations. ... Intelligence (abbreviated or ) is the process and the result of gathering information and analyzing it to answer questions or obtain advance warnings needed to plan for the future. ... “East Germany” redirects here. ... East Berlin was the name given to the eastern part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. ... Lichtenberg is a borough of Berlin, Germany. ... The logo of the SED The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) (German: Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) was the governing party of East Germany from its formation in 1949 until the elections of 1990. ... The Communist Party of the Soviet Union ( Russian: Коммунисти́ческая Па́ртия Сове́тского Сою́за = &#1050...

Contents

History

Mielke and Stasi Officers
Mielke and Stasi Officers

The Stasi was founded on February 8, 1950. It was modeled on the Soviet MGB, and was regarded by the Soviets as an extremely loyal and effective partner. Image File history File links Stasi_004_540px. ... Image File history File links Stasi_004_540px. ... February 8 is the 39th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1950 (MCML) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Soviet redirects here. ... The Ministry of State Security (MGB) ( Russian: Министерство государственной безопасности (Ministerstvo Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti)) was the name of the Soviet secret police agency from 1946 to 1953. ...


Wilhelm Zaisser was the first Minister of State Security of the GDR, and Erich Mielke his deputy. Zaisser was removed by Walter Ulbricht, the leader of East Germany, in 1953 and replaced by Ernst Wollweber. Wollweber resigned in 1957 after numerous clashes with Walter Ulbricht and Erich Honecker and was succeeded by his deputy, Erich Mielke. Wilhelm Zaisser Wilhelm Zaisser (June 20, 1893-March 3, 1958) was head of East Germany’s Stasi from 1950 to 1953. ... Erich Fritz Emil Mielke (December 28, 1907 - May 21, 2000 in Berlin), was a German Communist. ... Walter Ulbricht (June 30, 1893 – August 1, 1973) was a German communist politician. ... GDR redirects here. ... Ernst Wollweber (October 29, 1898-May 3, 1967) was Minister of East Germany’s Stasi from 1953 to 1957. ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Walter Ulbricht (June 30, 1893 – August 1, 1973) was a German communist politician. ... Erich Honecker (25 August 1912 – 29 May 1994) was a German Communist politician who led German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from 1971 until 1989. ... Erich Fritz Emil Mielke (December 28, 1907 - May 21, 2000 in Berlin), was a German Communist. ...


Also during 1957, Markus Wolf became head of the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA) or General Reconnaissance Administration, its foreign intelligence section. As intelligence chief, Wolf achieved great success in penetrating the government, political and business circles of West Germany with spies. The most influential case was that of Günter Guillaume which led to the fall of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt. Markus Wolf. ... The Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (en. ... The Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (en. ... Günter Guillaume (February 1, 1927 – April 10, 1995), a citizen of the German Democratic Republic, was an intelligence agent of that countrys secret service, the Stasi. ... Willy Brandt, born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm (December 18, 1913 - October 8, 1992) was a German politician, Chancellor of West Germany 1969 – 1974, and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 1964 – 1987. ...


However, the Stasi also played another, more external, role; it saved the lives of many leftist activists and politicians during the 1970s, especially in South America. For example, it is suspected that immediately after the Pinochet Coup in Chile (September 1973), Stasi agents organised the rescue and transportation to the GDR of hundreds of members and cadres of People's Unity. South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte1 (born November 25, 1915) was head of the military government that ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990. ...


In 1986, Wolf retired and was succeeded by Werner Grossmann. Werner Großmann was born in Ober-Ebenheit on 6 March 1929. ...


In 1989, just before the dissolution of East Germany, the Stasi was renamed the Office for National Security and headed by Stasi general Rudi Mittig. 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Rudi Mittig born 26 January 1925 in Reichenberg, Czech Republic, died 28 August 1994 in Germany. ...


Influence

Statue of workers and Stasi official in front of the former Stasi archives building, Mitte district, Berlin (The official has been pelted with eggs numerous times).
Statue of workers and Stasi official in front of the former Stasi archives building, Mitte district, Berlin (The official has been pelted with eggs numerous times).

The Stasi influenced almost every aspect of life in the GDR. During the mid-1980s, a civilian network of informants known as the Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter (IMs, Unofficial Collaborators) began to grow within both parts of Germany, East and West. By the time East Germany collapsed in 1989, it was estimated that 91,000 full-time employees and 300,000 informants were employed by the Stasi. In other words, about one in fifty East Germans collaborated with the Stasi—one of the highest penetrations of any civilian society by an intelligence-gathering organization. Additionally, Stasi resources were frequently used to infiltrate and undermine West Germany's government and intelligence personnel. While the Stasi succeeded in their infiltration of West Germany, the Stasi purportedly never suffered much intrusion from Western intelligence personnel.[citation needed] Statue outside of the Stasi archives building (now a museum), Berlin. ... Statue outside of the Stasi archives building (now a museum), Berlin. ... The 1980s refers to the years of and between 1980 and 1989. ... 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Mielke and Stasi generals singing
Mielke and Stasi generals singing

The Stasi also monitored politically subversive behavior among citizens of East Germany. During the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, Stasi offices became overrun by enraged citizens but not before a large amount of confidential material was first destroyed by Stasi officers. The remaining files were later made available for review to those who were targets of Stasi surveillance; many of the reports revealed that the individual's friends, colleagues, spouses, and relatives had regularly filed reports with the organization. Other files (the Rosenholz Files), which contained the names of East German foreign spies, led American intelligence agencies to their capture. Following German reunification, it was revealed that the Stasi had also secretly aided left-wing terrorist groups such as the Red Army Faction. The eventual loss of financial support from the Stasi was a major factor in contributing to the dissolution of such groups. Image File history File links Mielke_generaele. ... Image File history File links Mielke_generaele. ... The Peaceful revolution is the name given to the demonstrations in East Germany that led to the downfall of the government and ultimately to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. ... The Rosenholz files are a collection of 381 CD-ROMs containing 280,000 files with information on employees of the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA), one of the intelligence agencies of the former GDR. They mostly contain the real names of agents who worked for the HVA in former West Germany. ... Red Army Fraction Insignia - a Red Star and a Heckler & Koch MP5 The Red Army Faction (or Red Army Fraction; also commonly known as the Baader-Meinhof Group [or Gang] in German: Rote Armee Fraktion or simply RAF), was one of postwar West Germanys most active and prominent militant...


An article in Der Spiegel more recently alleged that the Stasi intentionally exposed various political prisoners to high doses of radiation, possibly for the purpose of giving the victims a high cancer-risk.[1] This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


The opening of Stasi archives has also had the effect of exposing former informants, some of whom hold high office today. In Finland, for example, presidential advisor Alpo Rusi was suspected of serving as a former Stasi informant but was later cleared of the charges.


Recovery of Stasi archives

Stasi archives
Stasi archives

During the regime's final days in 1989–90, panicking Stasi officials attempted to shred the files of their documents, both using paper shredders and tearing them by hand when the shredders collapsed under the load. The hastily stored bags of paper pieces were found soon after and confiscated by the new government. In 1995, the German government hired a Zirndorf team to reassemble the documents; six years later the three dozen archivists commissioned on the projects were through only 300 bags; they then switched to computer-assisted data recovery to process the remaining 16,000 bags—estimated to contain 33 million pages. [4] Image File history File links Archiv2_300_203px. ... Image File history File links Archiv2_300_203px. ... 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Zirndorf is a Bavarian town in the district of Fürth. ... Paper shredder with built-in wastebasket Paper shredders are used to cut paper into very fine strips or tiny paper chips. ...


Following a declassification ruling imposed by the reunited German government in 1992, the Stasi files were also slowly opened to the public, leading individuals to come looking for the files compiled about them. Timothy Garton Ash, an English historian, wrote The File: A Personal History after investigating the file about him compiled while he was completing research for his dissertation in East Berlin. Timothy Garton Ash (born 12 July 1955) is the British author of eight books of political writing or ‘history of the present’ which have charted the transformation of Europe over the last quarter-century. ...


CIA agents acquired some of the Stasi records after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent looting of Stasi premises. The Federal Republic of Germany has sought their return and received some, but not all of the files in April 2000. BBC


Museum in the old headquarters

Stasi HQ in Lichtenberg
Stasi HQ in Lichtenberg

The Anti-Stalinist Action Normannenstraße (ASTAK), an association founded by former GDR Citizens' Committees, has transformed the former headquarters of the Stasi into a museum. It is divided into three floors: Image File history File links StasiHQ.jpg located at:http://www. ... Image File history File links StasiHQ.jpg located at:http://www. ...

  • Ground floor

The ground floor has been kept as it used to be. The decor is original, with many statues and flags.

  • Between the ground and first floor:
    • Surveillance technology and Stasi symbols: Some of the tools that the Stasi used to track down their opponents. During an interview the seats were covered with a cotton sheet, to collect the perspiration of the victim. His name was written in a glass and the sheet was kept in the archives. Other common ways that the scents would be collected is through breaking into a home and taking parts of garments. The most common garment taken was underwear, because of how close the garment is to the skin. The Stasi would then use trained dogs to track down the person using this scent. Other tools shown here include a tie-camera, cigarette box camera, and an Ak-47 hidden in luggage.
    • Display gallery of Directorate VII. This part of the museum tells the history of the Stasi, from the beginning of the GDR to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
  • First floor
    • Mielke's offices. The decor is 60s furniture. There is a reception room with a TV set in the cafeteria. They still serve coffee in it.
    • Office of Colonel Heinz Volpert
    • Lounge for drivers and bodyguards
    • Office of Major-General Hans Carlsohn, director of the secretariat
    • Secretariat
    • The Cafeteria
    • Kitchen
    • The Minister’s Workroom
    • The Conference Room with a giant map of Germany on a wall—one of the most impressive rooms.
    • The cloakroom
  • 2nd floor
    • Repression - Rebellion - Self-Liberation from 1945 to 1989

Photo gallery:

Society for Legal and Humanitarian Support

Ex-Stasi officers continue to be politically active via the Gesellschaft zur Rechtlichen und Humanitären Unterstützung e. V. (Society for Legal and Humanitarian Support) (GRH). Former high-ranking officers and employees of the Stasi, including the Stasi's last director, Wolfgang Schwanitz, make up the majority of the organization's members, and it receives support from the German Communist Party, among others.


Impetus for the establishment of the GRH was provided by the criminal charges filed against the Stasi in the early 1990's. The GRH, decrying the charges as "victor's justice", called for them to be dropped. Today the group provides an alternative if somewhat utopian voice in the public debate on the GDR legacy. It calls for the closure of the museum in Hohenschönhausen and can be a vocal presence at memorial services and public events. In March 2006 in Berlin, GRH members disrupted a museum event; a political scandal ensued when the Berlin Senator (Minister) of Culture refused to confront them.[2]


Behind the scenes, the GRH also exerts pressure on people and institutions promoting opposing viewpoints. For example, in March 2006, the Berlin Senator for Education received a letter from a GRH member and former Stasi officer attacking the Museum for promoting "falsehoods, anticommunist agitation and psychological terror against minors". [3] Similar letters have also been received by schools organizing field trips to the museum. [4]


Chairmen of the Stasi

Wilhelm Zaisser Wilhelm Zaisser (June 20, 1893-March 3, 1958) was head of East Germany’s Stasi from 1950 to 1953. ... Ernst Wollweber (October 29, 1898-May 3, 1967) was Minister of East Germany’s Stasi from 1953 to 1957. ... Erich Fritz Emil Mielke (December 28, 1907 - May 21, 2000 in Berlin), was a German Communist. ...

Alleged Informants

Gert Bastian and Petra Kelly on the cover of Alice Schwarzers Eine tödliche Liebe Gert Bastian (March 26, 1923 - October 1992) was a German military officer and politician with the Green Party. ... Richard Clements (1928-) was editor of the left-wing weekly Tribune from 1960 to 1982. ... Thomas Edward Neil Driberg, Baron Bradwell (May 22, 1905—August 12, 1976) was a British journalist and politician who was an influential member on the left of the UK Labour party from the 1940s to the 1970s. ... Leopold Raymond Fletcher (3 December 1921 - 16 March 1991) was Labour Party (UK) Member of Parliament for Ilkeston from 1964 to 1983. ... Torsten Gütschow (born July 28, 1962) is a German ex-footballer who played as a striker. ... Günter Guillaume (February 1, 1927 – April 10, 1995), a citizen of the German Democratic Republic, was an intelligence agent of that countrys secret service, the Stasi. ... Willy Brandt, born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm (December 18, 1913 - October 8, 1992) was a German politician, Chancellor of West Germany 1969 – 1974, and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 1964 – 1987. ... The head of government of Germany is called Chancellor (German: Kanzler or Bundeskanzler meaning federal chancellor). ... The Left Party (In German: , officially with a period at the end), formerly Party of Democratic Socialism (Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus, PDS) is a left-wing socialist political party in Germany. ... The Bundestag (Federal Diet) is the parliament of Germany. ... Ulf Kirsten (born December 4, 1965 in Riesa, East Germany) is a former German football (soccer) striker, the first player in history to reach a total 100 caps playing with two different national teams. ... Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (March 18, 1928 - April 30, 2002) was the founder of the Gründerzeit Museum (a museum of every-day items) in Berlin-Mahlsdorf. ... John Francis Hodgess Roper, Baron Roper (born 10 September 1935) is a British politician. ... Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Housing of the Federal Republic of Germany. ...   (Lower Sorbian: Bramborska; Upper Sorbian: Braniborska) is one of Germanys sixteen Bundesländer (federal states). ...

In fiction

The Academy Award-winning German film Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives Of Others) is set in an East Berlin riddled by secret agents of the Stasi. The film opened in the U.S. on February 9, 2007. Although he never won an Oscar for any of his movie performances, the comedian Bob Hope received two honorary Oscars for his contributions to cinema. ... Das Leben der Anderen (called The Life Of The Others in English) is a German movie and the debut of director and screenwriter Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. ... East Berlin was the name given to the eastern part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. ... February 9 is the 40th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the Anno Domini (common) era. ...


The Legend of Rita (Die Stille nach dem Schuß), a 2000 film directed by Volker Schlöndorff, dwells heavily on the relationship between the Stasi and the general population of East Germany. The second-most prominent character is the Stasi "control" for the title character. There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... Volker Schlondorff Volker Schlöndorff (born in Wiesbaden, Germany on March 31, 1939) is a Berlin-based German filmmaker. ... GDR redirects here. ...


See also

Mass surveillance is the pervasive surveillance of an entire population, or a substantial fraction thereof. ... Stasiland by Anna Funder is a book about heroic people who resisted the East German regime, and others who worked for its secret police, the Stasi. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ Dissidents say Stasi gave them cancerBBC, Tuesday 25 May 1999.
  2. ^ Stasi Offiziere Leugnen den Terror. Berliner Morgenpost 16 March 2006. [1]
  3. ^ Backmann, Christa. Stasi-Anhänger schreiben an Bildungssenator Böger. Berliner Morgenpost 25 March 2006. [2]
  4. ^ Schomaker, Gilbert. Ehemalige Stasi-Kader schreiben Schulen an. Die Welt, 26 March 2006. [3]

The British Broadcasting Corporation, usually known as the BBC (and also informally known as the Beeb or Auntie) is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world in terms of audience numbers, employing 26,000 staff in the United Kingdom alone and with a budget of more than GB£4 billion... May 25 is the 145th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (146th in leap years). ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... March 25 is the 84th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (85th in leap years). ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ...

References

  • Stasi by John O. Koehler, West View Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8133-3409-8.

External links

German

English


  Results from FactBites:
 
Stasi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1476 words)
The Stasi was headquartered in East Berlin, with an extensive complex in Lichtenberg and several smaller complexes throughout the city.
The motto of the Stasi was "Schild und Schwert der Partei" (Shield and Sword of the Party) which shows its connections to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the communist, Soviet-backed one party state rulers of East Germany.
This part of the museum relates the historical data of the Stasi from the beginning of the GDR to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Stasi - definition of Stasi in Encyclopedia (465 words)
The Stasi was headquartered in the capital, East Berlin, with an extensive complex in Lichtenberg and several smaller complexes throughout the city.
The Stasi was modeled on the Soviet KGB, which regarded the Stasi as an extremely loyal and effective partner among the intelligence services of the Warsaw Pact countries.
Many early Stasi officers were former officers of the Nazi SS with East German Communist leaders actively seeking former Gestapo and SD personnel to lead the Stasi in its formative years.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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