Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stasi Museum in Leipzig

This shot of me and my grandson Kirill was taken in 2012 at the entrance to the Museum of  Stasi in Leipzig.
The Ministry for State Security (German:Ministerium für Staatssicherheit), commonly known as the Stasi, was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic or GDR (informally known as East Germany). It has been described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies in the world.
The Stasi was headquartered in East Berlin, with an extensive complex in Berlin-Lichtenberg and several smaller facilities throughout the city. The Stasi motto was "Schild und Schwert der Partei" (Shield and Sword of the Party), that is the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany. Although Stasi was superficially granted independence in 1957, until 1990 the KGB continued to maintain liaison officers in all eight main Stasi directorates, each with his own office inside the Stasi's Berlin compound, and in each of the fifteen Stasi district headquarters around East Germany, including Leipzig. Collaboration was so close that the KGB invited the Stasi to establish operational bases in Moscow and Leningrad to monitor visiting East German tourists. In 1978  KGB officers in East Germany were granted the same rights and powers they enjoyed in the Soviet Union.
For a glimpse of life in Leipzig during the Cold War, many tourists visit the Stasi Museum, which documents the work of the secret service in the former GDR. Set in an original Stasi administration office, the museum gives fascinating and chilling insights into the function, methods and history of the secret service; you can see original surveillance equipment, police documents, letters, photos, a prison cell, and even an odor archive of suspects (yellow napkins in a glass jars).


scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.