Useful Notes: The Stasi

The Ministerium für Staatssicherheit ("Ministry of State Security") was the Secret Police / State Sec of East Germany. Their job was to find dissenters and torture them into becoming productive members of the state. From this emerged the most frighteningly effective and efficient secret police in Europe. An old saying is "The Gestapo were bone breakers. The Stasi were soul breakers." At their height, they had one officer for every 166 East German citizens. The FSB in Putin's Russia can work about 1 officer for 273 citizens. The best the Gestapo could manage was one officer for 2000 citizens. No one was sure if they were being watched or not, and could never tell if their friends or family were informing on them. Often people had no choice.

Despite attempts by officers to destroy them, most of the archives were taken intact after the Wall fell - the old headquarters is now a museum.

Being people of good humour, the East Germans had numerous jokes about their Big Brothers:
  • How can you tell that the Stasi has bugged your apartment? There's a new cabinet in it. [they may have had a lot of people, but their tech was horrible]

Just about anything that takes place in East Germany has a good chance to include the Stasi: