Berlin 007

Annabelle Mallia went un­der­cover to un­ravel the truth about Ger­man es­pi­onage dur­ing the Cold War.

Where Berlin - - Contents - BY ANNABELLE MALLIA

Un­cover the truth about the East Ger­man Stasi and es­pi­onage dur­ing the days of the Cold War.

Spies, eyes, lies, and more spies! There’s a rea­son why Berlin is fea­tured in many 007 movies: As an im­por­tant Cold War cen­ter, it teemed with spies, from US and Rus­sian agents to the East Ger­man Stasi, which main­tained greater surveil­lance over its peo­ple than any se­cret po­lice force in his­tory – even more than its big brother, the KGB. With a vast net­work of in­form­ers, spy­ing in­fil­trated almost ev­ery as­pect of GDR life. To help the state root out its en­e­mies, your spouse, your neigh­bors, or your col­league might well have been spy­ing on you, and ar­rest and tor­ture were common prac­tice, es­pe­cially in the early years of the GDR. The Stasi prison in

Ho­hen­schön­hausen (Gensler­str. 66. www. stiftung-hsh.de), with its end­less cor­ri­dors of in­ter­ro­ga­tion rooms and hor­rific cells, can be vis­ited to­day in the form of a two-hour tour, with a for­mer in­mate as your guide if you are lucky. By the 1970s, the Stasi re­al­ized that psy­cho­log­i­cal ha­rass­ment was far less con­spic­u­ous and ex­tremely ef­fec­tive. Tac­tics em­ployed in­cluded break­ing into homes and mess­ing with peo­ple’s be­long­ings, mys­te­ri­ous phone calls, smear cam­paigns, and the de­ploy­ment of de­vi­ous gad­gets, such as cam­eras dis­guised in coat zip­pers and bugs hid­den in tree trunks, many of which can be seen at the

Stasi Mu­seum (Ruschestr. 103, Haus 22. www. stasimu­seum.de). The ex­hi­bi­tion also in­cludes the work­ing quarters of the third Min­is­ter of

“Spy­ing in­fil­trated almost ev­ery as­pect of GDR life.”

State Se­cu­rity, Erich Mielke, ar­rested and tried for mur­der after the col­lapse of the GDR.

East Ger­man agents also in­fil­trated the West, which re­cip­ro­cated with its own spy­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. Glienicker Brücke (S Wannsee sta­tion), a re­stricted bor­der cross­ing be­tween East and West Berlin, was used by the Americans and Sovi­ets for the ex­change of cap­tured spies, while the Amerika Haus (p.42) was ru­mored to have served as a work space for US in­tel­li­gence.

If Cold War es­pi­onage leaves you want­ing more, Berlin Tours (www.berlin-tours.net) has a walk­ing tour that also cov­ers failed as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempts against Hitler and the Bri­tish spy op­er­a­tion of Frank Fo­ley, who se­cretly helped over 10,000 Jews to es­cape Nazi Ger­many. Seems it wasn’t all dirty work.

Three ex­hibits from the Stasi mu­seum: a but­ton cam­era, po­lice ev­i­dence, and a 1980s phone from one of the the Stasi in­ter­ro­ga­tion rooms.

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