City am­bas­sador’s dad was spied on by Ger­man se­cret po­lice

Cold war: Regime gath­ered in­for­ma­tion on Bri­tish aca­demics

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - graeMe sTra­chan gstra­chan@the­courier.co.uk

As a co­me­dian, writer, ac­tor and TV pre­sen­ter liv­ing in Los An­ge­les, Dundee’s newly-ap­pointed city am­bas­sador Danny Wal­lace is used to be­ing in the spot­light.

How­ever, Danny’s fa­ther found him­self un­der an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent glare dur­ing his time in Dundee in the 1970s and 80s as he was spied on by East Ger­many’s feared se­cret po­lice, the Stasi, dur­ing the Cold War.

Erich Ho­necker’s regime gath­ered in­for­ma­tion on Ian Wal­lace who un­der­took re­search into the Ger­man Demo­cratic Repub­lic (GDR) dur­ing his time in Dundee and was a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to the GDR from 1977.

Mr Wal­lace said: “The se­cret po­lice were col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion about Bri­tish aca­demics who had some sort of link with the GDR so to that ex­tent I’m not sur­prised that I was part of that, be­cause I was vis­it­ing the GDR from 1977.

“I was go­ing over there to do re­search on the GDR and they had to keep an eye on me.”

Mr Wal­lace’s name was in­cluded in a list of aca­demics handed to the se­cret po­lice in 1978 by Ed­in­burgh stu­dent Robin Pear­son, who was even­tu­ally ex­posed as a spy in 1999.

Pear­son’s task was to col­lect in­for­ma­tion to pro­vide in­sights into the mo­tives, the course and pur­pose of the UK’s pol­icy of con­tacts with the GDR.

Mr Wal­lace wrote to the for­mer Stasi HQ in Leipzig af­ter the fall of the Ber­lin Wall to see if they had any files on him.

He was told that there were not but he stum­bled across a cou­ple of files of in­tel­li­gence while work­ing in a Ber­lin archive.

I was go­ing over there to do re­search on the GDR and they had to keep an eye on me. IAN WAL­LACE

Danny Wal­lace as a boy with his fa­ther Ian and mother Trudi and as he is to­day, above, in his role as a Dundee city am­bas­sador.

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