City ambassador’s dad was spied on by German secret police
Cold war: Regime gathered information on British academics
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.