The Stasi: a hated and feared in­sti­tu­tion

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS -

The Stasi was one of the most hated and feared in­sti­tu­tions of the East Ger­man com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment.

Un­der Erich Mielke, its di­rec­tor from 1957 to 1989, it be­came a highly ef­fec­tive se­cret po­lice or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Within East Ger­many it sought to in­fil­trate ev­ery in­sti­tu­tion of so­ci­ety and ev­ery as­pect of life, in­clud­ing in­ti­mate per­sonal and fa­mil­ial re­la­tion­ships.

It ac­com­plished this goal both through its of­fi­cial ap­pa­ra­tus and through a vast net­work of in­for­mants and un­of­fi­cial col­lab­o­ra­tors who spied on and de­nounced col­leagues, friends, neigh­bours, and even fam­ily mem­bers.

By 1989 the Stasi re­lied on 500,000 to 2,000,000 col­lab­o­ra­tors as well as 100,000 reg­u­lar em­ploy­ees, and it main­tained files on ap­prox­i­mately 6,000,000 East Ger­man cit­i­zens – more than one-third of the pop­u­la­tion.

It was for­mally dis­banded in Fe­bru­ary 1990.

Erich Mielke ran the Stasi dur­ing the regime of Erich Ho­necker, above.

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