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STASILAND: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall is an excellent book by Anna Funder. I just read it earlier in the month. It is a fitting piece to cover here at the Male Defender MOLON LABE podcast. This is our 117th installment. Always good to have you!

I enjoyed Stasiland and decided to share selected facts from it for our podcast.

For the young kids, here is a German government link to what the Stasi was. It’s a good and educational read:

What was the Stasi? The term “Stasi” is an abbreviation for “Staatssicherheit” (state security). That is what the East Germans called the Ministry of State Security, which was officially abbreviated “MfS”. The Stasi had two functions: It worked as both a secret service and a secret police. Many countries have a secret service agency. They are responsible for detecting threats to the country from abroad. Secret police usually only exist in dictatorships. They have the task of controlling their own citizens and eliminating any danger to the ruling regime. They are accountable only to the rulers and circumvent the laws that normal police must obey.

A citizen did not have to openly engage in resistance against the state to draw the attention of the Stasi. Failing to conform with mainstream society was enough. Having long hair or listening to music from the West could make someone appear suspicious. Any time people came together as a group that was not organised under the auspices of the state – a sports club or youth activities offered by the Church – this also aroused suspicion. When the Stasi took action against an individual, it had a number of different measures at its disposal. The Stasi searched people’s apartments covertly and bugged their rooms, even the bathroom and bedroom. It intimidated its victims by having them constantly tailed. The Stasi could simply arrest citizens it was suspicious of. It could interrogate them in a remand prison and apply pressure as it saw fit.

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