Sunday Stasi HQ Bloggin’

I recently had the opportunity to look round the Stasi’s old head office (as visitors to my photo blog will be bored beyond belief by). A couple of things – first of all, here’s something in the spirit of the last post.

A real conspirator's radio

That – as you may be able to make out from the brass plate – is a model of the concealed shortwave transmitter used by none other than Richard Sorge to send his reports from Tokyo so Stalin could comprehensively ignore most of them. (I don’t think I’ve blogged this interview with his Japanese mistress in Die Zeit before, so there you go.) The East Germans made a bit of a cult out of Sorge (and you bet we would if he’d been a Brit) – as you can see from this photo.

The building has a sort of Stalinised Royal Festival Hall chic to it; this is the private meeting room inside the Minister’s offices.

Communist executive-suite luxury

They could make anything, as long as they could make it out of wood.

Hypermodern marquetry

Talking on this device was probably unwise.

East German personal tech

But more to the point, here’s the display in Chief Directorate VII (Counterespionage and Police Internal Affairs)’s unit hall of fame about their campaign against Amnesty International.

You know you're indecent when the Stasi put your photo on the wall

The text is in a truly awful bureaucratic German; I will try to render it faithfully.

Amnesty International – a “bourgeois (or civil – the German word is fundamentally ambiguous) human rights organisation” – is strongly oriented towards slander of the socialist states. The colleagues of Chief Directorate VII contributed successfully to identifying the enemy efforts to create AI operational bases in the GDR and to rendering their attempts at discrimination ineffectual.

The exhibits are a collection of Amnesty leaflets, reports, letters and the like, which they presumably collected by slipping over to the West and going to their street stalls. These are described at the bottom as “sichergestellte Hetzschriften der Amnesty International”, which translates as something like “securely recovered hate-sheets” and usually refers to something like Der Stürmer.


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