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Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 5.2 (2004) 321-348



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The Stasi

New Research on the East German Ministry of State Security

Dept. of History
Amherst College
Amherst, MA 01002 USA
caepstein@amherst.edu
Klaus Bästlein, Der Fall Mielke: Die Ermittlungen gegen den Minister für Staatssicherheit der DDR [The Mielke Case: An Investigation of the GDR Minister of State Security]. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2002. 300 pp. ISBN 3-7890-7775-5. €25.00.
Manfred Bols, Ende der Schweigepflicht: Aus dem Leben eines Geheimdienstlers [An End to the Oath of Secrecy: Excerpts from a Secret Agent's Life]. Berlin: edition ost, 2002. 254 pp. ISBN 3-360-01037-X. €14.90.
Jens Gieseke, Die hauptamtlichen Mitarbeiter der Staatssicherheit: Personalstruktur und Lebenswelt, 1950-1989/90 [The Full-Time Employees of State Security: Personnel Structure and Environment, 1950-89/90]. Berlin: Ch. Links, 2000. 615 pp. ISBN 3-86153-227-1. €24.50.
Jens Gieseke, Mielke-Konzern: Die Geschichte der Stasi, 1945-1990 [The Mielke Firm: A History of the Stasi, 1945-90]. Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags Anstalt, 2001. 291 pp. ISBN 3-421-05481-9. €18.90.
Reinhard Grimmer, Werner Irmler, Willi Opitz, and Wolfgang Schwanitz, eds., Die Sicherheit: Zur Abwehrarbeit des MfS [Security: On the Defense Work of the MfS]. Berlin: edition ost, 2002. 2 vols. 668pp. + 580pp. ISBN 3-360-01030-2. €29.90.
Tobias Hollitzer, ed., Wie weiter mit der Aufarbeitung? 10 Jahre Stasi-Unterlagen-Gesetz: Bilanz und Ausblick [How to Proceed with the Reappraisal? Ten Years of [End Page 321] the Stasi Document Law: Balance Sheet and Prospects]. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2002. 158 pp. ISBN 3-374-02018-6. €12.80.
Alison Lewis, Die Kunst des Verrats: Der Prenzlauer Berg und die Staatssicherheit [The Art of Betrayal: Prenzlauer Berg and State Security]. Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 2003. 272 pp. ISBN 3-8260-2487-7. €36.00.
Elisabeth Pfister, Unternehmen Romeo: Die Liebeskommandos der Stasi [Operation Romeo: The Stasi Love Commandos]. Berlin: Aufbau Taschenbuch, 1999. 208 pp. ISBN 3-7466-7033-0. €7.79.
Ingolf Pleil, Mielke, Macht und Meisterschaft: Die "Bearbeitung" der Sportgemeinschaft Dynamo Dresden durch das MfS, 1978-1989 [Mielke, Power and Championship: The "Handling" of the Dynamo Dresden Team by the MfS, 1978-89]. Berlin: Ch. Links, 2001. 303 pp. ISBN 3-86153-235-2. €15.50.
Holger Richter, Die Operative Psychologie des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit der DDR [The Operative Psychology of the GDR Ministry of State Security]. Frankfurt am Main: Mabuse-Verlag, 2001. 357 pp. ISBN 3-933050-72-3. €32.00.
Matthias Wagner, Das Stasi-Syndrom: Über den Umgang mit den Akten des MfS in den 90er Jahren [The Stasi Syndrome: On Dealing with MfS Files in the 1990s]. Berlin: edition ost, 2001. 260 pp. ISBN 3-360-01021-3. €12.90.

One hundred seventy-eight kilometers of archival material. Personal files on six million individuals. Forty million index cards. One million pictures and negatives. Thousands of human scents stored in glass jars, 91,015 full-time employees, 174,000 "unofficial" informants. The highest surveillance rate (agents to population) in history. Husbands spying on wives. Colleagues snitching on co-workers. Informants posing as dissidents. State officials harboring Red Army Faction terrorists. "Romeo" agents preying on hapless secretaries. Commandos kidnapping alleged traitors from West Germany. Agent provocateurs infiltrating literary groups and church circles.

The East German Ministry of State Security (MfS), popularly known as the Stasi, has long had a reputation as one of the world's most ruthless, efficient, and omnipotent secret police. The MfS went to extraordinary lengths to protect the regime of the East German communist party, the Socialist Unity Party (SED). It had virtually all of society under surveillance. It facilitated and sometimes even manipulated East German economic, political, and cultural developments. It had a destructive effect on the lives and careers of many East Germans and some [End Page 322] West Germans. Even after its dissolution in 1990, the Stasi continued to exert influence: the institutionalized insidiousness that it had fostered poisoned the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-5000
Print ISSN
1531-023x
Pages
pp. 321-348
Launched on MUSE
2004-07-07
Open Access
No
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