The innocent face of terror
“Das Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit” oder “Stasi” was responsible for home security and secret service in the former DDR between 1950 and 1989 (“die Wende”). Modelled after the Russian KGB, it was seen as the most effective secret service in the world. It spied on DDR citizens and infiltrated in almost every aspect of daily life. People seen as a danger for he communist power were prisoned, tortured and sometimes executed. It was estimated that, in its last phase, Stasi had employed 90.000 full-time staff and 200.000 informants. About 1 in every 50 citizens collaborated with the Stasi, often under threat. Family members and friends were forced to betray each other. This effective system was set up by Erich Mielke, head of the Stasi between 1957 and 1989, a hard boiled communist, who was trained in Moskou and was also active in Spain and Belgium. His offices were located in “Haus 1” at the Department of Home Security in Berlin. At one floor we can still find these in their original fashion. From these friendly and innocent looking Mielke offices an athmosphere of deep fear and terror was spread that still has its influence on many people in particularly former East-Germany.