Exactly 69 years ago, on February 8th, 1950, the fledgling German Democratic Republic(GDR) officially debuted its security service, dedicated to monitoring and preventing outside influences – particularly from the West.
While the many crimes of Nazism still loom large in the popular imagination, we must never forget that for almost 40 years, many East Germans lived in terror of the Ministerium Staatssicherheit – more commonly known as the ‘Stasi’.
With close links to the Russian intelligence services – specifically the KGB – the new organization was provided with training and equipment by the Soviets. This was in order to root out sources of dissent and identify supposed ‘subversive individuals’ who might work against the ‘socialist dream’.
The Stasi employed thousands of soldiers, analysts, officials and technical specialists as part of its apparatus across East Germany, and as a consequence nearly every workplace, public venue and educational institute