Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Stasi

The Stasi I watched the German film, The Lives of Others, this weekend. It was an incredible film and very much deserving of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar that it won this year. It was about the Stasi which is short for Staatssicherheit which translates to State Security in English. The Stasi in the old East Germany (the GDR) is basically the equivalent of the KGB in the Soviet Union or to a lesser extent, the FBI in the US. By the time the wall fell in 1989, the Stasi had over 91,000 employees and 300,000 informants. Approximately, 1 in 7 citizens were informing on their neighbors and family.

At the end of The Lives of Others, one of the main characters gets to look at the Stasi's file on him. He sees that his wife was informing the Stasi about him. The screen writer of the film,
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck,was actually sued for libel about this by his wife and it was revealed that she actually was spying on him during the era.

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