A few weeks ago on a very snowy Sunday afternoon, Andreas and I ventured east to Lichtenberg to visit the Stasi Museum. The museum is housed in the former Stasi Headquarters building which was stormed by protesters on January 15, 1990 during the collapse of the GDR. When it became clear the East German government was going to fall, Stasi officials had holed themselves up in the building destroying and shredding Stasi documents and after the some of the shredders broke from overuse, the officials continued to shred the papers by hand. The protesters believed those documents, many of which detailed the personal lives of GDR citizens, should have been available to the people and been made public. Since 1995, a team of people in Zirndorf outside of Nuremberg, has been working to piece back together by hand, the 15,500 sacks of paper which were recovered. A fascinating article was written in the Guardian detailing the documents and the efforts to piece them back together, read it here.
a camera which was disguised as a button. The wide array of hidden cameras displayed in the museum are fascinating (especially for photography nerds, like me), there was even a camera hidden inside a watering can. The great lengths the Stasi went to spy on the citizens of East Germany is unbelievable (and really sad).
Infrared flash cannot be seen by the human eye, but can be used to photograph subjects at night without being seen. Infrared flashes were hidden in the doors of this car to photograph along the roads. The watch was used as a recording device.
one of the most well known parts of the museum is the office of the last Minister of State Security, Erich Mielke. His office and those of his colleagues have been restored and are pretty much exactly as they were left over 20 years ago.
Stasi Museum Berlin
Ruschestraße 103, Haus 1
exploring berlin is a series following my explorations of my adopted home city.
*Note to non-German speaking visitors, most of the text in the museum is NOT translated. There is a LOT of text to read, detailing the history of the Stasi and the GDR government and those who stood up against it. Although I do think for those who don’t understand German, it would still be really interesting, I just wanted to write a little warning to prepare you.