Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I highly recommend this book. Perhaps I just haven't been looking hard enough, but I feel like a lot isn't known about what happened in East Germany. Stasiland digs into that theory, and comes up with: most former West Germans don't really care, and most former East Germans want to move on, or even miss the former East Germany. The big theme of the book (and East Germany itself) is the network of informers-official and unofficial-that the East German security force (Stasi) built up. Just think about this (taken from the review linked below):

The central problem that Funder explores is rooted in a statistic mentioned early in the book: "In the GDR, there was one Stasi officer or informant for every sixty-three people. If part-time informers are included, some estimates have the ratio as high as one informer for every 6.5 citizens." This means an informer for every family, and an unthinkable post-liberation situation in which one in six people may be the one who informed on you. Furthermore, the Stasi kept files on approximately six million people, a third of the country's population.

That is unbelievable. The Stasi wanted to know everything about everybody. While many people were kept terrified, many other liked the feeling of protection. I guess living in Nazi Germany and then surviving World War 2, much of the East German population was ripe for government domination.

In depth review here.


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