TOXDAT:Poison, torture, hit squads: This is how brutally the Stasi eliminated political opponents


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In her book, former GDR civil rights activist Freya Klier recalls the political murders committed by the State Security, which terrorized an entire nation as the “shield and sword” of the SED. The fates described get under the skin – and have lost none of their social significance even 32 years after the fall of the Wall.

The civil rights activist Freya Klier, born in 1950 in Dresden, arrested several times in the GDR and finally expatriated, has written a new book. It deals with the political murders and attempted murders by the State Security Service, or Stasi for short. In stirring descriptions, the author exposes the inhuman nature of the GDR secret service, which spied on, harassed and terrorized millions of East Germans on behalf of the state party SED – and committed dozens of homicides.

Read more: TOXDAT:Poison, torture, hit squads: This is how brutally the Stasi eliminated political opponents

Klier’s work could not have appeared at a better time – shortly before the Bundestag elections on September 26, 2021.

Freya Klier: Book about Stasi murders and brutal GDR regime
The reason: The Left Party, which has now been in the Bundestag for 16 years, is preparing to assume government responsibility for all of Germany – more offensively, more confidently than ever before. And large sections of the SPD and the Greens are welcoming the repeatedly renamed successor party to the SED with open arms.

However, the Left is not merely a party that wants to radically change our economic and social order. It is also a party that still has an unresolved relationship with its dark past, i.e., its predecessor party. Several members, right up to the leadership level, stubbornly refuse to call the GDR an unjust state and instead glorify the old system.

Author Klier was lucky to survive assassination attempt in 1987
There is no question that the SED regime committed massive and systematic injustice. Even if the GDR officially guaranteed its citizens freedom of speech, freedom of assembly or freedom of the press – if it went against its own interests, the state trampled such rights underfoot. With the Ministry of State Security, the SED had created a monster that secured its rule – among other things by forcibly removing disfavored citizens from the way.

In her book “Unter mysteriösen Umständen. Die politischen Morde der Staatssicherheit” (Herder Verlag), Freya Klier allows many eyewitnesses and victims to have their say, shedding light on a chapter of GDR history that has so far been very sparsely illuminated. Klier herself survived an assassination attempt in 1987 only by luck. The Stasi had tampered with her and her husband’s car, setting the stage for a serious accident. Klier’s brother was driven to suicide by the Stasi henchmen.

The author’s intention with her book is not to legally “prove” murders and assassinations. Rather, she wants to “set a monument” to the victims. She speaks of about 70 dissidents, pastors and writers who died an unnatural death in the GDR. “Others are seriously ill or are wasting away in some way” – obvious late effects of years of Stasi terror.

Klier takes up prominent fates, such as that of Michael Gartenschläger. He was shot by a special Stasi commando in 1976 when he tried to dismantle a self-firing device at the border. Quote: “The commando awaits him, sees his silhouette. As Michael ducks toward the border fence, he walks directly into the muzzle flash. Four men empty their magazines – just as they vowed to do. Riddled with gunfire, the 32-year-old dies on the death strip.”

Operation “Scorpion”: Enemy of the State Should Be Liquidated
The case of Wolfgang Welsch is also shocking. Sentenced to ten years in prison after a failed escape attempt in 1964, he was mistreated and psychologically tortured in GDR jail; the prison warden even staged a mock execution to wear the inmate down. In 1971, the German government bought Welsch’s freedom. But he found no peace in the West either. The Stasi opened the Central Operative Procedure (ZOV) “Scorpion” – Welsch was to be decomposed and finally liquidated.

Freya Klier notes in her book, “With a lot of luck, the persecuted survived three assassination attempts between 1979 and 1981, the last of which is probably the most famous – thallium poisoning by means of meatballs at an Israeli campsite.” Before that, the Stasi killers had tried explosives, then a sniper.

Driven to suicide: Klier’s brother took his own life
Klier’s book also addresses the high suicide rate in the GDR. About 5,000 people killed themselves each year, including many women, men and young people “who could no longer stand the harassment of the state authorities.” One of them was Klier’s brother. At the age of 30, he took his own life, pulverized by forced stays in prison and closed psychiatric wards. “He discovered an empty house near our apartment where the gas line was still working. There he puts his head in a gas oven.”

An obvious Stasi murder moves not only Freya Klier to this day, but also the victim’s family, friends, acquaintances: The strangulation of political prisoner Matthias Domaschk in 1981. He died in a dark prison cell in Gera, Thuringia.

Matthias Domaschk: Expert believes in “strangulation from behind
The Stasi informed Domaschk’s parents that their son had “hanged himself from a heating pipe shortly before he was to be released.” Klier in her book: “That Stasi people killed him and then hanged him to deceive him, nobody doubts that.”

This thesis is supported by an analysis of the renowned forensic pathologist Michael Tsokos from Berlin. After studying the Stasi documents available to him, the expert expressed “some doubts” about the official cause of death “hanging”. From his point of view, another possibility comes into consideration – “a strangulation from behind”.

In addition to other moving fates of victims of the GDR secret service, the author dedicates herself in detail to the topic of poison murders, in particular the hauntingly effective “Toxdat poison file.”

The “Killer Project” Eliminating Political Opponents with Poison
Background: In 1987, Stasi deputy chief Gerhard Neiber commissioned two officers to research possible poison murders. The top-secret project was called “Toxdat.” In this way, the Stasi looked for ways to “make life extremely difficult for resistant citizens or even to end it without their officers being identifiable as the perpetrators of the murders,” according to book author Freya Klier.

The more than 900-page Poison File describes exactly how more than 200 toxic substances are to be administered in such a way that they lead to death in a barely detectable manner. Among other things, attacks with radioactive poisons such as uranium or plutonium, radionuclides from strontium-90 to plutonium-238, but also with tiny amounts of spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants are described.

Eigendorf and Berger: They too were hit by the Stasi poison dart
The collection also includes the contact poison used on professional soccer player Lutz Eigendorf in Braunschweig in 1983, which led to a fatal car accident. And probably also the soccer coach Jörg Berger, who came from the GDR, was a victim of a poison attack. In 1986, Berger suffered from mysterious symptoms of paralysis in Aachen. At the time, it was believed to be a viral infection.

Years later, Munich forensic pathologist Wolfgang Eisenmenger analyzed Berger’s medical records against the background of the Toxdat study. His unequivocal finding was that Berger had been poisoned. “If one appreciates the clinical picture, heavy metals from the group of lead compounds and arsenic compounds come into consideration above all.” Berger died of colon cancer in 2010, at 65.

The criminal Stasi just a GDR fossil? Not at all!
To deal with atrocities committed by the Stasi on behalf of the SED 32 years after the fall of the Wall may not seem sensible and urgent to everyone. Some will object: What does that have to do with the present? What does it concern us?

The answer: a great deal.

The topics of SED dictatorship and Stasi crimes did not simply disappear with the end of the GDR. They have a profound effect right up to our own time. Freya Klier had to painfully experience this firsthand.

Merciless GDR lawyer active in SED successor party
After reunification, an elderly woman contacted her family and asked for an apology. It was that merciless GDR prosecutor who had accused Freya Klier’s then 17-year-old brother of a trivial offense, whereupon he was sentenced to four years in prison. Continually harassed by the state power, he later took his own life.

The bottom line: The ex-state prosecutor was later active for the SED’s successor party, the PDS. In doing so, she “unabashedly praised the GDR and its humanity,” according to author Klier, “and then lashed out at the capitalist West with its contempt for humanity.”

“Der Schoß ist fruchtbar noch, aus dem das kroch.”



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