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by Bruce, Gary, 1969-Publication date 2010Topics Germany (East). Ministerium für Staatssicherheit — History, Intelligence service — Germany (East) — History, Secret service — Germany (East) — History, Germany (East) — Politics and governmentPublisher Oxford ; New York : Oxford University PressCollection inlibrary; printdisabled; internetarchivebooksDigitizing sponsor Kahle/Austin FoundationContributor Internet ArchiveLanguage English
xiv, 239 p.,  p. of plates : 25 cm
“Based on previously classified documents and on interviews with former secret police officers and ordinary citizens, The Firm is the first comprehensive history of East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi, at the grassroots level. Focusing on Gransee and Perleberg, two East German districts located north of Berlin, Gary Bruce reveals how the Stasi monitored small-town East Germany. He paints an eminently human portrait of those involved with this repressive arm of the government, featuring interviews with former officers that uncover a wide array of personalities, from devoted ideologues to reluctant opportunists, most of whom talked frankly about East Germany’s obsession with surveillance. Their paths after the collapse of Communism are gripping stories of resurrection and despair, of renewal and demise, of remorse and continued adherence to the movement. The book also sheds much light on the role of the informant, the Stasi’s most important tool in these out-of-the-way areas. Providing on-the-ground empirical evidence of how the Stasi operated on a day-to-day basis with ordinary people, this remarkable volume offers an unparalleled picture of life in a totalitarian state”–
“The Stasi, East Germany’s secret police was the largest per capita secret police in world history. The territorial units of the Stasi, the small offices that dotted the countryside and undertook the lion’s share of internal surveillance, responsible for running the majority of the Stasi’s Informants or societal “collaborators,” have received virtually no attention in the scholarly literature. The Firm will be the first book to trace the history of the Stasi at a district level. Based on previously inaccessible secret police files and interviews with former members of the East German security apparatus, it provides an unparalleled picture of life in a totalitarian state. This book is based on 14 interviews with former secret police personnel from the districts under study, the most interviews ever conducted with former Stasi by one person, and 30 interviews with “ordinary” people in the districts in order to address daily life in a dictatorship, as well as the regional Stasi archives. This book will it provide a new approach to understanding totalitarianism and life in a late 20th century police state and will address major issues such as the use of intelligence in the concept of security and the limits of an “acceptable” level of surveillance”–
Includes bibliographical references and index
Districts Gransee and Perleberg under the Nazis — In the service of the firm : the full-time Stasi employees — The candidate : Stasi informants — In the line of sight : targeted by the Stasi — The Stasi in everyday life — The downfall
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