Stasi is the abbreviation for Staatssicherheitsdienst.  In the GDR this referred to the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit.

The Stasi monitored the people of the GDR, especially those with contact to people in West Germany.  Letters were opened, read, and re-sealed.  Telephone calls were recorded.

Many people co-operated unofficially with the Stasi, the so-called “IMs” (inoffizielle Mitarbeiter) and reported information about their friends and neighbours.  The Stasi then archived this information, creating a large source of information about the people that they were monitoring.

Much of this information was destroyed before German re-unification, although there are projects that reconstruct these documents leading to new revelations about who informed on whom.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. […] Weimar and Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz) and I cannot say that I knew much about things like the Stasi, or the internal politics and culture of the […]

  2. […] Germany has some very strict privacy laws, many of which come as a result of the country’s recent history.  Those residents that lived through the period of the GDR are especially aware of people knowing too much about them. […]

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