Militaria Archive

'Stasi - Power and Banality', Stasi Museum Leipzig

For 40 years the Runde Ecke (rounded corner) building was the headquarters of the Stasi (Ministry of State Security/Ministerium für Staatssicherheit) in Leipzig, former East Germany. A regional centre of the East German communist repressive secret services (modeled on the KGB and Cheka). In addition to the mundane tasks of opening private correspondence and recording telephone calls (on a scale dwarfed by the recently uncovered NSA global electronic surveillance programmes) the Stasi routinely violated human rights, followed East German citizens, bugged their homes, terrorised, blackmailed and even tortured and murdered its own citizens. They infiltrated West Germany to engage in sabotage activity (including vandalizing cemeteries with swastikas to undermine the reputation of West Germany). In 2012 it was uncovered that the west German police officer Karl-Heinz Kurras who famously shot a leftist student Benno Ohnesorg during street demonstrations in West Berlin in 1967 had been a Stasi agent.

Lenin and Felix Dzerzhinsky (founder of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police) paraphernalia. Stasi Museum Leipzig, Germany.