The Firm: The Inside Story of the Stasi

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Oxford University Press, Jul 9, 2010 - History - 264 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
1 DISTRICTS GRANSEE AND PERLEBERG UNDER THE NAZIS
20
The Fulltime Stasi Employees
31
Stasi Informants
80
Maps and photographs
106
Targeted by the Stasi
106
5 THE STASI IN EVERYDAY LIFE
142
6 THE DOWNFALL
162
CONCLUSION
182
Notes
187
Bibliography
217
Index
227
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Gary Bruce is Associate Professor of History at the University of Waterloo and author of Resistance with the People: Repression and Resistance in Eastern Germany, 1945-1955.

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