Some months ago, an extensive 45-page DIN [German Industrial Standard] A4-size work was published by the official of the Federal Republic of Germany in charge of the records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic. The series, edited by the Department for Education and Research was written by Tobias Wunschik, and was entitled: The Maoist KPD/ML and the Destruction of its GDR Section by the Ministry of State Security. It was the first paper on the GDR Section written from a bourgeois point of view which has been published since the annexation of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). In the FRG media – press, radio and television – there existed, until then, nothing but one type of opposition within the GDR: the opposition of well-known writers, singers-songwriters and scientists, such as ‘communists’ like [the scientist] Robert Havemann or [the singer-songwriter] Mr. Wolf Biermann who, for many years, appeared in public with the label of an ‘opposition communist’. For such mister ‘comrades’ the bourgeoisie is generous.
In November, 1997, Biermann was once again awarded a prize. This time it was the National Prize awarded by the German National Foundation (more than 100,000 German marks). Biermann was honoured as a person ‘who in his own way contributed to the growing together of the two parts of Germany’, as was stated by someone of high rank. And in January, 1998, the mister ‘comrade’ was invited to be a guest of the ‘private conference’ of the [Bavaria] state group of the Christian Social Union residing in Bonn in the upper Bavarian village of Wildbad Kreuth. And immediately [after the GDR’s annexation by the FRG], a street was named after Havemann, while so many other streets which had been named after anti-fascists and ‘evil’ communists were renamed.
The above type of opposition was and is described to the last detail. But the media kept silent about the resistance of Marxist-Leninists within the GDR. While a comprehensive history of the GDR Section is still to be written, a qualified bourgeois researcher has, in the above-mentioned grey booklet, presented a treatise of interest. The archive material of the Party and information given by persons involved must still be analyzed in the light of the dossiers of the MfS [GDR Ministry of State Security] on individuals. Until now, only a few activists have been allowed access to ‘their own’ MfS dossiers. With the aid of the above mentioned work – a doctoral thesis – further details about the illegal activities of the Party can be researched, details which cannot be understood by only studying the StaSis [Staatssicherheitsdienst, GDR State Security Service] dossiers on individuals.
The insight relating only to an individuals ‘own’ dossier obstructs the overall view of its illegal activities and the countermeasures taken by the MfS. The MfS’s strategy and tactics, for instance, were dealt with in the reports of Department (Abteilung) XXH/1 entitled Operative Dossier – OV – GDR Section of the KPD/ML. These central plans of disintegration and liquidation are not found in the individual StaSi dossiers. Tobias Wunschik’s work is a ‘treasure chest’ of extensive quotations from sources. As an expression of his basic bourgeois attitude, Wunschik’s political assessments may, for the moment, be left aside. Tobias Wunschik’s comments are supplemented by information, documents and MfS documents on the ‘Magdeburg’ and ‘Weisswasser’ cells of the GDR Section.
The Formation of the GDR Section
At the end of 1975 and beginning of 1976, the foundation by the KPD/ML of its own section in the GDR was made public. The corresponding declaration was published in [the Party’s central organ] Roter Morgen of February 7, 1976. While the KPD/ML had already been formed in 1968 in the FRG, the nucleus of the GDR Section emerged within the GDR itself. In the beginning of the 1970s, some students in the eleventh and twelfth grades at an Extended Secondary School (Erweiterte Oberschule; EOS) in Berlin got together to study the texts of the classical authors of Marxism-Leninism independently of the official version propagated by the SED [Socialist Unity Party of Germany, state party of the GDR].
They were not the only ones in the GDR doing this at that period. Other interested people among their friends and families joined them, so that, in the course of time, a little circle of employees (e.g. in home education and technical fields) and students (e.g. of medicine, language and literature) was formed. In reading the basic texts of Marxist-Leninist social theory they came more and more to the conclusion that a deep gap existed between theory and practice in ‘actually existing socialism’ (‘Situation Report by the Working Group XXII of the Berlin BV [Regional Administration of the StaSi] on the Present State of Investigation of the GDR Section of the ‘Communist Party of Germany’ dated January 18, 1982′.) In Magdeburg, during 1969-70, pupils, students and apprentices got together to form the Progressive Youth (Progressive Jugend) (former Commune 13, inspired – among other things – by the Black Panthers. Besides the classical authors of Marxism-Leninism, various forbidden texts (of Mao, Stalin, the Black Panthers, etc.) were read and discussed by this youth group, whose activities were GDR-wide and which comprised about hundred young people.
After the Progressive Youth had been disintegrated and destroyed, in 1976 the ‘hard core’ of the Progressive Youth formed a KPD/ML cell. In Rostock, too, an autonomous circle of students was formed with a similar political orientation. Being interested in further ideological inspiration, many of these groups and circles – by themselves – got in touch with various left organizations in West Berlin and with the Albanian embassy in East Berlin. Besides the young people, who were the majority within the GDR Section, some older, battle-hardened comrades joined the Section.
For instance, comrade Heinz Reiche (‘Grandpa’ Reiche), who had spent 11 years in Nazi prisons and concentration camps, took part in activities in Weisswasser (a little township south of Cottbus). Heinz Reiche had already in the 1950s come into conflict with the SED. During the following years [after 1970], the KPD/ML was successful in gaining supporters and organizing them into party cells in the GDR. These cells were inspired by the cell system of the illegal KPD during the Nazi dictatorship. Until 1980, almost a dozen such cells were formed. According to Wunschik’s information, the total number of members or supporters of the KPD/ML in the GDR amounted to three dozen people. In addition, there were about 50 to 60 sympathizers who were in direct personal contact with the above-mentioned circle. (These figures are based on findings of the StaSi). Several old, battle-hardened communists were also active within the KPD. That was shown by the following example of a Berlin cell. According to PA-Archiv [Archives of the Party], there were:
1) Fritz (72 years old), since 1942 illegal, prisoner in Sachsenhausen CC [concentration camp], of proletarian origin, steel smelter.
2) Max 1 (73 years old), in 1928 sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment, subsequently in Sachsenhausen CC together with [the well-known communist singer] Ernst Busch, of proletarian origin, miner from the Ruhr.
3) Max 2 (70 years old), of proletarian origin, jailed briefly during the Weimar Republic, today participating in the works committee of the factory.
4) Roemer (28 years old), engineer.
5) Joachim (51 years old), editor, after the [Second World] War trained by the Party [SED] as an editor, of proletarian origin, worked with several newspapers (Neues Deutschland, Berliner Zeitung), in jail for 4 1/2 years, later worked as a gatekeeper. At present, the group consists of 14 sympathizers who are divided up among individual comrades.’
Examples of the Activity of the GDR Section
Approximately 20 instructors and 30 couriers were used as ‘liaison people’ between the FRG and West Berlin Sections and the GDR Section. 8% of their gross pay was established as membership dues. The activities within the GDR centred on the recruitment of supporters and sympathizers. The attention of the public was attracted by actions, which were always spectacular in the GDR. From 1976, numerous leaflets were distributed, public buildings were painted with slogans, posters were pasted on walls, lampposts etc. Their own, separate, ‘GDR edition’ of the Roter Morgen was widely distributed. The communists’ voice was distributed in the GDR either by stuffing it into mailboxes or by putting it in public places (such as phone booths, bus stops, railway stations, movie theatres, hospitals) or distributing it directly in factories.
This newspaper thus became the first regularly-appearing opposition periodical within the GDR. In the course of an interrogation, a woman involved said: ‘By distributing the different issues of the Roter Morgen, I personally saw a possibility of influencing the working people in a propagandist manner, to gather and prepare the forces for a conscious transformation of society in the GDR.’ (‘Interrogation Record, dated January 5, 1982’). Small distribution activities of homemade leaflets were planned and realized by the cells independently. In this way, they intervened in the political events of the day. At the same time, they promoted Radio Tirana, the only socialist radio station. Tobias Wunschik established that the GDR Section comrades developed considerable activities.
For instance, the East Berlin activists put out a total of 25 different leaflets in 547 different distribution actions in ten months of 1979. Activities were also carried out in the factories. Besides propaganda actions (such as leaflet distribution, slogan painting, etc.), trade union activities were also carried out. Working within the FDGB [GDR Federation of Free German Trade Unions] offered good possibilities for drawing attention to social injustices and for mobilizing colleagues for small actions. The leitmotiv for this was ‘the fight for tea-water in the factory’, as Lenin called it. On the one hand, new sympathizers could be won. On the other hand, there was the danger of betrayal within this unified trade union which was very closely bound to the SED. The Roter Morgen was very helpful for the communists’ illegal activities. This newspaper, printed on thin paper, was illegally smuggled into the GDR. (At least, partial editions of the Roter Morgen were printed in the GDR too, as comrades reported.) Here is an excerpt from one of many hundreds of letters to the editorial staff of the Roter Morgen:
‘Dresden, September 9, 1981. Dear KPD comrades! Your newspaper came to us through thousands of hands. What we could read in black and white made our hearts swell because few of these convincing facts come to light here. (…) This state has nothing in common with democracy, since the bigwigs’ parasitism and clique economy is unbearable for the ordinary worker. Therefore we feel a rapport with the KPD comrades and ask you to carry on as before so that many people in the GDR (who show interest in it) will read the truth about the state leadership and find it confirmed. With friendly greetings, Koenig family, Dresden.’
For the ‘Cottbus’ cell alone, 3,000 copies of the ‘GDR edition’ of the Roter Morgen, several inner-party materials, a homemade printing apparatus for printing up to 50 stencils, a homemade [Rollapparat], a typewriter, one 35 mm camera as well as printer’s ink and ink pads were smuggled in with the aid of a handful of couriers until 1979. The D 359 transit train (Munich – Nuernberg – Berlin) was especially preferred for taking along materials. In such cases, the leaflets were delivered in bundles by throwing them out of the train traveling past a certain point, an action which had been precisely planned beforehand. When the materials were brought in by car, the transport was mostly carried out with the aid of a specially-prepared fire extinguisher in the courier’s vehicle.
The Party thought that such method of delivery of materials ‘was almost 100% safe’ [‘Information by Department II of the Main Administration for Surveillance, dated February 1, 1982, on a personal conversation with Horst-Dieter Koch, member of the Central Committee of the KPD and the official responsible for the GDR Section’]. Furthermore, illegal communist materials were smuggled in from Poland and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Albanian literature such as works of comrade Enver Hoxha were placed at their disposal by the comrades of the Albanian embassy. These books were not only used for study but were also sent to consciously selected people.
The ‘Magdeburg’ cell in which I was active was a pioneer in this field. For instance, it distributed 200 copies of ‘The Khrushchevites’, 250 copies of ‘Imperialism and the Revolution’, about 60 copies of ‘Reflections on China’ (volumes 1 and 2), thousands of pamphlets on the fight against the modern revisionists, etc. Also, important foreign language documents were sent to different revisionist states (such as Poland, Rumania, Soviet Union, Cuba, Hungary, Bulgaria). Internationalism rated very highly: comrades of the GDR Section also distributed the Czerwony Sztandar [Red Flag], organ of the illegal Communist Party of Poland. This newspaper, also printed on thin paper, was both sent into Poland and given to Polish citizens who worked in the GDR. At various Magdeburg construction sites, the Czerwony Sztandar was found over and over again. Donations were illegally brought into Poland to support the striking colleagues there. Russian language publications were left in newsstands of the Soviet army.
Infiltration and Destruction of the GDR Section by the MfS
The country-wide activities of the communists could not be kept hidden from the political secret police of the SED. Erich Mielke [Minister of State Security] himself gave top priority to the affair (letter from Mielke, dated March 3, 1976). He repeatedly demanded that the surveillance of the ‘GDR Section’ be ‘intensified to the greatest extent’. The aim should not only be the dissolution of the ‘GDR Section’ but also the destruction of the KPD in the West. More far-reaching were the considerations of Department XXII responsible for ‘counter-terrorism’ ‘also to undermine those hostile forces at their starting points (FRG, West Berlin) by appropriate measures, to play them off against one another and to get them involved in sharper clashes with circles of the extreme right as well as with the power structure of the FRG and West Berlin’ (‘The Plan for 1976 of Department XXII, dated January 30, 1976’). Responsible for investigating the Communist Party by the MfS were ‘Main Department XX’ (‘Political Underground’) and Department XXII (‘Counter-Terrorism’).
Also ‘Main Administration for Surveillance’ (HV A) (which was especially directed against the Party (KPD/ML) in the West) as well as ‘Main Department II’ responsible for counter-espionage. The latter kept the contacts of the KPD/ML with the Albanian embassy under surveillance. The penal investigations were undertaken by the Investigation Body of the MfS, ‘Main Department IX’. ‘Main Department VII’ (responsible for detention centres) acted against arrested supporters of the Party.
When communists were to be followed, ‘Main Department VIII’ (responsible for observation) was present, and ‘Main Department III’ (‘radio surveillance and defence’) In the offensive investigation demanded by Mielke [during interrogations reference was made to (the state and party leader] Erich Honecker, who was personally interested in destroying the Communist Party), the responsible StaSi collaborators had run into considerable difficulties. The conspiratorial methods of self-protection of the KPD/ML activities gave them a hard nut to crack. ‘The operational investigation of such forces is complicated by their conspiratorial style of work and by the mistrust in such groups, that leads to a thorough and lengthy check of new or future members. In addition, relatively high demands of political education, willingness to make sacrifices, discipline and reliability are made, especially for officials.’ (Excerpts from ‘Information Report of the Central Evaluation and Information Group – ZAIG – dated October 26, 1979’)
When, beginning in 1979, the KPD/ML intensified its activities in the East, the StaSi intensified its efforts to discover the ‘bases’ in the GDR. Starting points were – as Wunschik states – the already existing findings of ‘Main Department XX’ about two circles in East Berlin and in Rostock and those of ‘Main Department II’ on GDR visitors to the Albanian embassy. Both StaSi departments already in 1979 made use of unofficial collaborators who were active in the GDR Section or in its immediate environment.
With their aid, the MfS discovered more and more of the contacts of KPD/ML members with one another. For instance, personal connections were traced, while travellers in transit trains from which materials had been thrown were checked by the usual method of passport control. Furthermore, phone taps and mail searches were initiated. Objects smuggled in were examined for fingerprints. The responsible ‘Department XXII’ centred its activities on the ‘Cottbus cell’. The identity of two cell members from Luebbenau [in the Spreewald] (Niehueser family) was soon discovered by the MfS. The ‘Department XXII’ contacted these two cell members and was able to ‘turn’ them and win them over as IMs and then use them against the KPD/ML. Later on, these two IMs were sent to meetings with KPD/ML officials in the FRG. At the end of 1980, the MfS estimated the number of members, candidates and close contacts of the GDR Section at about 50 people.
For their investigation, the StaSi used about 20 IMs at that time, and later more than 30. These informers suggested the existence of another 30 sympathizers. In Magdeburg, the MfS had one IM among the four members and three real sympathizers, and this IM was able to suggest two more fictitious sympathizers. (IM ‘Clemens’- real name: Hans Schmidt.) In Berlin, the MfS fabricated a cell which was a pure StaSi product. It served to identify further instructors and couriers, as well as to spread false information to the leadership of the Party [KPD/ML]. In East Berlin, the MfS used six IMs, in Frankfurt [on Oder] and in Leipzig four IMs each, in Karl-Marx-Stadt [today Chemnitz] three, in Dresden two IMs and in Cottbus, Halle [on Saale] and Magdeburg one IM each as KPD/ML members. Against the KPD/ML in the FRG, there were active three more IMs of the HV A II/6 (two of them KPD/ML members and one more a skimming-off contact), one IM of the HV A (‘Science and Technical Section’) and one IM a skimming-off contact of the Department XXII/3 ‘Summary of Department XXII, dated October 24, 1983 concerning the unofficial collaborators used in the framework of surveillance and investigation of the ‘KPD”).
In the West itself, the MfS had identified 22 instructors, 33 couriers, 42 false addresses and 6 false phone numbers of the KPD/ML. Nevertheless, again and again slogans were put up and leaflets were distributed by unidentified KPD/ML members. And even where connections and activities had been identified, the MfS often did not have unequivocal proof to be able to take penal actions against the persons involved. After successful surveillance, the StaSi used various methods to destroy the Section. These included so-called measures of disintegration. For instance, by well-aimed measures of an IM, a member of the ‘Cottbus cell’ (‘Grandpa’ Heinz) was discredited with the Party’s head office, which led to his expulsion from the Party by the ‘GDR Section’s leadership’.
Cells which could not be controlled by the MfS were destroyed by the MfS, for example by making sure that an activist was increasingly stressed on his or her job to prevent him or her from carrying out extensive organizational activities. Furthermore, the StaSi itself stirred up continual mistrust within the Section, by sparing the leading activists from offensive measures (such as arrest or refusal of entry [into the country]). By such means, the people involved were exposed to suspicion of being police informers. Other measures were conscription for military service or reserve service. For instance, one member of the Magdeburg cell was called up only so that the IM could perform his work of disintegration unhindered.
StaSi Defends Maoism to Provoke a Split
With the aid of IMs, feelings of uncertainty on ideological questions were created in the cells. For example, the IM Niehueser made harsh attacks against the Party of Labour of Albania (PLA) by defending Maoism. His Maoist positions, however, were rejected. Besides, the dispute with Maoism in the GDR was less problematical than in the West. In the expectation that people would resign from the Party, Guenther Niehueser pursued an unrestrained smear campaign. The MfS also took advantage of the increasingly strained relations between the KPD and the PLA from 1983. Through Main Department II (with the aid of unofficial collaborators), the MfS plotted to strengthen the sceptical attitude of the members of the Albanian embassy toward the KPD (cf. Proposal for continuing the political and operative measures for the struggle against the ‘KPD’, dated October 25, 1984′. In order to win over further sources in the Section, the StaSi would use any means.
For example, it made use of one Party activist’s marital crisis to obtain discrediting information about him and thus to put him under pressure (‘Supplement to the proposal to win over the KPD/ML official ‘Kagel’ by making use of compromising materials, dated May 20, 1980′). The MfS tried to destroy the marriage of another communist by a manipulated love affair and to enmesh him in criminal activities. The female MfS agent, however, failed in this attempt. Later on, they tried to win over the comrade’s wife as an IM. Blackmail and pressure were used against family members. Positions at universities were denied. The pension for ‘victims of fascism’ was used for blackmail. At the same time, known communists were put under surveillance. In Magdeburg, for instance, the apartments of KPD comrades, including mine, were bugged. For many years, they were continuously monitored! In my StaSi dossier (until now it comprises more than 10,000 pages, but some pages are still missing) were duplicate keys to my apartment.
‘Mielke’s Top Priority’ – StaSi against Communists
For decades, the StaSi had ruled over the people in the GDR. During that period, this tentacle of the revisionist party grew into a monstrous formation. There was hardly a family, hardly an individual who could feel fully free. Neither from spying, intimidation, blackmail and persecution or from attempts at recruitment by the StaSi. ‘Under the heading ‘security policy, socialist’, one can find the following self-definition of the MfS: the MfS had, according to the ‘class directions of the Party, (…) as its priority, to prevent and hinder, to uncover in a timely manner and to combat all the enemy’s subversive assaults, particularly on the defence capacity of socialism, on the accomplishment without disturbance of the Party’s economic strategy and on the ideological foundations of the ideology of the working class.’ [The Dictionary of the MfS’ Political and Operative Activity ‘Classified Document’, second edition, compiled at the Ministry’s Law School at Potsdam-Eiche, 1985. Reprint: Ch. Links Publishers, Berlin 1996].
It is striking that protection of the ‘ideology of the working class’ was among the tasks for the State Security Service, which thus also laid claim to the duties of a type of ‘thought or ideology police’. And the ‘ideology of the working class’ (i.e. revisionism) could even be ‘attacked’ by the youngest citizens of the country. Consequently, children could also be considered ‘negative forces’. For myself, I had already attracted attention when I was a youth of 14 years. Already as a child, I was very interested in literature and history. Nikolai Ostrovsky’s novel ‘How the Steel was Tempered’ made a deep impression on me. I was still very young when I read the Manifesto of Marx and Engels. Later on, I read other classical authors. I read these ‘free’ from the usual explanations. There was no school teacher, no leader of the FDJ [Free German Youth] or anyone else who gave me an SED-interpretation of them. On my own, I studied a series of texts of classical authors. (Although these were sometimes lengthy.) These were important bases of my opposition views. The injustices that could be seen everywhere in society and the obvious gap between theory and practice found their explanation in the texts of the classical authors.
My different opinion during civics lessons, in discussions in summer camp about the intervention of the Warsaw Pact states in the CSSR [Czechoslovak Socialist Republic] in 1968 was enough for the MfS. That I openly listened to Radio Tirana in the children’s summer camp ‘aggravated’ the situation. When I was 17 years old I had my ‘own’ operative dossier (OV). The purpose of such an OV was to compile information and detailed data, in order to initiate preliminary proceedings and to begin the work of disintegration. Important measures of the OV are as follows: The aim was to gather evidence of a suspected criminal offence and to prevent such activities. Everything was laid down according to definite guidelines of the Council of Ministers for secret service activities:
A) The citizen’s letters were opened (‘M’ measure, postal control).
B) The apartment was broken into (conspiratorial search of apartments by Department VIII).
C) Installation of bugs in the apartment (measure 26B).
D) Observation (Department VIII) and clandestine photography (measure 26F).
E) Phone conversations were monitored (measure 26A).
F) A video camera the size of a pinhead was installed in the apartment (measure 26D).
G) The citizen was pushed out of his or her job (by operative games/combination).
H) The citizen was tempted into acting and reacting by operative games/combinations. The citizen should be made to carry out careless actions to incriminate or clear himself or herself of a charge. I) Police informers were assigned to the citizen (use of an IM by the officer responsible).
[Cf. the Guideline No. 1/76 for Development and Investigation of Operative Dossiers]
Should the measures produce evidence that the observed person was a citizen critical of the GDR, he or she was immediately entered in the list of persons to be isolated in crisis situations. In the Directive No. 1/67 (Secret Command Affair) tasks were laid out for an authorized preparation for setting up detention camps. In Appendix 1 of the Directive Identification Number System for the Plan for Mobilization, the following duties were stated, among others: creation of bases for isolating such persons who may pose a risk to the defence capacity of the GDR. The conveyance of such persons should be carried out by members of the MfS. Assembly sites were to be prepared and transportation into the isolation camps was to be organized.
From document GVS MfS 0005-99/86 it can be seen which persons were referred to: GDR citizens ‘who would probably pose an acute risk to state security and order during a state of emergency or who might tolerate or support such actions, because of their consolidated hostile and fundamentally negative attitude towards the socialist state and social order based on their previous appearances, their officially and unofficially known comments, their contacts and connections as well as certain ways of life or behaviour patterns.’ Not to be isolated, but to be arrested immediately (identification number 4.1.1) were such persons with a so-called hostile intention who ‘have drawn up demands for alteration of the state and social order of the GDR by propagating opinions about a ‘democratic socialism’ or ‘new models of socialism.’ (According to a statement by a representative of the GDR Attorney General’s office on August 30, 1990, to the government commission for the dissolution of the MFS, the list of people considered for isolation, as of November 30, 1983, totaled 10,919 persons.)
The basis of my OV was the assessment that I would openly propagate pseudo-revolutionary and Maoist views. These would have a ‘disintegrating’ effect on society and the Party. Perhaps for this reason this Operative Dossier was filed as a ‘toxin’ OV. In this Operative Dossier all measures of the MfS were recorded. Workplace assessments [staff dossiers] were collected in a conspiratorial manner. The earliest assessment of me was one from the 6th grade.
Furthermore, all possible assessments had been compiled, that had been ascertained from various sources (e.g. unofficial collaborators), whether in my neighbourhood, workplace, etc. Medical reports had been compiled and hobbies had been ascertained. Postal surveillance had been initiated. My whole family circle had been included in the OV.
The GDR Ministry – a Gang of Burglars
It did not take long until the first ‘conspiratorial search of my house’ was made. Such a house search was performed in an extremely careful manner. All residents of the house were ‘screened’ before the search. Files were made of each of them. The break-in was planned precisely so as ‘not to be interrupted,’ i.e. at that time no resident of the house was to be home.
Each resident was closely observed. Fictitious cadre discussions were set up, doctor visits were scheduled, etc. (Legend = deception. A special term of the StaSi jargon.) The StaSi always maintained a tight grip. The purpose of such a house search was to collect information about me. Photographs were made of the apartment, of books and letters. Newspapers and books were listed, etc. Apartment break-ins always needed the permission of the StaSi chief himself. They were carried out according to regulations of the Minister.
The Minister’s orders for the carrying out of conspiratorial measures were recorded in a big red book. The fact that such measures were against existing GDR law is significant for the GDR. On the one hand was the formal rule of law, on the other hand this law was trampled on daily. Millions of letters were opened, tens of thousands of apartments were broken-into and citizens were bugged – all these were criminal offenses under GDR law. In the mid-1970s, my apartment was bugged. Initially there were technical problems, and an announced renovation of my apartment really made the eavesdroppers sweat. Only with great difficulty did they succeed in time in removing the bugging devices for a few days. From that time on, the sound recording devices of the MfS were working. In the following period, apartment break-ins were done again and again. The MfS made master keys, and thus I had, so to speak, a ‘public’ dwelling.
The bugs themselves were permanently installed and adapted to run for a long time. Although the dossiers describe a bugging operation limited in time (about 3 months in a year), that does not prove a thing. The extent of the StaSi’s collection-mania was so great that a vast amount of files had to be stored on microfilms. However, only a part of that still exists. The removal of the bugs, however, was not mentioned in the files. But as I was kept under surveillance as a ‘hostile-negative’ person up to the end of the GDR – an IM was still assigned to me in 1988 – these devices, too, have probably been taken over as a ‘legacy’ of the GDR. At the same time, I was visually observed: the round-the-clock spying because of my ‘negative attitude’ toward the GDR can be read as follows:
‘5:10 AM – Afro (the investigation name given me by the MfS) gets up.
5:11 – Shaves, brushes teeth.
5:15 – Oase (my wife) gets up. Yawns.
5:15 – Listens to West German radio – NDR 2 [North German Radio channel 2].
5:18 – Oase does her morning toiletry.
5:29 – Afro leaves view.
5:44 – Oase leaving view.
5:45 – Silence reigns in the area. (…)’.
One observation team ‘accompanies’ me to the workplace. There I am under ‘watch’ by the IMs ‘Bernd’ and ‘Dreher’ (turner). ‘No special incidents’, is the succinct comment.
‘2:00 PM – At the main gate. Observation continues.
2:32 – Afro strolls along the street.
2:39 – Afro enters a konsum [state-owned food store]. Buys 11.47 marks worth of goods.
3:01 – Afro enters into view.
3:04 – Afro listens to Albanian music.
4:00 – West German TV is on. A programme about F.J. Strauss is on ARD [working pool of broadcasting corporations of the Federal Republic of Germany].
4:10 – Afro laughs at Strauss [Prime Minister of Bavaria].
4:13 – Afro criticizes comrade Erich Honecker [President of the GDR State Council]. (…)
10:39 – Silence reigns in the area.’
Let us spare ourselves such informers’ reports. They only give a little insight into the informer’s daily activity. By the way, the department conducting the monitoring or observation did not know the reasons for the persecution. Their motto was: you cant be too sure. I must also mention that the MfS prohibited the use of such ‘unofficial’ evidence in criminal prosecution in order to maintain the conspiracy. Only evidence that had been obtained ‘legally’ could be used in court. At least appearances had to be kept up.
Guidelines for a Gang of Criminals
The MfS knew no bounds. Every means that led to success could be used. The guidelines were the fundamentals of the informers’ system. Cynically and full of contempt for human beings, Mielke laid out the measures of disintegration. He gave instructions to ‘gain knowledge that could be used in an effective manner for offensive measures to disintegrate and compromise people.‘ Against the KPD, the measures of guideline No. 1/76 were used:
‘Classified Document, MfS No. 100/76. Mielke, Colonel General. (pp. 46-48, excerpts:)
2.6: Making Use of Measures of Disintegration
2.6.1: Aims and Range of Use of Measures of Disintegration Measures of disintegration are to be used to take advantage of and increase such contradictions or differences among hostile-negative forces as will fragment, paralyze, disorganize and isolate them so that their hostile-negative actions – including their effects – will be prevented, essentially limited or totally ended. (…) Measures of disintegration may be used against groups, groupings, and organizations as well as against individuals and may be used as a relatively independent type of termination of operative dossiers or in connection with other types of termination.
2.6.2: Effective Types of disintegration which may be used are:
– Methodically discrediting the public reputation, esteem and prestige on the basis of combining true, verifiable and discrediting facts with false but plausible, non-refutable and thus also discrediting facts.
– Methodically organizing professional and social failures in order to undermine the self-confidence of individuals.
– Purposefully undermining convictions in connection with particular ideals, models, etc. and creating doubts about the persons perspective.
– Creating distrust and mutual suspicion within groups, groupings and organizations.
– Creating or making use of and increasing rivalries within groups, groupings and organizations by purposefully making use of personal weaknesses of individual members.
– Keeping groups, groupings and organizations busy with their internal problems with the aim of limiting their hostile-negative actions.
– Preventing or limiting in place or time the mutual relations of the members of a group, grouping or organization on the basis of existing legal provisions, e.g. by tying them to workplaces, assigning them to far-away workplaces, etc. In carrying out the measures of disintegration, reliable, experienced IMs suitable for solving such problems are to be used with priority. Effective means and methods of disintegration are: (…) – Making use of anonymous or pseudonymous letters, telegrams, phone calls, etc., compromising photographs such as of actual or faked meetings.
– Calculatedly disseminating rumours about certain individuals of a group, grouping or organization. –
Targeted indiscretion or the faking of conspiracy of an MfS counter-intelligence measure.
– Summoning individuals to state departments or social organizations for plausible or implausible reasons. Such means and methods are to be used, improved and developed creatively and with nuances according to the specific conditions of the operative dossier in question. (…) The carrying out of measures of disintegration must be done consistently and strictly. For this purpose, a continuous unofficial supervision of the results and their effects is necessary. The results have to be documented precisely.’
The Destruction of the GDR Section
The investigation of the ‘enemy object’ offered the possibility of switching to a harder line and striking a harsh blow in December 1980 and especially in March 1981: in all, eight members and supporters of the GDR Section were arrested and judicial inquests were initiated against them for offences under Section 106 of the [GDR] penal code (‘subversive agitation against the state’); judicial inquests were also initiated against two other people who were not arrested. [Information of Main Department IX/2 dated November 5, 1981.]
(Text from : Roter Morgen No. 24 of December 24, 1997, No. 1 of January 21 and No. 2 of February 5, 1998).