Sunday, June 5, 2016

Holiday in Berlin - A visit to the Stasi, and other things - Open Post

Tonight we have a beautiful warm evening in Berlin

By Patrick

I know that you have all waited quite a long time again for new post, so I apologize, but Kathleen and I are pretty busy these days, and right now, we are spending a few days in Berlin. This is a city full of history, and of course I would like like to share some historical lessons, because we are here to educate ourselves, aren't we!

Berlin is unique in the way that it has seen several dictatorships in its relatively short life as a capital, and this time I wanted to grant me a wish and visit the "Stasi-Museum", where I have never been before. However, this is not just a normal "museum", but also a display of the original Stasi headquarter, the house where the reviled Stasi-Minister Erich Mielke, the most sinister man of the "German Democratic Republic", worked for several decades. So you are not just visiting a museum, but also the preserved "heart" of the communist dictatorship which existed in East-Germany until 1989.

The Stasi ("Ministry for State Security") was one of the largest instruments of oppression that was ever created in human history - please see the Wikipedia-page for more details.  It was a "state within the state", and its members enjoyed many privileges.

In a country with only 17 million citizens, several hundreds of thousands of people worked for the Stasi at the same time, officially and unofficially. It was a huge and thoroughly evil bureaucratic machine which relentlessly persecuted virtually every citizen who displayed smaller or larger signs of of dissent or discontent.

From the outside, this building within the massive, super-secret former Stasi "district" in East Berlin does not look like much (click on photos to enlarge)...

...but from the rather "grand" entrance hall we already get the impression that something bigger was going on here:

In fact, this was the headquarter of Stalin's huge fan Erich Mielke...

...who was the head of State Security in the GDR from 1957 onwards, until he was finally toppled only much, much later, in 1989.

He was probably the most hated man in Germany in the 20th century after Adolf Hitler, however, in contrast to the "Führer", Erich Mielke's office has been preserved in its original state:

Including Erich Mielke's private rooms for work and relaxation, which were next door:

So what else was there...? Well, quite a number of other rooms of former staff members, and lots of information and exhibits about the history of the Stasi. The following sleection should give you an idea:

Donald Trump could have written that - but this is from a speech by Erich Mielke:

Lots of various gifts to the leaders of the Stasi:

Lots of information about the comprehensive Stasi-surveillance (they also opened every letter and parcel from East and West and vice versa):

Possible troublemakers were carefully photographed:

"Odour samples" of enemies - Mielke's world, nothing was impossible:

Some of top members ("officers") of the Stasi:

"This should be your way to us" - teenagers were asked to voice their interest already in 7th grade, in order to join the secret ranks and to be an obedient servant without a conscience, while living privileged life:

On display were some examples of the (customary) handwritten statements of ordinary citizens, declaring that from now on they were willing to work for the Stasi as secret informants ("unofficial collaborateurs"):

There was much, much more, but we just don't have enough space.

Finally, something funny. The women's toilet in the casino was removed - due to lack of women in the leading ranks of the Stasi:

There is so much more to see in much more history as well.

In the evening, we walked past the Holocaust memorial near the Brandenburg Gate, a reminder of the "other" former dictatorship:

The new US embassay, just next to Brandenburg Gate, and then the most famous German symbol itself:

So what else happened?

Oh yes, Donald Trump still wants to become the dictator of the world.

He also wants to build a yuuuuge wall which apparently closely resembles the former East-German border to West-Germany. This old German wall was guarded by....well, take a guess....of course, the Stasi!

However, Erich Mielke lost, and so will Donald Trump, because finally such walls will be torn down for good.


On Thursday, Hillary Clinton gave a terrific speech and totally destroyed Donald Trump:

May "Don the Con" go down with Erich Mielke's famous "last words":

"But I love you all!"

That would be epic indeed!



I almost forgot - Kathleen and I went to a great concert in Berlin on Friday and saw the amazing English band "Muse" - together with about 15.000 other people! We had dreamt about seeing Muse live for a long time, and it was a truly terriffic show!

In their most famous song, they ask:

"How can we win, when fools can be King"

Easy! We just kick their fat butts!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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