Stasi’s New Incarnation
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Stasi was East Germany’s secret police. It suppressed opposition to Stalinist power. It was one of the most repressive state apparatuses in modern times.
When East Germany collapsed in 1989, Stasi had over 90,000 full-time employees. Another 300,000 were paid informants. They spied on East German citizens. Thousands of West German collaborators did so on theirs.
Stasi infiltrated NATO headquarters. Legendary spymaster Markus (Mischa) Wolf ran things. He did so for 34 years. He had Jewish roots. In the early 1930s, his family fled Germany. It did so to escape nazi persecution.
Wolf was educated at Moscow’s Comintern Academy. He worked as a journalist. He observed Nuremberg trial proceedings. Post-WW II, he returned to Germany. He was part of a communist Berlin delegation.
He showed leadership qualities. He rose rapidly in the ranks. Stalinists trusted him. In 1953, he was among others in charge of foreign intelligence.
He and Erich Mielke ran East Germany’s Ministry of State Security (Stasi). It was justifiably feared. Historian John Koehler called it “an instrument for the ruthless oppression of East Germany’s population as well as one of the world’s most effective intelligence services.”
Wolf became known as “the man without a face.” For years, Western intelligence agencies had no photos. He was lucky. In November 2006, he died peacefully in his sleep.
Mielke was convicted of murder in absentia. After reunification, he was arrested. In 1993, he was convicted. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment. After less than two, he was paroled.