This paper discusses how East German citizens felt about the East German Secret Police (Stasi). It focuses on German sentiment and everyday life during East German rule, rather than how Germans retrospectively reacted once the Berlin Wall fell and the true extent of Stasi surveillance had been discovered. It also attempts to disaggregate different demographics of East German society – artists, doctors, the clergy, etc. – and posits that there was no universal ‘East German experience’ of the Stasi. It further explores equally wide range of reasons why an East German citizen might become an ‘inoffizielle mitarbeiter’ – an informer – for the notorious secret police.

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