Professor Anthony Glees’ book of a dozen years ago, The Stasi Files, chronicles the Stasi, East Germany’s secret police and espionage force. He and other scholars reviewed the Stasi’s files right after they were declassified following reunification and before their reclassification several years later in the interests of German unity. They reveal in stark detail the enormous proportions of East Germany’s police state.
In addition to its very sophisticated espionage operations around the world and its brutal repression activities at home, the Stasi also had as its mandate disguising the ruthless oppression of the East German people especially through the identification and cultivation of well-placed advocates in the West. The Soviet Union inflicted repression at least as brutal as the Stasi’s, but its secret police files have remained closed to public scrutiny, unlike the Stasi’s.