AN EPIC BERLIN TRIP

Report: the lowdown of some important Berlin museums

By voyage reporter Jenny

The Stasi museum in Berlin

Whilst in Berlin, we travelled to Normannenstraße for a tour round the Stasi museum, one of the most visited political museums, and the building starred in the film Das Leben der Anderen (Lives of others). In the lobby, we even got to see the prison van from the film, often disguised as a fishmongers van to discreetly take victims away. On the first floor, we stood and learnt about the layout of the office buildings and what was done where from a small scale model. Until 1989, the whole building complex was highly secret, but today the full access to the public is of significant importance, especially to the East Berlin citizens.

Stasi technology

We then got to see some preserved artefacts of which the Stasi members had received themselves, in most cases for excelling in their specific field, or getting a good lead on a case. The most interesting part was seeing the operative technology the Stasi members used to spy on the East Berliners, and the different techniques they used to do so. Things like a camera hidden in a watering can, microphones and infrared technology installed into the door of a car, or even decoy spying material. For example, the members used to put up bird boxes around certain areas with obvious cameras in, to scare people away from talking in public, and to make them talk in their own homes which were bugged. Erich Mielke was the last residing head of the Stasi itself, and all of the middle floor, where his office, the canteen and the conference room are, is kept in its original state and exhibited to visitors. Unfortunately we didn’t get to look at any of the files and notes which were kept on the East Berliners, which I think would have been extremely interesting.

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