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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fashion Advice from a 1980s East German Stasi disguise seminar

The pictures below are from official papers examined by author Simon Menner in the course of research for his book, Top Secret: Images from the Stasi Archivesand are now housed at the Stasi Archives. Documents included a dress code for undercover agents, since they were supposed to blend in and look like everybody else. From the book's synopsis at Amazon:
Almost 300,000 people worked for the STASI (wiki), the East German secret police--per capita, far more than are or were employed by agencies such as the CIA or the Soviet Union's KGB. Once top secret, and now preposterous, these images are both comical and sinister.
Flashbak has more numbers:
In 1989, 91,015 comrades worked directly for the Stasi (short for Staatssicherheitsdienst, or State Security Service), East Germany’s not-so-secret secret police (1950-1990). That’s from a population – and let’s be precise here – of 16,586,490. To keep the people watched at all times, the Stasi employed a further 173,081 part-time informants. In East Germany it was reasonable to assume you were being watched, your movements held on file.

At its apogee, the Stasi had a staff three times that of the Gestapo. “They offered incentives, made it clear people should cooperate, recruited informal helpers to infiltrate the entire society,” says Konrad Jarausch, of University of North Carolina. “They beat people up less often, sure, but they psychologically trampled people.”

Mustache-application lessons

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