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 Remembering the evil of East Germany

13.08.19 It is likely that there are few Australians over forty who don’t remember the joy the western world felt when the Berlin Wall came down. We watched it happen on TV; it was of the great seminal moments in the twentieth century. We wondered what Russia would do; would they send troops in to East Germany? Was Mikhail Gorbachev seriously going to let it happen? Would he do what he was asked by US President Ronald Reagan in those famous words “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall?” He did, and the rest is history, and Berlin is fully united. By the way, it does seem that Mr Gorbachev is still alive in Moscow. Erich Reimer discusses what it was like before the Wall fell, just to remind us how bad life can be under the left.
Thirty years ago this year the Berlin Wall fell. On the night of November 9, 1989, countless Citizens of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), also known as “East Germany,” fled across its borders to the first taste of a free society many had ever known.
The GDR featured all the typical vestiges of a Marxist-Leninist regime, whether in the Eastern Bloc or otherwise. But outside of the economic shortages , depressed culture, and lack of personal freedoms in career, faith, travel, or expression , stood a dark and unique shadow – the State Security Service, or “Stasi.”
The society those East Berliners fled that night 30 years ago was an Orwellian nightmare the world had never before seen or known. It was a true “surveillance state,” where each and every little aspect of every person’s life – public or private – was monitored, recorded, and analyzed for acceptability to the state.
The statistics alone are unsettling. At the end of its reign in 1989 of a country of just over 16 million over a Stasi force of over 91,000 oversaw an informant network that comprised in some way a third of the nation, with a similar amount with comprehensive files on them.
The Stasi Museum in Berlin stands as a modern testament to the crimes of the GDR. Once the headquarters itself of the Stasi when it was East Berlin, the museum features all the leftover tools and guides of the feared agency.
I had the chance to visit the museum myself a bit of time ago. I was unprepared for the true horror of what I found, as the incredible depths and techniques of privacy invasion, monitoring, and quelling dissent from the 1950s to the end of the regime cannot but shock the human spirit.
Correspondence was regularly torn apart and read, scrubbed, edited, or destroyed. Highly advanced audio bugs were dropped in the most innocuous of places, including inside private dwellings, to keep tabs on persons. Particularly devious was the “Zersetzung,” a truly draconian action across multiple fronts that was meant to degrade the spirit and will of a person.
Those unlucky enough to find themselves arrested by the Stasi would be moved to prisons where psychological and physical torture was taken to the exponential extreme .
While the Stasi tormented the East German population its activities were not limited unfortunately to those under its jurisdiction. It also was a feared international spy and operations agency, wreaking havoc across continents,training terrorists, guerillas, and the secret police of other repressive regimes, and fueling what it believed to be the world march towards Communism.
Even as its puppet master, the Soviet Union, began experimenting with degrees of liberty in the late 1980s the GDR drove forward in keeping its society locked and its people under its boot.
Yet eventually all came crashing down. 1989 saw Eastern Bloc nations begin collapsing as their people took the streets in the name of human liberty and freedom. East Germany held on tight, locking its people further in its diminishing Leninist sphere. As protesters swelled and swelled and wouldn’t go home, it simply overflowed – and the East German government capitulated. Perhaps even they didn’t truly believe, whether ever or anymore, in the Leninist dream of oppressing and torturing their fellow man either.
The society those East German Citizens joined was one modeled after the American values that have lifted up the human condition for so many countless millions across the world – and indeed built up in large part by Americans through the Marshall Plan, economic aid packages, and the U.S. military personnel, estimated at over 10 million between 1950 and 2003, that had been stationed there to protect it. West Germany, soon to officially absorb East Germany, was a society of personal, economic, and religious freedom, and of prosperity , peace, human rights, and justice.
East Germany soon crumbled, dying a death that saw little mourning. Even the dreaded Stasi, over its half-century of living out the deepest nightmares of Orwell’s mind, finally met its end as the people of East Germany invaded its headquarters in January 1990 and erased the agency from the history of man.
The evils of East Germany live on as a footnote in history, a reminder of the depths of depravity in a small corner of the world, much as North Korea is today. The people who were subject to this terror still have not recovered in total, as East Germany remains itself deeply broken after the economic, cultural, moral, and spiritual devastation it went through even so long ago.
Freedom should always be cherished with as deep a sense of awe, reverence, wonder, and joy as those East Germans experienced as they crossed that dreadful wall for the first time three decades ago. It is earned all too hard and lost too easily.
{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Pensioner Pete 13/08/2019, 5:58 am

    Yet, we do not learn from this.

    One only needs to consider the ongoing creep of loss of privacy, loss of freedom of speech and loss of rights, happening right here, right now, in Australia.

    • luk1955 13/08/2019, 7:18 am

      That’s right PP. And why you never hear about East Germany in the msm now. The msm are supportive of the same government that EG had. And so are many of our bureaucraps. Their actions support this. Those EGs now must be wondering what lunacy is occurring in what was West Germany now. The young people do not see this stasi state rapidly becoming the norm here now. And the thought of the young people at having to make their own decisions must be frightening to them and that is why they embrace the left wingers totalitarian dreams. Reminds me of the Tom T. Hall song “Hang them all”.

    • Jack Richards 13/08/2019, 9:54 am

      We have our own Stasi (the love child of the NKVD/KGB and the SS/Gestapo) in the “Human Rights Commission” led by Gillian Triggs and Tim Soupspoon.

      Remember how Triggs lamented that she couldn’t police conversations around the dinner table? If that horrible, nasty old crone had had her way there’d have been watching/listening devices installed in everyone’s houses all connected to a super computer that would listen for “unclean” words and phrases.

      It’s clear from what Di Natale and his Greens have advocated that they’d have no problems establishing “re-education” (Gulags/Concentration) camps for anyone who refused to drink their Kool Aid including the silencing of any dissent in the media and the internal exiling of anyone deemed, by them, as “politically incorrect”.

      Most people don’t realise just how rare and abnormal in human history is democracy and personal/individual freedom. Most of human history is the story of absolute monarchy and rule by an unelected elite and of totalitarian regimes. Most of the world is still governed that way.

      Apart from the Anglophone countries and some west European countries, democracy does not exist in this world. Even countries we normally think of as “western” and as democracies like Japan, Taiwan, Singapore are “guided democracies” and, effectively, one-party states. They’re much freer than the Chinese or Vietnamese but only in the economic sense. They have a very different weltanschaaung to ours in Australia, NZ, Canada, USA and Great Britain where we value personal liberty and freedom they value the “collective good” above the individual.

      I fear that all these organisations, like Triggs’ Star Chamber and various state-based copies, have far too much power and are very eager to have more.

      The model of the DDR really is something we could end up with in 50 years time; that is, the state’s total control over every aspect of every person’s life. It’s already happening in China and the technology to do it will become ever more effective and cheap. It seems to me that we are heading in to a new dark age where compulsive sticky-beaks and “do-gooders” will be watching for, and punishing, any word, deed or thought they consider “impure”.

      But there is a glimmer of hope. What’s happening in Hong Kong isn’t really about the extradition law but is about the omnipotent state stripping every last freedom from the people. The Hong Kongers know just how oppressive is Xi’s communist paradise of the Peoples Republic of China and they don’t want it.

      • Ex ADF 13/08/2019, 2:52 pm

        True Jack, but watch when China does send in its army to sort out HK, the world will ” regret, condemn, abhor” etc etc, but nothing will be done. China is only holding back because of the economic importance of HK.

      • Paul 13/08/2019, 8:31 pm

        I don’t think Beijing will send in their army. Tienanmen 2.0 is the last thing they want; it would be a political disaster for them.

  • luk1955 13/08/2019, 7:23 am

    It was the downfall of the SU and EG that panicked governments all over the world. Suddenly government had less relevance to people now that the red menace had been removed. So the governments all got together in Rio de Janiero the following year and concocted the global warming scam to keep the people’s attention focused on governments. And like their commie buddies in the SU, the climatologists and greenies are using the same ideology and methods to enforce their one world dictatorship on all the world, and eliminate the progress which has been achieved by mostly the middle and lower classes of people to take the hard edge off living and achieve some comfort in their lives.

  • nev 13/08/2019, 10:40 am

    The BDA…bureaucratic dictatorship of Australia. Belatedly perhaps, but finally some are taking notice!

    …Media chiefs lash our ‘state of secrecy’
    Media chiefs including News Corp Australasia’s executive chairman warn Australians are at risk of losing democratic freedoms.
    ‘Authoritarian? Ridiculous’

    …Alan Tudge defended Australia’s democracy after claims Australia had become “authoritarian”.

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