“This society, it was built on lies…” Why does Funder find it so difficult to uncover the truth? In writing Stasiland, Funder is intent on finding out the truth of the East German regime. She interviews various people that either worked for the Stasi, or had a run in with them, in order to discover the facts about what really happened during the time of the GDR. Uncovering the truth becomes difficult for Funder, as she realizes that the entire operation was built on “lie after lie after lie.” The Stasi went to extreme lengths to cover up what was really happening to the people in their custody. The story of Miriam Weber includes different examples of the Stasi either lying about their actions or keeping them concealed. After Miriam attempted to climb over the Berlin Wall, she was interrogated and deprived of sleep until she told the interrogator a story about a fake underground escape organisation that told her how to get over the Wall.
The Stasi could have then charged her for Deception of the Ministry, but they didn’t, in order to hide the fact that they wouldn’t let Miriam sleep, which was classed as torture. Another possible lie that the Stasi kept was the death of Miriam’s husband, Charlie. Charlie dies in Stasi custody and according to them he had taken his own life, but the Stasi could not tell her how he had hung himself. It was clear that the Stasi even ran the funeral agency, as they insisted that there would be no laying out of the body and that it will have to be cremated, as if to cover up and destroy the evidence of how Charlie really died. The Stasi went to a substantial amount of trouble to hide the truth. Funder finds it extremely difficult to uncover the truth.
She hears the numerous stories of different characters, but some these characters don’t really know what the truth is, and others may be too scared to let the truth out. The victims of the Stasi don’t know how extensive the investigations into their own lives were, and the only way for them to find out is to read their own file, which has been destroyed. The people who were members of the Stasi seem to explain to Funder about what really happened behind the closed doors of the GDR, but they don’t reveal any truths that are not already known. They don’t want to expose who they are, or their secrets of how horribly intrusive and malicious they were, because they are scared of their victims getting revenge on them. This becomes clear when Funder goes to interview von-Schnitzler, to find that he has his wife’s maiden name on his door, rather than his own name.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 22 September 2016
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