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Social ControlPhoto (detail): © picture alliance / dpa

Social Control

How much control is necessary for a society to function and how can the example of the Stasi help us understand today’s situation with policing, surveillance and big data? The Ministry for State Security of the GDR, the Stasi (1950-1990) is known as one of the most effective and repressive secret police agencies of our time. Stasi collaborators permeated GDR society and in addition to exerting psychological trauma on people under investigation, this vast network of informants collected over 111 kilometers (69 miles) of documents (written notes, photos, slides, flim and sound recording). Social control existed on the other side of the border too, with intelligence agencies in the FRG collecting data on citizens. 
 

Stasi Archives and Stasi Files Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Stasi Archives and Stasi Files

Where were the STASI files collected? What does the archive look like? Anthropologist Ulrike Neuendorf, PhD, takes us on a quick tour. 

Ulrike Neuendorf Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

The Stasi explained

What was the Stasi and how did it work? Ulrike Neuendorf PhD, introduces the Stasi.

Informing for the Stasi Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Informing for the Stasi

Why did East German citizens work for the Stasi? Did they have a choice? 

Ulrike Neuendorf Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Was escape possible?

Could anyone escape social control by the Stasi? Ulrike Neuendorf, PhD, talks about the pervasive network built by the Stasi.

From Incarceration to Freedom Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

A personal story: From Prison to Freedom

In 1987, Mario Röllig attempted to flee the GDR to Yugoslavia, but he was caught at the Hungarian border and brought back to Germany, where he landed at the infamous Stasi-prison Berlin- Hohenschönhausen. In German with English subtitles.

Jonathan Zatlin Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Protection from what?

Capitalism? The outside world? LIsten to Jonathan Zatlin, PhD, professor of history at Boston University, discuss what the Stasi was protecting East German citizen from. 
 

Diana Erinna Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Escape from the GDR

What were the challenges that Diana Erinna faced when escaping the GDR via Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Austria?

David Gill Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Fake news?

Were East Germans ever worried that their Western News were actually fake news? If so, were there any major instances where the government interfered with the Western broadcasts?

Diana Erinna Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Living Life Looking Over Your Shoulder

How does one live daily life when you know that surveillance is everywhere? Diana Erinna discusses the effects of everyday surveillance.

Jonathan Zatlin Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Police Brutality: A Comparison

Was police brutality the same? Listen to Jonathan Zatlin, PhD, discuss two incidents with police in West and East Germany. 

How did young people in the DR organze or rebell against power? Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Social Control

How did young people in the GDR organize or rebell against power? Alissa Bellotti, PhD, discusses youth rebellion.

The future of democratic participation Photo (detail): Klaus Mehner @ Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung

Experiencing surveillance

How was surveillance experienced by East German citizens? Ulrike Neuendorf, PhD, discusses the long-term implication of surveillance. 

Ulrike Neuendorf Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Stasi collaboration: After reunification

After Reunification: Ulrike Neuendorf, PhD, discusses what it meant to have worked for the Stasi.

The police state created and sustained by the Stasi in East Germany Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Stasi and present- day surveillance

To what extent does the example of the police state created and sustained by the Stasi in East Germany help us understand today situation with surveillance?

Ulrike Neuendorf Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Stasi and Today's Situation with Surveillance

Is the example of the police state Stasi comparable with today's collection of personal data? 

Andrew Port Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

All powerful state control: Possible? Necessary?

Is an all powerful state control possible and necessary? Andrew Port, PhD, discusses the limits of control. 

Ulrike Neuendorf Video still © Goethe-Institut New York

Policing Today

Recently in the US there have been calls to defund the police. At what point does policing make society less safe?

Peacefull revolution Photo (detail): Michael Richter @ dpa-Zentralbild

No Social Control?

Donald Zoffel of Mt. Lebanon HS in Pittsburgh, PA, asks General Consul in NY David Gill: Could there exist a government that protects its citizens without the need for control? If so, how would that look like?


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