The Ministry for State Security or the Stasi, the GDR’s Secret Police is something that is always mentioned in any material about that time. I know about it from what I’ve seen and heard in a general sense, but thanks to a tour in the Stasi Archives and Museum with organised by the “Unknown Berlin” Group leaders in the Willkommen in Berlin I got a unique insight into the world of the very clandestine organisation and the way it operated.
The complex system of archiving, which have multiple layers of information which you need to get to the bottom of, before you can access specific information is mind-boggling but was well explained to us by our guide who spoke English and Deutsch.
A lot of the files were also destroyed as reign of the Stasi came to an end.
The Archives are still being sorted through. There are still 1.5 Kilometers worth of files that are still yet to be organised.
This is the Stasi Museum where you can view the office of Erich Mielke, the head of the Stasi.
This has to be the oldest TV I have ever seen.
We still have a telephone like this in our provincial home in the Philippines.
Freedom of Information vs Privacy
It’s crazy to imagine or think about how the Stasi operated and kept information secret even from within the organization. Now the Museum and Archivs are run by people who are going through the information and making it available for those who want to know how the Stasi affected the course of their lives in East Berlin, while at the same time protecting the privacy of the victims of the Stasi. If you were in East Berlin or have family there at that time, you can request for the information, however you may have to wait for up to 2 years for the files to be retrieved and read by the legal time. Names of victims are carefully redacted to protect their privacy. For older/sick people and other special circumstances, they can also expedite the process.
You can visit the museum any time without a tour guide with a small fee. To understand and appreciate better what they are doing, I highly recommend a guided tour. The fee per person is the same but you have to go in a group. For anyone who is interested in history this is a must-do in Berlin. I learned so much interesting information during our tour and the guides answered all our questions which expert knowledge.
There are monthly tours for the public, however it is in Deutsch. You can arrange for private tours in English and other languages in groups of at least 10 people.
Open Mo – Fr: 10 am – 6 pm, weekends/holidays: 12 pm – 6 pm see admission price
Stasi-Museum Berlin Ruschestraße 103, Haus 1, 10365 Berlin, Germany see map
Phone: +49 (0)30 – 553 68 54 • Fax: +49 (0)30 – 553 68 53
The nearest U-bahn station is U5 Magdalenenstraße. Exit towards Ruschestraße how to get there