KIDNAPPINGS OF WEST BERLINERS AND WEST GERMANS BY THE STASI OF EAST GERMANY

The German publishing house Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht in early 2015 published a detailed study on how East German State Security (Stasi) kidnapped around 400 people during the Cold War. (Susanne Muhle, Auftrag: Menschenraub (Mission: Abduction) Entführungen von Westberlinern und Bundesbürgern durch das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit der DDR (Kidnappings of West Berliners and West Germans by the Ministry of State Security (Stasi) of the GDR), 678 pages.

This study represents the first scientific study of the kidnappings of West Germans and West Berliners by the East German Stasi authorities. It also analyzes the methods and function of this practice.

To this very day it is little known that the East German Stasi authorities abducted some 400 people from West Berlin and West Germany in the 1950s and 1960s. Many returned home only after months, sometimes years, and some disappeared without a trace. The methods of the Stasi ranged from perfidious deceptions to street attacks. This study employs the extensive archival materials to illuminate this relatively unknown chapter in the relations between the two German states. It thus contributes to research on the history of Communist political violence and its perpetrators.

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