Extracts from an interview with Anna Funder in The Independent:
'The creeps and bullies aside, many of the Stasi agents come across as disturbingly normal folk. With their sound career records, plenty of lower-level Stasi operatives did well in the reunited Germany. It's no surprise that they flourished in sectors such as marketing and insurance, which can involve a measure of deception or disguise. And, yes, some of them did become estate agents.
"I'm in contact with Miriam," Funder says. "She works in a public organisation that also employs former Stasi informers as her bosses. So they know her history as, effectively, a political prisoner, and she knows that they were informers. These people are still living and working cheek by jowl, without much resolution."
Sigrid Paul's heart-wrenching story features in this fascinating film about Stasiland and the prison at Hohenschönhausen.
This map shows the location of the apartment where the tunnel began, at the crossroads with Bernauer Strasse. It was at 48 Bernauer Strasse that, on 22 August 1961, Ida Siekmann leapt from her third floor apartment window in an attempt to flee the East. She died from her injuries, one day before her 59th birthday and her life became the first to be claimed by the Wall.
Footage of such escapes can be seen in this short film, at 35 seconds in.
Karl Wilhelm Fricke was a journalist and writer, whose works on the resistance in the GDR lead to his arrest, 15 month interrogation at Hohenschönhausen, and four year prison sentence served in solitary confinement. Today his books are highly thought of and are standard texts in the study of the subject. Fricke is now chairman of the advisory board of Hohenschönhausen and the advisory board dealing with the Social Foundation for the Study of the SED dictatorship.
The film in the Bookmark for page 205 shows Frau Paul's tour of Hohenschönhausen prison in great detail. This visitor's film really captures the atmosphere of this dark, sinister place.