In this context, the use of the term Faustian places the Stasi in the role of the devil, manipulating the prisoner into unthinkable deals, in an attempt to quench their insatiable thirst for knowledge. This illustration by Harry Clarke was made for Goethe's famous interpretation of the Faust story; in the top left corner is the devil, represented by the demon Mephistopheles.
For a source regarding this chilling fact, Funder cites Alexandra Richie's Faust's Metropolis: A History of Berlin, Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc, New York, 1998, p.877
Korn is a spirit made from wheat, rye or barley. Herr Bohnsack orders it with a wheat beer; this popular combination is known as Herrengedeck (gentlemen's cover). Cheap and strong, Korn has a dubious reputation in Germany, but recent attempts to revive its image have seen weaker, fruit flavoured versions on the market.
In this article, Natasha Vuckovic extols the virtues of these spirits, neglected outside their countries of origin.
The Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA) was the main directorate of intelligence, a replica of the Russian KGB, which merged with the Stasi in 1953.
Markus Wolf was made chief of secret intelligence in 1951; a Communist and fluent Russian speaker, he had spent time as a refugee in the Soviet Union and retained strong relationships with the country. It was while working as a radio journalist in Moscow, that he met Walter Ulbricht who would go on to be instrumental in the early years of the German Democratic Republic. Markus Wolf died in 2006. In Stasiland, Herr Bohnsack describes Markus Wolf as a "tall slim elegant intellectual", and he was apparently the model for Karla in John le Carré's trilogy.
Spymaster: The Real-Life Karla, his Moles and the East German Secret Police is a probing biography by Leslie Colitt which poses questions about why Wolf slipped through the net, and never spent even a single night in jail.
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 began as a student demonstration against the Stalinist government. It attracted thousands more as the march proceeded through Budapest to the Parliament building. A delegation entered the state radio station, hoping to broadcast their demands. When the demonstrators outside demanded their release, the State Security Police (ÁVH) opened fire into the crowds, sparking violence and disorder across the city.
foutu translates as damned, ruined, finished, history...
When Anna Funder returns to Berlin in 2000, she realises she has never been there in springtime before and is delighted to be greeted with sunshine and foliage. In fact, around one third of the city is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.
Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (1797–1856) was a journalist, essayist, literary critic, and one of the most significant German romantic poets. He is remembered chiefly for selections of his lyric poetry, many of which were set to music in the form of lieder by German composers. Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe is the composer's best known song-cycle. The texts for the songs come from Heine's Das Buch der Lieder.
Ian Bostridge sings Im Wunderschönen Monat Mai; appropriate for a spring day in Berlin. The words translate as:
In beautiful May, when the buds sprang, love sprang up in my heart /
In beautiful May, when the birds all sang, I told you my suffering and longing.
Heine, Lyrical Intermezzo no 1