"second man in the Abteilung"
by cm
Stasi HQ in Leipzig
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStasi HQ in Leipzig - Credit: Appaloosa, Wikimedia

Just as Britain's SIS becomes "the Circus" in John le Carré's fictional world, so the GDR's Ministry for State Security, or Stasi, becomes "the Abteilung" (the German word simply means "department").

Anna Funder's book Stasiland is a journalistic examination of the infamous instrument of state repression and counter-intelligence.

Stasiland on Book Drum

The Lives of Others presents a superb cinematic portrayal of the Stasi's spying on its own citizens.