Inside Views of the GDR State Security

Author & Director:
Daniel Ast | Juergen Ast | Hans-Hermann Hertle

Commissioning Editors:
Rolf Bergmann | Jens Stubenrauch | Mathias Werth | Joerg Seibold


Daniel Ast

astfilm pictures UG | RBB | WDR | DW // ARD | funded with means of the Federal Foundation for the reappraise of the SED-Dictatorship

The building of the Wall - a stroke of luck for Erich Mielke and his State Security. The Wall - their guarantee of power, their elixir of life. From August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989, tens of thousands of Stasi people under the leadership of their notorious boss Erich Mielke had only one goal: to make the Wall untouchable, insuperable and unassailable for its own people.

From the perspective of the Mielke empire, the film tells the story of an existential-symbiotic relationship that is illuminated for the first time in such an exemplary and coherent way. From what is probably the most sensitive chapter, the deaths at the Wall and the cover-up and concealment of these murders wherever possible, from the arrests and imprisonment of thousands of refugees to lesser-known chapters such as the Stasi's elaborate measures against the tunnel diggers or from the "filtration" of Western entry traffic at the border crossings to recruit unofficial collaborators. Everywhere, Mielke's specialists, and often he himself, had a hand in it. Mielke's power grew as the Wall and the border system were perfected. Throughout the country, Stasi employees and informers followed up on even the smallest hint of possible escapes.

For Mielke and the Stasi, the walling-in of the population created ever new fields of activity - and new enemies: the "Republic fugitive," the "border violator," the Western "escape helper," the "criminal human trafficking gangs," and later the "person willing to leave the country." With his own people in his sights, Stasi chief Erich Mielke saw these "incorrigibles" as dangerous "festering sores" that had to be watched, "pushed back," "destroyed," arrested and, in extreme cases, "eliminated" with every means and possibility at his disposal. The Stasi made itself indispensable in securing what GDR propaganda called the "anti-fascist protective wall." The Wall became its foundation, its main field of activity, its daily bread.

While the GDR owed its continued existence to the construction of the Wall and Mielke's empire owed its heyday to the "anti-fascist protective wall," the fall of the Wall brought both down in one fell swoop without a sound. The irony of history - on November 9, 1989, a Stasi man opened the barrier on Bornholmer Strasse and with it the Berlin Wall.