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February 2005

The Discreet Charm of Communist Spies

One of the most fascinating sights in Berlin is mentioned only in passing in most tourbooks. It's the former headquarters of the Ministerium für Staatsicherheit (Ministry for State Security), the former East German secret police. Called "Stasi" in German, the ministry employed almost 100,000 people to care for the security of the State, which also meant monitoring the population, using techniques that Orwell could only have dreamed of.  Including body-odor samples...

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