"What happened to the members of the Stasi"

for civil servants in state entities closely associated with propping up the SED dictatorship such

Emblem Stasi.svg

Emblem of the Stasi

as the MfS or the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA), the attitude of the FRG was that these individuals were morally compromised by the SED. In the case of the NVA, individuals above the rank of lieutenant-colonel were not considered acceptable candidates for service in the post-1990 Bundeswehr. So for the MfS, continuing to ply their trade in German intelligence was not an option.

Some 1500 low-level MfS employees did transfer into the new federal police, especially the Federal Border Guard. Others found a home in the local civil service of the eastern federal states, especially as mid-level bureaucrats in unemployment offices. However, the majority of the former MfS employees ended up in the private- and semi-public sector. Some of these jobs were relatively prestigious, but other jobs like night-watchmen were an ignominious end for what had been a state elite. Although the federal government does pay their pensions ( a fight that the FRG lost in court), the pay level is considerably lower than the pensions they would have received in the GDR.

"The Fall of the Wall and the East German Police"

Comparisons of old and new crime rates in the new states reveals a significant rise in violent crime, fraud, and organized crime. For example, in 1990 threats of violence rose by 701.2% compared to the previous year, robbery and extortion by 218%, theft by 51.2%, to name only some of the more extreme figures. On the other hand, several crimes, such as rape and child abuse, showed a decrease. 

latent hostilities toward East Germany's African and Asian guest workers quickly exploded into racist violence.

The sudden influx of Western currency and products resulted in increased shoplifting. Residential burglary and auto theft also rose (the East German Trabant and Wartburg cars had not been as attractive to thieves as the Western cars now owned by growing numbers of East Germans). Bank robberies increased following monetary union by as much as 87 percent (Skoda 1991: 44)

number of deaths from traffic accidents climbed from 1,784 in 1989 to 3,330 in 1990

The government they had served had forfeited its legitimacy; in the eyes of the population the police, as representatives of that government, no longer possessed any authority. Police behavior over forty years, and particularly in the recent past, was everywhere condemned; officers very much felt their unpopularity and literally feared to enforce the law

Contrary to the general impression outside of Germany that the fall of the Wall meant instant freedom and democracy, few overnight alterations occured anywhere in East German society. Many of the old top police officials, like their political counterparts, remained in power, including those responsible for the police misbehavior on October 7 and 8; few investigations actually resulted in prosecution (Baum 1991). One reason 17for this was that the investigations remained in the hands of the same government prosecuters who had served under the old regime; another was stalling tactics by the police bureaucracy itself ("Das Ende," Bürgerrecht & Polizei 1991: 7-8). 

Cooperation between the East and West German police began soon after the fall of the Wall. In Berlin, the chiefs of police of the two cities were connected by a direct telephone line (tageszeitung, December 21, 1989). East German police sought the advice of their Western counterparts in dealing with the various crime areas with which they had little experience. West German police held seminars in West Germany for their East German colleagues (Kampmann & Wildt 1990; tageszeitung, May 22, 1990). The police also cooperated concretely, if informally, in solving cross-border crimes (Fuchs, Kriminalistik 1990: 119-21).

The interim period following the fall of the Wall was short-lived, ending with unification on October 3, 1990. Unlike other East-Central European countries, East Germany was generally not in a position to restructure its society, including its police force, to suit its own needs. Instead, for better or worse, West German structures and laws were essentially superimposed onto the East. This was most obvious in Berlin, where the East Berlin police were completely absorbed by the West Berlin force. However, the situation changed throughout East Germany, as control of the police was decentralized and passed over to the states.

Following unification, East German police were required to fill out long, probing questionnaires concerning their political and professional history before being accepted conditionally onto the "new" police force. Those accepted 19 only slowly received the status of civil servants; their pay remained low compared with the past and with their Western colleagues. Further, their training in the East was generally not recognized, meaning that those who had held higher rank were forced to move farther down the career ladder. In any case, the force would not take on all of the East German police who wished to keep their jobs. Older 20 officers had little chance of retaining their positions, and none at all of reaching the rank many held in the East (von Bebenburg, Frankfurter Rundschau, October 30, 1990.) - Some East German police and Stasi were absorbed into West German government.

To gain control of the situation, the five new eastern German states created the so-called "joint state criminal office," (Gemeinsames Landeskriminalamt or GKLA), a central criminal investigating authority, to coordinate crimefighting until the states could create their own criminal investigation departments (Ackermann 113-19). Yet here, too, the police could not escape its past; the GKLA, an entirely eastern German institution, was accused of employing numerous former Stasi officers ("Spüren in der Mülltüte," Der Spiegel 1990: 108-13). As the states built up their own criminal investigation departments with the help of western partner states, and often with Western criminal justice officials at their heads, the GKLA was slowly eliminated (Diederichs, Bürgerrecht & Polizei 1991: 31-33)

in November 1990, following unification, the West Berlin government decided to use its extended police power over the eastern part of the city to force the squatters out; in the end, several thousand police from West Germany were called in to clear a few hundred squatters. Militant squatters resisted with molotov cocktails and rocks, and the violent confrontation captured headlines throughout the country (Dokumentation zur Mainzer Strasse, 12-14 November 1990; CILIP 37, 3/1990).

East Germany 24 had a right-wing "skinhead" subculture even before the fall of the Wall; after it fell, West German neo-Nazi groups began to organize in the East, finding fertile ground among disoriented, often unemployed East German youngsters whose entire world had collapsed around them with the changes in the country. While Berlin has also experienced an increase in such neo-Nazi activity, the problem initially was most serious in southern cities such as Leipzig and Dresden; blacks and foreigners feared to venture out on the streets at night, and cafJs and other projects considered "left-wing" were constant targets. In autumn 1991, repeated attacks on housing complexes where foreigners lived, peaking in the Saxon city of Hoyerswerda, made headlines; later violence 25 began to concentrate in the northern states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Brandenburg.

There were also reports of police sympathy with right-wing attacks, particularly upon foreigners (Der Spiegel, May 27, 1991: 85; Siegler, die tageszeitung, June 28, 1991: 5), though this is more commonly mentioned in connection with the western German police.

this often involuntary process of westernization--viewed by so many eastern Germans as a sort of colonization

"East Germany's Stasti a Quarter of Century After It Was Dissolved"

the Stasi expected some kind of deal that would have prolonged the life of the East German state with West German cash. It was not an entirely unrealistic expectation. The West German government had paid for all sorts of things in the past, including the exit of East Germans and the dismantling of the automated tripwire at the Wall.

“I talked to a lot of the Stasi people, and they said that they were told during the period of upheaval, ‘Stay in your barracks, don’t do anything. The Wall’s open, we’re going to cut a deal, and everything will be okay,’” David Crawford told me. “If these people had been told, ‘Stay in your barracks, we’re going to have reunification, and when it’s over you’re going to get 800 DM a month as a pension, and you’re going to be unemployed, and you’re going to be a pariah to society, and you’re not going to be able to work in the public service,’ there might have been a lot of public resistance. 

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