It had gone 3 o’ clock by the time I left the Reichstag and I was keen to get to two museums in particular before the day was up: the Stasi Museum and the DDR Museum. I started with the Stasi Museum – due to close for the day at 6pm and a good 40 minutes away on the S-Bahn.
It was already dark by the time I arrived, by now snow falling heavily and starting to stick. For a minute I wasn’t sure I was in the right place… It didn’t really look like a museum. Why I thought it would I don’t know; the museum is in fact inside the former headquarters of the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (known as the Stasi).
Consider this: In the darkness, a cordoned off street with an oppressive East German feel (including all the Trabants and the Volkspolizei vehicle parked outside), plus a single security officer sitting outside the nearby bank… is not the most inviting tourist attraction.
Once inside though an extremely interesting set of things to see – how the DDR and the Stasi were formed; how did the East German state monitor its citizens; what did they do with the information; etc, etc.
The museum is split in to several sections: The Mission; The Perpetrators; The Minister’s Level; The Stasi Takes Action and The End of State Security. To get round it all you really need to allow a good couple of hours – if you only go with the intention of spending half an hour or so there, you either won’t get round it all, or you’ll lose track of time very quickly.
I particularly enjoyed the Minister’s Level, where Stasi head Erich Mielke has his office. It’s set up still in that East German style so you can see exactly where he worked and had his meetings. Interesting stuff!
You’ll see some photos below.
Bye for now…