Undoubtedly our lack of navigational skills were to blame, that winter day in 2003 when we tried to think the Stasimuseum. When we walked down Frankfurter Allee and took a right turn. It ought to be somewhere here? Yes, the offices of Deutsche Bahn couldn’t be missed. But when we returned to the same spot after 45 minutes of being lost, it proved we had to go under the tall building.
Towards a smaller administrative buildng, that formed the heart of the former GDR. The distrusting heart, because these were the headquarters of the much-feared Stasi, the secret service. This is where Erich Mielke reigned his own kingdom. And almost everything is still exactly how it was back then.
Nowadays it’s difficult to imagine that the brown furniture was luxurious in those days, and the cards and recording devices were state-of-the-art. During our first visit they were still playing a VHS video cassette to visitors.
Nowadays you laugh about it, but back then every GDR citizen was scared to death for the Stasi. A trip to the Normannenstrasse, where the headquarters are located, often equalled torturous interrogations. Because you were betrayed, for example by your neighbors or your teammates.
That spying system was devised and executed from the Normannenstrasse. At that address the old Stasi archive is also still located, where thousands of former GDR citizens come to see what information the secret service had collected on them. If you visit on a snowy winter day, you might feel how such a trip felt back in the eighties.