Images from the Archives of the Stasi
The book Top Secret – Images from the Archives of the Stasi is another example of contemporary fascination over primal, non-artistic photographic production – fascination with »natural« and »genuine« photography. The photographs in the book are the outcome of Simon Menner’s research of the East German secret police (Stasi). Due to the significance of the Stasi in East-Germany (91.000 employees at its peak; every fifth citizen of Eastern Germany was in one or other way it’s agent; six out of 17 million of citizens had their files in the Stasi archives) the archives are exceptional. What also makes the Stasi archive exceptional – when compared to the archives of other intelligence agencies – is the very fact that it is accessible. In the preface to the book, the author notes that one cannot imagine a book with CIA, KGB or even Western-German intelligence services agents’ faces to be published. However citizens of Berlin occupied the Stasi headquarters in January 1990 in order to stop the destruction of the archives, which were open to public since 1992.
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