Simon Menner. Top Secret

Images from the Archives of the Stasi

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Simon Menner. Top Secret
Images from the Archives of the Stasi

Texts by Simon Menner, graphic design by Simon Menner

German, English

2013. 128 pp., 166 ills.

20.30 x 25.20 cm
softcover

ISBN 978-3-7757-3620-6

First publication of pictures from the archives of the Stasi, the East German secret police

Almost 300,000 people worked for the East German secret police, per capita far more than were employed by agencies such as the CIA or the KGB. Not quite fifty years after the Berlin Wall was built, Simon Menner (*1978 in Emmendingen) discovered spectacular photographs in the Stasi archives that document the agency’s surveillance work. Formerly secret, highly official photographs show officers and employees putting on professional uniforms, gluing on fake beards, or signaling to each other with their hands. Today, the sight of them is almost ridiculous, although the laughter sticks in the viewer’s throat. This publication can be regarded as a visual processing of German history and an examination of current surveillance issues, yet it is extremely amusing at the same time. The fact that the doors of the opposite side—the British or German intelligence services, for example—remained closed to the artist lends the theme an explosive force as well as a tinge of absurdity.

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Press Review

THE INDEPENDENT: Top secret images from inside the Stasi archive reveal sinister handbook – for fancy dress

www.independent.co.uk »

 

WIRED

Absurd Secret Police Photos Show the Campy Side of Communist Spy Games

www.wired.com »

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