Here's a reading exercise for you to do. You'll need:
- some quiet time
- a print-out of this post
- a print-out of the article (linked below)
- a colored pencil and a regular pencil
During the time of the DDR (GDR in English) there was a secret police called the "Stasi," which spied on the people in Eastern Germany, listened to their phone calls, opened their mail, and infiltrated schools, hospitals, every part of life.
After the end of the DDR, Germany set up a process by which people in the former Eastern Germany could request information on if they had been spied on. It's a three-step process, with months in between each step; first you request information on whether you had a file or not (i.e. if you had been spied on) and then you could find out the information the Stasi had about you. Finally you could find out who had been spying on you.
This was sometimes a relief to some Germans, who found out they had not been spied on, yet others found out their own spouse had been a Stasi informant...
As N-TV reported last month, Germans are increasingly interested in their Stasi files (stats in English below):
2014 gingen bis Anfang Dezember 61.000 Anträge von Menschen ein, die wissen wollen, ob die Stasi Akten über sie angelegt hat und was darin gesammelt wurde. 2013 wurde knapp 64.250 Mal persönliche Akteneinsicht beantragt, 2012 waren es noch rund 88.200 Anträge gewesen. (Source)
Up to December of 2014 there were 61,000 requests, 2013 almost 64,250 and in 2012 88,200.