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Museum in der "Runden Ecke"
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Everything under control - data procurement, eavesdropping and scent storage
This picture shows scent storages in glasses

As in the Stasi’s view virtually everyone was a potential suspect, it tried to gather as much information about people as possible. Data procurement was aided by the large number of information sources maintained in East Germany in spheres such as politics, education, and trade and industry. Often information was supplied voluntarily to the Stasi – such as by the Leipziger Volkszeitung, at that time the SED’s own district newspaper, which for example passed on critical readers’ letters. Members of the public sometimes also handed in oppositional leaflets they had found. The Stasi treated such cases as if they were the worst crimes imaginable, launching full investigations. Fingerprints and samples of saliva and handwriting were stored. The Stasi even kept samples of suspects’ body scent. Department XX and the local branches were responsible for ‘processing’ supposed and actual members of the opposition. They conducted ”operational personal checks” and ”operational procedures”. This process often ended with arrest and sentencing for a fabricated ‘crime’, or alternatively the subtle character assassination of the target among friends, neighbours and colleagues. The staff in Department 26 tapped telephone conversations, which were diverted directly to the ”Runde Ecke” through cables specially laid for this purpose. The new extension to the Stasi’s headquarters contained a phone-tapping centre which enabled up to 300 conversations to be recorded simultaneously – an enormous number bearing in mind the very few private telephones which existed in East Germany.

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