Stasliand

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Anna Funder Character Analysis

Anna Funder is the Australian author and narrator of Stasiland. Beginning in 1994 and ending in 2000, she makes three trips to Berlin to work for a German TV station and, more importantly, study the way the city’s people are adjusting to the recent collapse of the East German state. Funder explores Berlin and surrounding cities like Leipzig and Nuremberg, which were once a part of the Communist East German state. She interviews dozens of Germans, many of whom were once officers in the Stasi—the East German surveillance force and secret police. Especially in the first half of the book, Funder is most often a witness to other characters’ memories and experiences, rather than a dynamic character in her own right. But as the book proceeds, Funder begins to put herself into the narrative more and more. Her own personal connections with German history and with Berlin form a central part of the story, and by the final chapters, she feels a strange sense of melancholy that the history of the East German state is either being destroyed or exhibited in museums—when, in reality, this history is still very a much a part of her life and the other characters’ lives.

Anna Funder Quotes in Stasliand

The Stasliand quotes below are all either spoken by Anna Funder or refer to Anna Funder. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper Perennial edition of Stasliand published in 2011.
Chapter 1 Quotes

The Stasi guards had asked to see the demonstrators’ identity cards, in a strange parody of the control they were, at that very moment, losing. The demonstrators, in shock, obediently pulled their cards from their wallets. Then they seized the building.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker)
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Funder briefly describes the collapse of the East German state. For many years, the government of East Germany controlled its people through the Stasi, the secret police force and its associated system of informants. Then, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, East German demonstrators overpowered the massive Stasi police force, raiding Stasi headquarters. Bizarrely, the Stasi officers asked to see the demonstrators’ identification—and even more bizarrely, the demonstrators displayed their IDs before raiding the building.

The passage is a somewhat comic example of an important, serious theme that Funder explores throughout the book: the way that decades of authoritarian government have imprinted themselves on East German citizens. The demonstrators who raided the Stasi headquarters had been conditioned to obey the Stasi throughout their lives—and even after 1989, this obedience and respect for authority continue to be seen in German society.

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‘Look.’ Uwe touched my forearm gently, turning me towards him like a dance partner. His eyes were green and slanted up, his teeth short and neat, little pearls. ‘You're probably right. No-one here is interested—they were backward and they were broke, and the whole Stasi thing...’ He trailed off. His breath was minty. ‘It’s sort of...embarrassing.’

Related Characters: Uwe Schmidt (speaker), Anna Funder
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Anna Funder temporarily lives in Berlin and supports herself by working for a German TV station, responding to letters from viewers. In her spare time, she pursues the project that eventually became Stasiland: interviews with people who lived under the Communist state. Here, Funder explains why Stasiland didn’t turn out to be a TV program: she tried to pitch a program exploring the lives of ordinary Germans adjusting to the new regime, but her bosses and colleagues refused. They claimed that such a program would be uninteresting, impractical, and—most importantly—embarrassing.

Uwe’s choice of words is key, because he’s suggesting, without ever saying so explicitly, that Germany isn’t yet ready to confront its recent past. Much like Germany immediately after the Holocaust, 1990s Germany seems to want to treat East German history like a historical curiosity, something to be gawked at in museums, but not really acknowledged as a part of contemporary German culture. By writing her book, Funder aims to show how East German history, contrary to what Uwe suggests, is very much a part of contemporary culture, and a crucial part of many Germans’ lives to this day.

The German media called East Germany ‘the most perfected surveillance state of all time’. At the end, the Stasi had 97,000 employees—more than enough to oversee a country of seventeen million people.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker)
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

As Funder goes on, she begins to explore the extent of the Stasi surveillance apparatus. For forty years, the Stasi monitored a staggering number of German citizens. The Stasi had almost 100,000 employees, plus a tremendous number of casual informants. This meant that, in effect, there were different “circles” within the Stasi, some more secretive than others. Furthermore, some informers for the Stasi were themselves under investigation. As the passage would suggest, the East German government was able to maintain power over its citizens for so many years largely because it kept such a close eye on them: whenever anybody showed even the slightest sign of rebellion, the Stasi would be able to arrest them. For decades, German citizens had to live in the constant fear of being watched and potentially arrested and imprisoned for expressing even the slightest disapproval for their government.

Either Herr Winz doesn't know much, or he's not telling. He won't respond to my questions about the Insiderkomitee or talk about himself either. Each time I ask him about the reality of life in the GDR he returns to the beauties of socialist theory. I think he hopes, through me, to sow the seeds of socialism in an untainted corner of the world.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker), Herr Winz
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

Anna Funder interviews several Stasi agents over the course of the book. Some of these agents are willing to talk about their experiences and methods as Stasi operatives, while others, such as Herr Winz, interviewed in Chapter Eight, stay tight-lipped. Winz claims that he has nothing to say about his time in the Stasi, except that he wishes he could tell the rest of the world about the glories of the socialist East German state.

It’s interesting that Funder doesn’t directly challenge Herr Winz’s sincerity—and the same is true of her other interviews with former Stasi officers. Most of these officers claim to be sincerely committed to socialism, Communism, and East German values, and Funder never contradicts their claims explicitly. Nevertheless, Winz’s behavior could be interpreted as a kind of coping mechanism: he’s so guilty about what he did as a Stasi operative that he immerses himself in idealism and theory, deluding others—and himself—into believing that he was doing the right thing for all those years with the Stasi.

Whenever he stayed with her, the surveillance was intense and overt.
The couple could hardly leave the house without being stopped by the police and asked to account for themselves.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker), Julia Behrend
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Funder learns more about her sub-letter, Julia Behrend. Julia grew up in East Germany at a time when the Stasi were in full power. Julia excelled at languages, and her future looked bright; however, she began dating an Italian man, and the Stasi then started to monitor her and intimidate her. They prevented her from getting a job, and, as Julia later learned, they tapped her phones.

In retrospect, it seems more than a little ridiculous that the Stasi would have allocated so many resources to run surveillance on a teenaged girl with a boyfriend. But of course, as Funder has already shown, the Stasi had the resources to provide this surveillance for almost all German citizens—therefore, they didn’t have to be too discerning in choosing which people to monitor. Even the slightest irregularities (dating an Italian, for example) were enough to provoke them.

She is convinced that, in the amnesties of 1990, mistakes were made and the serial rapist was released. ‘It was terrible that this happened to me right at that time,’ she says. ‘It meant that before the good things about the west got to us, this negative thing—the letting loose of the criminals—affected me.’

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker), Julia Behrend (speaker)
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:

Funder continues to talk with Julia Behrend, and here, she learns that Julia was raped shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall by a strange man in an elevator. Julia testified against her rapist in court—an experience that left her depressed and anxious. Even after the rapist was sentenced to jail time, Julia suspects that he was freed in the amnesty period of the German reunification—a time during which many people who’d been imprisoned under the old German government were allowed to go free. As Julia tells Funder, she remembers the reunification period with mixed emotions: while she was pleased with the political changes in her country, she couldn’t share in the mood of elation because she was understandably worried about having to testify against her rapist, and about her rapist then being freed.

The passage is a sobering, tragic reminder of why it’s so important for Funder to compile a book based on individuals’ accounts of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The reunification of Germany is often celebrated as the beginning of a “glorious new era in German history,” a blanket statement that neglects the experiences of many people like Julia, who continued to go through pain and suffering after reunification, and whose fortunes didn’t particularly improve.

There's order everywhere else in German life—even the handicapped are labeled with yellow (yellow!) armbands.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker)
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

After speaking with Julia, Funder is understandably shaken: she’s just listened to Julia talk about being raped, and having to testify against her rapist in court. Funder goes back home and then goes to the local pool. While looking out at the water, she notices that some of the people in the pool are required to wear yellow armbands, signaling that they’re disabled (blind or deaf). For Funder, this is still shocking, since yellow insignias were once a way of identifying Jews and other “undesirables” during the Holocaust.

The point Funder seems to be making in this passage is that, although Germany has come a long way since the end of Holocaust and the fall of the Berlin Wall, there are still occasional signs of authoritarianism that cause her to worry for the country’s future. The people have been trained, over the course of many decades, to obey the government—to the point where they dutifully wear their proper armbands. For Funder, this behavior stands as one of the most sinister legacies of Germany’s harsh, authoritarian tradition.

Was this the point? Was Koch using the available evidence—in this case a bicycle permit—to construct or confirm a story of his father's innocence during the war? There's clearly a portion of the past here that cannot be pinned down with facts, or documents. All that exists is permission to ride a bike.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker), Hagen Koch, Heinz Koch
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Funder interviews a man named Hagen Koch, who once worked for the Stasi. Hagen’s father, Hagen explains, was briefly a Nazi soldier, though he later became involved with the Soviet Union. As Koch explains some things about his father’s early life, he informs Funder that the Russians gave him a bicycle as a sign of their respect for him. Funder is confused about why Hagen is bringing this up. She guesses that Hagen is concealing something from her—presumably, something about his father’s morally questionable behavior during World War Two.

The passage is important because it shows Funder reading between the lines of what her interviewee says, rather than simply absorbing the information uncritically. By definition, the people who choose to sit down and interview with Anna Funder are probably less likely to harbor guilt and self-loathing than many other East Germans (since, if they did feel these emotions, they probably wouldn’t talk to a reporter at all). But even so, Funder listens to her subjects very carefully, trying to understand the dark secrets they may be hiding from her.

The Stasi subjected him to disciplinary proceedings on account of ‘inconstancy’, and in their files attributed the remarriage to ‘the repeated negative influence of Frau Koch’.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker), Hagen Koch
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

Hagen Koch continues to tell Anna Funder about his experiences working with the Stasi. As a Stasi operative, every part of his life was closely scrutinized. Thus, after Koch announced that he was going to marry the woman he loved, his Stasi colleagues were displeased—they didn’t think that the woman was an acceptable bride for a Stasi officer. They imprisoned Koch and pressured his wife into getting a divorce. Then, when Koch was released from prison, he became furious with his wife for agreeing to the divorce, and actually divorced her. Then he relented, and they got married again. In a bitter irony, the Stasi further punished Koch for his inconstancy—when, in fact, it was the Stasi itself who caused his “inconstant” behavior.

The passage is a tragic example of how the Stasi drove families apart through manipulation and coercion. Because they pressured Koch’s wife into signing divorce papers, Koch came to distrust her and actually did agree to divorce her. Not even Stasi officers were immune from their own organization’s surveillance.

Klaus worked for years in the west as a sound-man in the theatre. After the Wall came down, he found out that ‘we'd become a cult band in the GDR—our records were more expensive than a Pink Floyd album’.

Related Characters: Klaus Jentzsch (speaker), Anna Funder
Related Symbols: The Berlin Wall
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

One of Anna Funder’s closest friends in Berlin is a musician named Klaus Jentzsch. Klaus was a major rock star in the 1970s, but after being stripped of his music license, he was effective blacklisted in East Germany. His music wasn’t sold in stores or played on the radio. Klaus later found out that the East German government didn’t renew his music license (which, at the time, all musicians had to carry) because it disapproved of his allegedly subversive behavior, and his fondness for American and British rock music. To Klaus’s great surprise, however, he returned to East Germany to discover he’d become a cult figure, beloved of the Germans not only because of his talents but because he’d become a symbol of defiance. Like David Bowie and Frank Zappa, Klaus became a legend in East Germany: a living symbol of free speech and artistic integrity.

Here he is once more getting the trust of his people and selling them cheap.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker), Herr Bock
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

Funder interviews an ex-Stasi agent named Herr Bock. Bock used to be an important Stasi operative, but unlike many other Stasi operatives, he’s managed to prosper in the new German state, too. He works as a business consultant, helping West German companies buy up their East German competitors. Evidently, Bock had no particular loyalty to East German government or ideology—he just sells his services to the highest bidder. The passage is one of the bitterest in the entire book: Funder doesn’t tell Bock what she thinks of him, but she makes no secret of her disdain to the reader. At the very least, Funder is willing to respect some Stasi agents who sincerely believed in socialist ideals; however, she has no respect for a “hired gun” who sells his own people cheap.

It seems to me that Frau Paul, as one does, may have overestimated her own strength, her resistance to damage, and that she is now, for her principles, a lonely, teary guilt-wracked wreck.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker)
Page Number: 221
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Funder meets with Frau Paul, a woman who, years ago, turned down an opportunity to be with her sickly child, Torsten. Frau Paul had just given birth when the Berlin Wall was erected, and as a result, she was unable to join Torsten in the West German hospital where he was being cared for. She tried and failed several times to cross the Berlin Wall illegally, and on one of these attempts, Stasi officers caught her. They offered her a deal: inform on her friends, and she’d be allowed to see her child. Amazingly, Frau Paul refused to cooperate. As a result, she was unable to see Torsten for five years.

Funder is impressed by Frau Paul’s toughness in the face of Stasi intimidation. However, she’s also realistic enough to recognize that Frau Paul isn’t exactly a “hero,” as many people would say she is. Paul acted bravely, but in part she behaved this way because she didn’t really think through the consequences of her actions—she had no way of knowing the pain and guilt she’d cause herself later in life. Perhaps this reckless disregard for one’s own happiness is the core of what most people would term heroism: a disregard that often leaves the so-called hero a “guilt-wracked wreck.”

I am working in a feminist bookshop near Berkeley, and have made some friends. We went on a ‘Reclaim the Night’ march recently, something that made me feel real positive, and far away from Thüringen and everything that happened here.

Related Characters: Julia Behrend (speaker), Anna Funder
Page Number: 246
Explanation and Analysis:

Julia Behrend sends Anna Funder a letter, explaining that she’s no longer living in Germany: she’s moved to Berkeley, where she’s become involved in feminist causes, and marches in the “Reclaim the Night” movement, which aims to protect rape victims. The passage links the chapter back to Julia’s earlier confession to Funder, in which she told Funder that she was raped shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Stasiland is, in many ways, a book about how people cope, or don’t cope, with tragedy. After enduring the horror of being raped, Julia seems to cope with her feelings by leaving Berlin and becoming involved in feminist and anti-rape causes. (Of course, there may be many other reasons why Julia moved to California and participated in “Reclaim the Night,” but as Funder presents the information to us, Julia’s behavior is at least partly a result of her own traumatic experiences.)

He is telling me, in his quiet way, that the resources united Germany is throwing at this part of reconstructing the lives of its former East German citizens are pitiful, some kind of Sisyphean joke. What he is running here is an almost totally symbolic act.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker), Herr Raillard
Related Symbols: Shredded Documents
Page Number: 269
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter 27, Funder visits the official Stasi record center, in which a small team of workers painstakingly tries to reassemble the untold millions of pages of shredded documents that the Stasi left behind in 1989. The German government has mandated that the files be reassembled and returned to the people they concern; however, the files are being reassembled so slowly that many people will die before they ever get a chance to read their own files. Clearly, the government could allocate more money to speed the process up, but they don’t—the reassembling of files is almost strictly a symbolic gesture.

Why doesn’t the government want the files to be reassembled too quickly? Funder doesn’t offer a reason, but it’s possible that the new German government is afraid that the German people won’t trust them. Or perhaps the new government is worried that too many people will try to sue the Stasi, creating more bureaucracy and more chaos. Whatever the reason, the passage shows that the struggle to learn about East German history is far from over, and that the current German government has failed to allocate the resources necessary for this important project.

Things have been put behind glass, but it is not yet over.

Related Characters: Anna Funder (speaker)
Page Number: 280
Explanation and Analysis:

In the final chapter of the book, Anna Funder writes about the sudden rise of museums in German following the fall of the Berlin Wall. There’s a Berlin Wall museum, a Stasi museum, and many other institutions presenting the history of the East German state. From Funder’s perspective, there’s something fundamentally wrong about museums of this kind. She argues that museums present history as being, metaphorically speaking, “behind glass”—as something that happened a long time ago, without any real relevance to the present day. Funder disagrees that East German history should be put behind glass—in Stasiland, she shows how it continues to exert a profound influence on the lives of contemporary Germans. The contemporary German state wants to relegate East Germany to the distant past; the German people, Funder suggests, aren’t ready to do that yet.

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Anna Funder Character Timeline in Stasliand

The timeline below shows where the character Anna Funder appears in Stasliand. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Berlin, Winter 1996
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Anna Funder walks through Berlin’s Alexanderplatz station. She is trying to catch the train to Leipzig, a... (full context)
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On the train, Funder contemplates the previous night, during which she visited a pub with her friend Klaus. Funder... (full context)
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Funder visited Leipzig in 1994, five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November... (full context)
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The curator of the Stasi Museum, Frau Hollitzer, tells Funder about a woman named Miriam, whose husband was arrested by the Stasi. Fascinated and horrified,... (full context)
Chapter 2: Miriam
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Funder works in television in the former West Berlin. Her boss is a man named Alexander... (full context)
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Funder receives a letter from a German viewer regarding the famous “puzzle women”—women who try to... (full context)
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In 1996, Funder’s train arrives in Leipzig. There, Funder meets Miriam Weber, a woman in her mid-forties. Miriam... (full context)
Chapter 3: Bornholmer Bridge
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...climb over it, cutting herself badly in the process. As Miriam explains all this to Funder, they both laugh—Miriam was barely more than a child, and yet she had the courage... (full context)
Chapter 4: Charlie
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Back in 1996, Funder asks Miriam why she returned to Leipzig. Miriam explains that Leipzig is the best place... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Linoleum Palace
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Funder returns to Berlin from Leipzig. When she enters her room, a voice shouts, “Don’t be... (full context)
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The next morning, it’s very cold—the heating has cut out. Funder surveys the room where she’s staying. It’s bare and ugly, and Julia repeatedly shows up... (full context)
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...over what to do with the building. Nearby lies the neighborhood of Mitte, through which Funder now strolls. She thinks about Miriam and about the Stasi. She wonders what it must... (full context)
Chapter 6: Stasi HQ
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Funder gets lots of responses to her ad in the paper: most of the responders are... (full context)
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Funder describes the offices of a man named Erich Mielke, the Minister for State Security, whose... (full context)
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The Stasi headquarters is now full of tourists. Funder listens as a guide explains that demonstrators broke into the building—known as “the House of... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Smell of Old Men
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Alone with the tour guide in the museum, Funder tells the guide that she’s trying to learn about people who confronted Stasi leadership. The... (full context)
Chapter 8: Telephone Calls
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After going to the museum, Funder gets a call from Miriam, thanking her for talking to her. Funder suggests that they... (full context)
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The next morning, Funder wakes up to the sound of the phone ringing. She has another caller about her... (full context)
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Funder meets with Herr Winz, who suggests that they talk in a hotel café. There, Winz... (full context)
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Funder proceeds to ask Herr Winz about his work for the Stasi, but he refuses to... (full context)
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Funder calls Miriam a second time and leaves a message, suggesting that they speak further. She... (full context)
Chapter 9: Julia Has No Story
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In the evening, Funder walks through the park. She notices “drunks and punks” smoking and drinking in the grass.... (full context)
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Julia Behrend and Funder are the same age, which means that Julia was 23 when the Berlin Wall came... (full context)
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...translating Russian. Growing up, she dreamed of becoming a translator. As she opens up to Funder, Funder begins to get an idea of what Julia’s life in East Germany has been... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Italian Boyfriend
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...begged them to convince Julia to break up with her boyfriend. The state, Julia tells Funder, must have assumed she was planning to leave East Germany. (full context)
Chapter 11: Major N.
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...Julia must not repeat their conversation to anyone. As Julia tells all of this to Funder in 1996, her voice is slow and low—she admits, “I think I’d totally repressed that... (full context)
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Julia finishes her story and bids Funder goodnight. As Funder sees Julia out, she wonders how this woman, who seems so timid,... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Lipsi
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At work, Funder reads hate mail from a German TV viewer, who explains that Germany will never forget... (full context)
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In the car ride home, Funder tells Uwe about the ad she placed in the paper, and about the stories Julia... (full context)
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In the following days Funder familiarizes herself with von Schnitzler’s TV program, “The Black Channel,” first broadcast in 1960. In... (full context)
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Funder visits the former East German television station, now a “multimedia center.” Inside, she speaks with... (full context)
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Weeks after Funder’s visit, she gets a call from Herr Winz, connecting her to von Schnitzler’s wife, who... (full context)
Chapter 13: Von Schni-
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Funder arrives at the von Schnitzler home. Frau Marta von Schnitzler, a former actress, lets her... (full context)
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...Germany revolved around his ability to provide commentary for West German television. Angrily, he tells Funder that recent German television is “trash.” He also mentions “that big television tyrant” who runs... (full context)
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Funder asks von Schnitzler if the East German state could have done anything better. Von Schnitzler... (full context)
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Before she goes, Funder offers von Schnitzler a gift, a small pin showing the Australian and German flags crossed... (full context)
Chapter 14: The Worse You Feel
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Funder has lunch with Julia. They eat a big meal and drink beers. Suddenly, Julia tells... (full context)
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After listening to Julia’s story, Funder calls up Klaus and gets drunk with him. She wakes up the next day with... (full context)
Chapter 15: Herr Christian
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A few days later, Funder meets her next “Stasi man,” Herr Christian, who’s in his mid-forties. Christian takes Funder to... (full context)
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Christian tells Funder that during his time with the Stasi, he was involved in an affair with his... (full context)
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Christian tells Funder that one of his favorite things about his old job was that he got to... (full context)
Chapter 16: Socialist Man
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...a line in the streets of Berlin, marking the future location of the Berlin Wall. Funder visits Koch in his apartment, which Koch jokingly calls the “Wall Archive,” since it’s full... (full context)
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...compliment than to suggest he work for the Stasi. Love for the East German state, Funder realizes, was for all intents and purposes a religion—and like any religion, it had its... (full context)
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...the military in 1929, and later fought for the Nazis in France. Peculiarly, Koch tells Funder that the Soviet state gave his father permission to ride a bike in 1945, suggesting... (full context)
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...that the American military was dropping beetles on East German crops, creating mass starvation. When Funder asks how anybody could believe such an absurd allegation, Hagen Koch points out that Americans... (full context)
Chapter 17: Drawing the Line
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Hagen Koch continues his story for Funder. In 1960, he became a Stasi soldier. Because Heinz had been a mayoral candidate and... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Plate
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...plate was. Koch was never tried, but his wife lost her job. However, Koch tells Funder, “All the courage I had is in that plate.” (full context)
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Shortly after this interview, Funder calls Miriam and leaves a message to ask if they can talk more. She goes... (full context)
Chapter 19: Klaus
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In the afternoon, Funder calls Klaus and asks to come over. By 6 pm, the two friends are on... (full context)
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...tags, and pellets to trace dissidents and, it’s entirely possible, to slowly murder them. When Funder asks Klaus about this atrocity, he just says, “I think the Stasi people have been... (full context)
Chapter 20: Herr Bock of Golm
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Funder gets another phone call about her ad in the paper, this time from a man... (full context)
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Funder meets with Herr Bock in his home. Bock immediately tells Funder that she’s not allowed... (full context)
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Bock also tells Funder about Stasi training methods. There was a rigid process for recruiting informers: deciding what institutions... (full context)
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Funder calls a taxi from Bock’s home, and, since it’s dark outside, waits for the taxi... (full context)
Chapter 21: Frau Paul
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Funder next goes to speak with Frau Paul, the woman whom the guide at the Stasi... (full context)
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After interviewing Frau Paul, Funder spoke to Michael Hinze about his experiences. He explained how, in 1961, his parents put... (full context)
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Funder resumes describing her interview with Frau Paul. Frau Paul and her husband tried to do... (full context)
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Funder again resumes describing her interview with Frau Paul. In February 1963, the students asked Frau... (full context)
Chapter 22: The Deal
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In early 1963, Coch tells Funder, he was prepared to sneak out of East Berlin with the help of his student... (full context)
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...was very ill—if she helped them capture Michael Hinze. In that moment, Frau Paul tells Funder, she remembered Karl Wilhelm Fricke, the iconic German journalist. In the 1950s, Fricke was a... (full context)
Chapter 23: Hohenschönhausen
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...found guilty and sent to Hohenschönhausen, where she served almost two years. Frau Paul takes Funder to this infamous prison building. Inside, Paul shows Funder the cell in which she was... (full context)
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...concept of life outside his hospital. Sometimes, Torsten felt like a stranger. Frau Paul introduces Funder to Torsten, a small, unhealthy-looking man. He tells Funder that he’s proud of his mother... (full context)
Chapter 24: Herr Bohnsack
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Funder speaks to one more “Stasi man,” Herr Bohnsack. Over drinks in a pub, Bohnsack tells... (full context)
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That night, Funder gets a call from home—doctors have found tumors in her mother’s head, meaning that Funder... (full context)
Chapter 25: Berlin, Spring 2000
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Back in Berlin in the spring of 2000, Funder surveys the beautiful greenery and handsome buildings. She returns to the same apartment in which... (full context)
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Early in the morning, Funder sips coffee and studies the famous statue of Heinrich Heine, the great German poet. She... (full context)
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The park worker tells Funder that he’s headed to go mushroom picking. In old East Germany, he says, he was... (full context)
Chapter 26: The Wall
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Late at night, Funder walks through the streets of Berlin, passing by a drunk man. The man cries, “I... (full context)
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A few days later, Funder learns that there’s been a request for the Stasi surveillance file on Mielke himself. It... (full context)
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Funder reunites with Frau Paul, who’s been involved with organizing people who were persecuted in East... (full context)
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Funder finds that a portion of the Berlin Wall has become a tourist destination—“airbrushed for effect.”... (full context)
Chapter 27: Puzzlers
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Funder takes the train to Nuremberg so she can visit the Stasi File Authority office, located... (full context)
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When Funder interviews workers at the office, they tell Funder they’re still moved and baffled by the... (full context)
Chapter 28: Miriam and Charlie
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On her train ride back to Berlin, Funder decides to get off in Leipzig. She wanders through the city, noting the new buildings... (full context)
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Funder leaves the museum and walks through the streets. She notices a girl, probably about sixteen... (full context)
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Funder calls Miriam and, to her amazement, Miriam answers and explains that she’s back in Leipzig.... (full context)
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Miriam shows Funder a photo of herself with Charlie. Funder gently asks Miriam what Charlie was like, and... (full context)
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...guesses that the guards beat up Charlie and left him to die, slowly and painfully. Funder imagines that Miriam could be right—but she wonders, “will digging him up reveal anything?” Miriam,... (full context)
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Funder spends the night at Miriam’s house, and the next morning Miriam takes her to the... (full context)
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Back in Berlin, Funder watches people play in the park: “People shake infants up and down to make them... (full context)