Stasiland

Anna Funder

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… (read full character analysis)

Miriam Weber

Of all the people Anna Funder interviews over the course of Stasiland, Miriam Weber is perhaps the most important to the book’s themes. Miriam grew up in East Germany during the 1960s, the same… (read full character analysis)

Frau Paul

Frau Paul is another woman to whom Anna Funder speaks during her time in Berlin in the 1990s. Paul witnessed the rise of the East German state following the fall of the Third Reich, and… (read full character analysis)

Julia Behrend

Julia Behrend is the owner of the apartment where Anna Funder stays during her time in Berlin. She’s a young woman, the same age as Anna, and she grew up in East Germany at a… (read full character analysis)

Erich Mielke

Erich Mielke was the Minister for State Security, and one of the most influential figures in making East Germany the rigorous police state that it was. Mielke ran the Stasi surveillance force, and was responsible… (read full character analysis)
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Erich Honecker

The Secretary-General of East Germany for most of its existence, and, with Erich Mielke, the most influential figure in its tyrannical, police state structure. In the final days of East Germany, Honecker tried to… (read full character analysis)

Karl-Heinz Weber / “Charlie”

Karl-Heinz Weber, or “Charlie,” is Miriam Weber’s husband during the 1970s, before his arrest and mysterious death in a Stasi prison cell. He’s considered a “subversive” in East Germany because of his involvement in… (read full character analysis)

Klaus Jentzsch

Klaus Jentzsch is a musician and German celebrity, who for many years was one of the biggest rock stars in East Germany. He performed some of his own music, as well as covers of American… (read full character analysis)

Hagen Koch

A former Stasi officer with whom Anna Funder speaks, Hagen Koch was partly responsible for building and mapping out the Berlin Wall in 1961. Later on, however, he became exasperated with the cruelty and bureaucracy… (read full character analysis)

Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler

The chief propagandist for East Germany, Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler’s duties involved providing live commentary for the TV programs of West Germany, on a station informally known as “the Black Channel.” For decades, he was secretly… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Frau Hollitzer
The curator of Berlin’s Stasi Museum, located in the former Stasi headquarters.
Alexander Scheller
Anna Funder’s boss at the television station for which she works in 1996.
Uwe Schmidt
One of Anna Funder’s colleagues at the television station for which she works in 1996.
Major Fleischer
A Stasi officer and suspect interrogator who demanded that Miriam Weber tell him about the “underground organization” that helped Miriam escape from East Berlin (though in fact there was no such organization).
Mikhail Gorbachev
The Secretary General of the Soviet Union from 1885 to 1991, during which the Berlin Wall was torn down, the East German state collapsed, and the Soviet Union itself fell apart, thanks largely to his liberal policies of perestroika and glasnost.
Karl Marx
The German philosopher, economist, and critical theorist who penned Capital and The Communist Manifesto, the two central texts of modern Communism.
Herr Winz
A former Stasi officer with whom Anna Funder speaks, Herr Winz worked in counter-espionage from 1961 to 1990, during which he wrote a lengthy thesis on NATO infiltration.
Irene Behrend
The mother of Julia Behrend.
Dieter Behrend
The father of Julia Behrend.
Major N.
A Stasi official who tries and fails to intimidate Julia Behrend into betraying her Italian ex-boyfriend.
Frau Anderson
An employee of the multimedia center where the East German TV headquarters used to stand.
Frau Marta von Schnitzler
The wife of Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler.
Rupert Murdoch
The Australian media magnate who controls the organization that owns, among many other companies, 20th Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting, The Wall Street Journal, and HarperCollins.
Herr Christian
A former Stasi officer who now works as a private detective.
Herr Bock
A former Stasi officer who specialized in recruiting and controlling informers.
Torsten Paul
The son of Frau Paul.
Dr. Hinze
An East German man who tried to send his son Michael Hinze into West Germany.
Michael Hinze
The son of Dr. Hinze.
Werner Coch
An East German man who tried and failed to sneak into West Berlin in the 1960s.
Karl Wilhelm Fricke
A famous German journalist who was arrested by the Stasi for his allegedly subversive broadcasting and risked his life by telling his listeners about how the Stasi had tried to bully him into keeping quiet.
Herr Bohnsack
A former Stasi officer who worked in Division X, the department that focused on spreading disinformation about West Germany.
Heinrich Heine
19th century German Romantic poet whose statue is a popular tourist destination in Berlin.
Herr Raillard
Head of the Stasi File Authority office, the institution that houses and reassembles shredded Stasi surveillance files.
Heinz Koch
The father of Hagen Koch, a schoolteacher and one-time mayoral candidate.