Stasiland

Erich Mielke Character Analysis

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 for ordering the surveillance of tens of thousands of German citizens, to the point where Stasi employees numbered almost 100,000. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mielke was tried and sentenced to jail time. Nevertheless, the impact of his policies as Minister for State Security continues to be felt in 21st-century Germany. In particular, most of the files containing sensitive information about the citizens Mielke surveilled still exist.
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Erich Mielke Character Timeline in Stasiland

The timeline below shows where the character Erich Mielke appears in Stasiland. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: Stasi HQ
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Surveillance and Privacy Theme Icon
Funder describes the offices of a man named Erich Mielke, the Minister for State Security, whose name is still synonymous with the Stasi. Mielke kept... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Surveillance and Privacy Theme Icon
Mielke was born in 1907, and as a young man he quickly rose through the Communist... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
...ran East Germany for nearly two decades. Honecker was the “face” of East Berlin, and Mielke was in charge of surveillance. Honecker had also attended the Soviet training school, and worked... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Surveillance and Privacy Theme Icon
Museums and Artifacts Theme Icon
...Thousand Eyes”—in early 1990. By that time, Funder recalls from her own research, Honecker and Mielke were old men, yet still in excellent health. They spent most of their lives convinced... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Smell of Old Men
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Surveillance and Privacy Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Museums and Artifacts Theme Icon
After the fall of East Germany, Mielke was roundly criticized, and—along with Erich Honecker—accused of treason. Mielke was sent to various prisons,... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Surveillance and Privacy Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Bravery and Heroism Theme Icon
Museums and Artifacts Theme Icon
...Funder through the rooms of the Stasi HQ. In a room that used to be Mielke’s person quarters, Funder finds a cleaning woman. The woman tells Funder that she lived under... (full context)
Chapter 17: Drawing the Line
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Surveillance and Privacy Theme Icon
...Heinz had been a mayoral candidate and was now cooperating with the Communist regime, however, Mielke arranged for Koch to become a technical draftsman instead of risking his life. Koch fell... (full context)
Chapter 26: The Wall
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Surveillance and Privacy Theme Icon
...days later, Funder learns that there’s been a request for the Stasi surveillance file on Mielke himself. It occurs to Funder that “Mielke must think the apparatus he created was so... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
...persecuted in East Germany. Some people have been harassing her lately—presumably, ex-Stasi agents. Shortly afterwards, Mielke dies at the age of 92—headlines read, “Most hated man now dead.” Shortly afterwards, in... (full context)