Stasiland

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 in 1961, the same year that the Berlin Wall was built, she gave birth to a child named Torsten. Torsten was rushed to a West Berlin hospital, and Paul was separated from her baby for years. During this time, she tried and failed to sneak under the Wall, and when the Stasi offered to reunite her with her child if she informed on her friends, she refused. Paul therefore stands as a symbol of defiance—she’s one of the few people in the book who directly stood up to the Stasi. However, as Funder points out, Paul has lived with the pain of her decision for many decades, and like so many “brave” people, she summons the will to be brave because she doesn’t fully consider the pain she’s causing herself in doing so.
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Frau Paul Character Timeline in Stasiland

The timeline below shows where the character Frau Paul appears in Stasiland. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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
Bravery and Heroism Theme Icon
Museums and Artifacts Theme Icon
...about people who confronted Stasi leadership. The guide tells Funder that she should speak to Frau Paul . The guide then leads Funder through the rooms of the Stasi HQ. In a... (full context)
Chapter 21: Frau Paul
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Surveillance and Privacy Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Funder next goes to speak with Frau Paul , the woman whom the guide at the Stasi museum mentioned. Frau Paul turns out... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Frau Paul gave birth to a child in early 1961, a boy named Torsten. The birth was... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Bravery and Heroism Theme Icon
As time went on, Torsten remained in the hospital and his condition continued to deteriorate. Frau Paul and her husband decided to move to West Berlin, where they’d be able to get... (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
Funder resumes describing her interview with Frau Paul . Frau Paul and her husband tried to do exactly what Michael Hinze had done:... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Surveillance and Privacy Theme Icon
Bravery and Heroism Theme Icon
Funder again resumes describing her interview with Frau Paul . In February 1963, the students asked Frau Paul if they could stay in her... (full context)
Chapter 22: The Deal
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Surveillance and Privacy Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Bravery and Heroism Theme Icon
...out of East Berlin with the help of his student friends, who were staying in Frau Paul ’s apartment. The plan was to wait for word from a courier, who would tell... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Bravery and Heroism Theme Icon
Shortly afterwards, Frau Paul was arrested by the Stasi. They offered her a deal: she’d be allowed to be... (full context)
Chapter 23: Hohenschönhausen
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Bravery and Heroism Theme Icon
After the Stasi detained Frau Paul , she and her husband were imprisoned and then tried for collaborating against the authority... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Bravery and Heroism Theme Icon
While Frau Paul was in prison, Torsten remained in the hospital in West Germany, barely surviving. Doctors remember... (full context)
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Bravery and Heroism Theme Icon
Frau Paul could now be with Torsten, and yet Torsten had no concept of life outside his... (full context)
Chapter 26: The Wall
Authoritarianism and the East German State Theme Icon
Grief and Memory Theme Icon
Funder reunites with Frau Paul , who’s been involved with organizing people who were persecuted in East Germany. Some people... (full context)