Writing the Stasi – guest post by Fiona Rintoul

Leipzig Town Centre in the 80s (C) Fiona Rintoul
Leipzig Town Centre in the 80s © Fiona Rintoul, 1986

“Stasi” was the first new vocabulary item I learnt when I arrived at the Karl-Marx-University Leipzig as an exchange student in the 1980s. Short for Staatsicherheit – the hated East German secret service – Stasi was a word you whispered, like the name of a terrible disease. Continue reading “Writing the Stasi – guest post by Fiona Rintoul”

How realistic is Deutschland 83?

As the author of various novels set in East Germany I’ve been asked a fair bit about Deutschland 83 over the last few weeks – mostly about whether or not the series is at all realistic. The series is a fun but unreliable witness to both East and West in 1983, but in this post I shall be outlining how Martin Rauch would have been recruited in the real GDR of 1983.

Continue reading “How realistic is Deutschland 83?”

Political Structures in Stealing the Future

Citizens enter the main Stasi HQ in Berlin

Where to start?

When writing a political novel the author needs to be very clear about the political structures that form the framework of the story, not to mention how they work on a day-to-day basis (indeed it is the tension between the theory and the practice of these institutions that provide the gaps that allow such stories to be developed).

The reader of Stealing the Future will have picked up on the fact that there are parliaments at several levels (Volkskammer at the federal level, and the Landeskammern at the Land, or regional level). But in Martin’s everyday life, most of the actual decisions are taken by the Ministry of the Interior (at which he works) or by the various assemblies – from the Central Round Table right down to the plenary meeting of the residents in his tenement block. Continue reading “Political Structures in Stealing the Future”

Tour 2 – Prisons, Factories, Russians and the Stasi

Entrance to the Stasi HQ in Lichtenberg

This tour of scenes from Stealing The Future visits the Rummelsburg Prison, where Chris Fremdiswalde, the main suspect in the Maier case was held, then on to the Klingenberg Power Station, a trip to KWO and then to Karlshorst, where the Russians had their main base in Berlin, continuing, by way of Friedrichsfelde (where Fremdiswalde had a flat) to the Stasi HQ in Lichtenberg.

Allow 6 hours, less if you don’t wish to visit the museums.

Walking distance: 1.3 miles (2.15km) in Rummelsburg; an optional 3/4 mile (1.3km) near KWO plus 3/4 mile (1.25km) in Karlshorst.
Cycling distance: 20 km/13 miles.
Time: 2 hrs plus time to visit museums.
Start: Rummelsburg S-Bahn station;
End: Stasi HQ, near Magdalenenstrasse U-Bahn station. Continue reading “Tour 2 – Prisons, Factories, Russians and the Stasi”