The following thesis examines both the individual and the societal confrontation with one particular aspect of the legacy of the GDR's Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS, or Stasi), that is the debate concerning onetime MfS informers (Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter, or IM). The thesis is divided into two main sections. Section One describes and analyses specific aspects of the IM system. Characteristics of the population of IM are examined in Chapter 1, and the ten case studies which are referred to throughout the course of the work are presented. These former IM were interviewed by the author in 1994-95, and the MfS files of eight of them were subsequently viewed. The remaining chapters in Section One examine the following issues: the recruitment procedure (2); the daily work with an IM and his/her relationship to the MfS (4); the motivational factors behind an IM-Tätigkeit (3 and 5). Section Two turns to the private and public confrontation with the IM legacy. The debate over former Stasi collaborators currently active in the political forum is considered in Chapter 6, and the handling of the IM issue by the criminal justice system in Chapter 7. The final three chapters are devoted to personal and interpersonal issues. Chapter 8 addresses the Täter/Opfer debate. Chapter 9 focuses on the manner in which an IM sought to cope with this aspect of his/her biography at the time of active collaboration, and on how s/he seeks to justify this in retrospect. The final chapter examines the profound effect which the availability of the MfS files through the Stasi-Unterlagen-Gesetz has had and will have on the understanding of personal and collective history in the former GDR, and the work concludes that this is the most significant and far-reaching impact of this most extraordinary legacy.
|University of Glasgow
|Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
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