Everyone knows about the Stasi and the extent to which it spied on the East German populace. But that was only a small part of the informing that went on. New research shows that snitching was vastly more common than previously thought.
They were totally normal citizens of East Germany who betrayed others: neighbors reporting on neighbors, schoolchildren informing on classmates, university students passing along information on other students, managers spying on employees and Communist bosses denouncing party members.
The East German reporting system kept track of the country’s citizens from kindergarten, throughout their working lives and even into retirement…
Across the country, people were on the lookout for divergent viewpoints, which were then branded as dangerous to the state.
The system made it simple for the state to determine who needed to be punished and who deserved a reward.