Is The Worst Really Over?

June 24, 2010

Reflecting upon the Holocaust, the Nazis and WWII at wide I did not think that such an oppressive government would rise to power in Germany for years to come if ever again.  Boy was I wrong.  After reading about the GDR, going through the Stasi prison as well as the Stasi center that contained information of all Germans living in the GDR during their reign, it is clear to me living conditions for many did not change at all. 

The extent to which the Stasi were involved in people’s lives and dictating every move is almost unimaginable.  I mean, when we toured the place that had all former residents of the GDR and their information documented on little note cards, that was almost too much for me to comprehend.  I didn’t think that a government could be that organized and in everyone’s lives—but clearly that is possible.  When I saw actual booklets, very thick booklets, of information gathered about certain individuals I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Our guide discussed how most of this information was obtained through secret spies.  These spies could be your co-workers, neighbors, or even your spouse!

In my perspective, violence was the only means upon which the Stasi was able to maintain control.  If people did not spy for them, dress they way they wanted, or had an alternative perspective on the information they were learning in school, they were punished.  People feared for their lives.  But I guess I would too if people were suddenly disappearing and never returning.  And if people did eventually return, it was apparent they were traumatized and beaten to the extreme.  The Stasi had their own prisons; the one in particular we visited was unknown to almost everyone who lived in the town.  Obviously horrible things were happening there if the government did not want its own citizens even knowing of the prison’s existence.

In this prison, prisoners were interrogated, tortured, and many times died of poor living conditions.  Most depressing for me was those people who had formally been imprisoned under the Nazi regime, were set free, only to be detained again during the GDR.  Looking at the pictures below, the gates and the barbed wire is very reminiscent of the Nazi concentration camps.  I can’t help but to draw a connection between the two.


The people that were imprisoned twice were “enemies” to both the Nazi and the Stasi regimes and were dangerous because they encouraged beliefs that questioned the rule of government.  Some of these “enemies” never hurt anyone or caused any damage but to only have a different view point that was extreme and dangerous to each regime’s ideology.  So again, the German people turned their head to what was going on!!  It was simply impossible to have an extreme viewpoint and consequently they turned out to be the true homo sacer of German society.  Nobody cared about these people or what happened to them.  This leads me to want to further examine the current condition of the United States and the continual acceptance of certain individuals or groups of people to be homo sacer.


One comment

  1. I think you really should investigate the situation in the US in more detail.

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