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Stasiland (2003)

av Anna Funder

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,515488,528 (4.08)71
A book of travel, history and biography that reads like a documentary novel. Anna Funder tells astonishing stories from the underbelly of the former East Germany. As her narrative builds, Stasiland records heartbreaking tales of bravery and betrayal, of suffering and stoicism amid the daily chaos.
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» Se även 71 omnämnanden

engelska (43)  italienska (3)  nederländska (1)  franska (1)  Alla språk (48)
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I was recently in Germany touring around and was struck by the complete lack of any war memorials to dead German soldiers. I am told it is something they would like to forget and I have also been told of German men and boys going to war and not coming back and their families not knowing where or when they had died. On visiting some of the cities that were bombed flat, it was somewhat marvellous to see them re-constructed as if the bombing had never happened but you are left with the feeling that it is more as if the war had not happened, like it has been erased.

Which brings me to Stasiland. The author brings us a description of the absolute power of the Stasi regime. She talks to people greatly affected by the Stasi, including one woman whose husband was murdered by them, and pretty much it is a book in peoples' own words. It is about the lies that have been left behind and the continuing willfull desire to "forget" this short but tragic episode in modern history. She also discovers how many former Stasi people are still in the local/government/police/judicial systems. She says that for the most part you'd no longer know where the Berlin Wall previously went and some of the preserved bits are reconstructions and not original. More erasing of history.

The book does not romanticise or nostalgicise its existence. It details many of the horrors perpetrated on people in such a fashion that people around them had no idea. About secret torture prisons in the heart of Berlin completely unknown by the locals around them and about how many met horrible deaths there. About prisoner transport vehicles disguised as normal delivery vans so the population would have no idea about any of it.

A regime besotted with spying on its citizens and dutifully recording everything in words, audio and film. Such was their proclivity for this that in its short (41 years) history the Stasi accumulated more records than had previously existed in all of Germany since the Middle Ages.

One of the most interesting bits was how the East Germans distanced themselves from the Nazis. They re-wrote their history to imply that all the Nazis were in what was now called West Germany. This was epitomised by the author seeing a plaque on a bridge in Dresden over the Elbe that "commemorated the liberation of East Germans from their Nazi oppressors by their brothers the Russians". So where we once had just Nazis we now have the existence of East Germans 4 years before East Germany existed!

Less than 27 years before I was there this year, all that existed and yet now, there is hardly a trace of it left, except inside people.

I know for certain what shaped my world and I cannot imagine what it would be like to be born into a world that disappears without a trace in just a few short years. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
The author has a beautiful and intriguing way of telling non-fiction stories in a first person view. Feels almost like a crime noir novel. Did get a bit tiresome in the end, though. ( )
  troelsk | May 8, 2020 |
Reading about East Germany is wild because it happened so recently and just the stark differences in beliefs about how society should be run is kind of hard to imagine. Also just thinking about how brave people were and how I'd act in a society like that is interesting. Anecdotes from people that suffered from the Stasi interspersed with anecdotes from former Stasi themselves made for a really memorable book. ( )
  mochibun | May 8, 2020 |
For anyone familiar with the topic, this book will most likely not reveal anything new. Still, as a person interested in GDR I thought it was an entertaining read. Some parts that describe author's experience felt really unnecessary, and they did not add anything to the story.
On a more positive note, the main reason why this book is worth reading is the message against totalitarianism and its destructive power it has long after it officially ceases to exist. It shows that the effect of propaganda is sometimes impossible to be undone. And we are all victims of it, no matter how much we believe we are resistant to it. Sometimes this is true even if we are the victims. ( )
1 rösta ZeljanaMaricFerli | Feb 20, 2020 |
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While the life-stories are touching and infuriating, she fails to offer insights that would have given her book a wider theme. Nevertheless, taken with a pinch of salt, Stasiland is worth reading. In the end, German history is too serious to be left solely to the Germans.
tillagd av SamuelW | ändraThe Independent, Henning Hoff (Jul 31, 2003)
 

» Lägg till fler författare (5 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Anna Funderprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Kloos, CarolaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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'The two of you, violator and victim (collaborator! violin!), are linked, forever perhaps, by the obscenity of what has been revealed to you, by the sad knowledge of what people are capable of. We are all guilty.'
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1 : Berlin, Winter 1996
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Wikipedia på engelska (3)

A book of travel, history and biography that reads like a documentary novel. Anna Funder tells astonishing stories from the underbelly of the former East Germany. As her narrative builds, Stasiland records heartbreaking tales of bravery and betrayal, of suffering and stoicism amid the daily chaos.

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