17 March 2010

Selling Stasi documents in East Berlin

17 March 1990 - Tomorrow is election day in the GDR. Today, Stephen arrived back in Berlin from Seoul where he had been working at the World Convocation on Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. I go to meet him at the airport. Hiring a car (and getting his first ever GDR parking ticket for stopping to ask where he could park), we stopped off at the Gendarmenmarkt in East Berlin. Here the synods of the previously-divided Berlin-Brandenburg Protestant church were having their first joint session. Less than 100 metres away from the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche where the synod is taking place there is a queue outside an unprepossessing building, now called the House of Democracy, and home to the various civic and human rights groups. They are selling a printed volume of Stasi documents, showing how the state security ministry has systematically tried to undermine and subvert opposition activity in the GDR (second hand copies are still available on Amazon). People around the church where the synods are meeting are flicking through the slim volume - some of them to see whether they were the targets of the Stasi. Later on we head back down to Greppin, in the middle of the Bitterfeld chemical works. I'm preaching tomorrow - election day.

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