Legacy, 2018

Participating as a data collector in a totalitarian system was a demonstration of faith in the idea of communism and, therefore, 'progress' and the accompanying belief that the GDR was a legitimate alternative to the West.
Whilst some people were often blackmailed or coerced into collaborating, others did it to help with their career. Iconic sites, once forbidden and filled with terror or dread, are now only shells containing memorabilia, but still evoke a strong emotional reaction. The museums which now deal with the GDR's past are some of the few places engaged in archiving autobiographical accounts of life in the former East Germany and publicly acknowledging the human rights abuses which took place under the former regime there.
While revisiting and photographing the former headquarters of the Ministry for State Security in Berlin-Lichtenberg,a huge complex with thousands of offices, the familiar smell of tiles, wallpaper, linoleum and utility furniture brought back the same feeling of numbness I always felt when visiting official buildings. Each time I am horrified to learn more about the surveillance the Stasi organised from this site to monitor and control the population and the state power, which left no room for individual values to unfold in the GDR. Publicising the impact of the regime's surveillance can be seen as a form of symbolic reparation; it contributes to a sense of social justice for the victims.
Despite all the events which happened in communist countries around the world in 1989, I am still astonished that the Stasi, who watched everybody and everything, did not predict the end of the GDR.