- 119,00 kr
When the Berlin Wall came down, the files of the East German secret police, the much-dreaded Stasi, were opened and read. And among the shocking stories revealed was that of the Stasi's infiltration of the Church. Almost 10% of the Lutheran Church's workforce were, it appears, busy involved in spying on each other, and on the Church's congregations. The Lutheran Church was the only semi-free space in East Germany, where those who rebelled against the regime could find a way of living at least a little out of the government's iron grip. Even the organisations that smuggled Bibles were infiltrated.
Journalist Braw explores how the Stasi the East German intelligence service infiltrated religious organizations, most notably the Lutheran church, after WWII in her enjoyable but underdeveloped debut. Among the pastors co-opted by the Stasi, Braw highlights Siegfried Krugel, a theologian and faculty member at Lutheran Theological College in Leipzig. Krugel, one of the Stasi's most influential spies, informed on congregants and fellow pastors in exchange for petty perks, such as concert tickets and securing his son's graduate school acceptance. Though Braw brings the tone of an espionage thriller to her telling, the activities covered don't come across as all that exciting; as Braw points out, many Stasi agents believed they "didn't actually cause the church a great deal of harm." And while Braw disputes this, she notes that "a career destroyed" and a few "friendships in ruins" were the only lasting effects of the espionage effort. Rather than the spy drama Braw's tone suggests, this illuminating history provides a detailed account of largely ineffective Stasi meddling and the pervasiveness of quid pro quo corruption.