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The Eerie Architecture of East Germany's Secret Police

•, By Margaret Rhodes

The East German secret police had a roll call of more than 100,000 officers and 170,000 spies who maintained order by keeping the country under a blanket of fear. They tapped thousands of telephones, drilled peepholes into people's apartments, and controlled the press. Political offenders were sent to the prisons documented in these photographs by Daniel and Geo Fuchs.

The two photographers, who are married, grew up in West Germany. "People didn't think much about it, about what a repressive system it was there, and how hard it was that people had no possibility to say what they want to say or have a free political opinion," Geo Fuchs says. They remember the time before the Berlin Wall came down, the time when the east and west were worlds apart. "There was not much exchange," she says. "It was very filtered, what they could see on television. Of course there were people trying to get West German television, but it wasn't possible."

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