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Wolf Biermann on “The Lives of Others”

Poet, songwriter, essayists and East German dissident Wolf Biermann is amazed at how, despite a few niggling discrepancies between art and reality, The Lives of Others gets it right: This film was able to convey things to me that I … Read More

By / March 27, 2007
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Poet, songwriter, essayists and East German dissident Wolf Biermann is amazed at how, despite a few niggling discrepancies between art and reality, The Lives of Others gets it right:

This film was able to convey things to me that I could never have imagined "being real".

In the ten thousand pages of my Stasi files, I found around 215 (in words: two-hundred-and-fifteen) aliases of a number of unofficial employees, vulgo: "spitzel" or informers. Of course I know many of their faces. The documents are also strewn with the real family names of umpteen official employees, all officers, in other words higher ranking pen pushers, like comrades Reuter and Lohr, in other words characters like those in the film. The art work lends these faceless scoundrels the facial expressions of the actors which I can now read. Lohr and Reuter worked for many years as part of the Central Operative Operation "Poets" on systematically "corroding" me – as the chemical terminus technicus of Stasi jargon phrases it. Two of the twenty or so measures against dissidents stand there, typed in a long list by two Stasi index fingers on the office typewriter: "Destruction of all love relationships and friendships." Another: "faulty medical treatment."

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