Cold War Spy Photos Focus Of Berlin Exhibit (1).

East German Spy Agency Reveals Photos
A photography display currently on view at Morgen Contemporary in Berlin deals exclusively with espionage related pictures of Stasi lineage and certainly recalls the Cold War era of the much feared East German intelligence agency. Simon Menner is the German artist who assembled ‘Pictures from the Secret Stasi Archives,’ including images of various operatives in disguise. The dark glasses, false moustaches, and wigs that figure prominently in the photos might appear dated from a post Cold War perspective but Mr. Menner explained the true significance of the pictures. He pointed out their use in training agents on how to fit in and fade into the background and stressed their once highly classified status.

Menner culled the exhibit photos after countless hours digging through the enormous Stasi archives, the size of which is not really surprising, considering that during the Stasi period, one of every 90 East Germans was an informant. He unearthed not only the disguise pictures but also the Polaroids used by Stasi agents to return premises to their original state after surreptitious searches. Menner declared the purpose of his presentation to be fostering examination of surveillance issues. Germany’s extremely stringent current privacy laws were a response to the pervasive spying of the Nazis and Stasi. The exhibition concludes August 20.

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