Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Working for the Stasi was this Australian's ticket to a life behind the Iron Curtain

The secret of a great fortune made without apparent cause is soon forgotten, 
if the crime is committed in a respectable way.

The tyranny of brutal Communism or brutal Capitalism or brutal Workplace Feudalism is as old as the Pharaohs and the Pyramids - that the powerful corporate State stands above all men and their individual aspirations.

Communism counts its opportunities in terms of decades - not of weeks. Its means of aggression consist not only of nuclear weapons and missiles with enormous boosters, and not only of spies, agents and terrorists, but of great masses of men and women, deluded by a common ideology which inspires them with a false hope.

About astrology and palmistry: they are good because they make people vivid and full of possibilities. They are communism at its best. Everybody has a birthday and almost everybody has a palm.

Tomas Tulinger

Image captionTomas Tulinger's T-shirt recalls the hero of the Velvet Revolution - but Vaclav Havel's values are no longer universally appreciated

Working for the Stasi was this Australian's ticket to a life behind the Iron Curtain

An old black and white passport photo of a woman with dark curly hair.
In her youth, Salomea Genin wanted nothing more than to live in East Germany.(ABC RN: Georgia Moodie)

It's a chilly winter's day in Berlin when I meet Salomea Genin, an Australian woman whose life was indelibly shaped by the Cold War. 
She was spied on for being a communist in Melbourne, before becoming a spy herself for the Stasi, the feared secret police of East Germany.
"For me, the only thing in the world was communist ideology and activities for socialism," she says.
"And it is true, I was fanatical."

A close-up photo of Salomea Genin who is looking directly into the camera.
Salomea didn't have the happiest family life, but she found a new family through communism.(Supplied: Maxim Gorki Theatre)

Finding family with the communists

Salomea was born in Berlin in 1932. Seven years later, her Polish-Jewish family were pushed to flee by the rise of Nazism in Germany.
They sailed for Australia, and settled in Melbourne.

Salomea looks down through her glasses, reading some files.
Salomea still lives in the same apartment where she lived when the Berlin Wall fell.(ABC RN: Georgia Moodie)

Salomea's experiences of fascism pushed her to the other end of the political spectrum: socialism.
In 1944, when she was 12, she joined the youth wing of the Communist Party. It welcomed her with open arms.

In a black and white photo, Salomea and a number of young people stand in front of a microphone on a small stage outside.
Salomea (far left) at a Communist party meeting in Melbourne in 1949.(Supplied: Salomea Genin)

"I didn't have a father, my mother took no notice of me, and I always had to shut up at home," she tells ABC RN's The History Listen.
"The Communist Party became my substitute family."
While Salomea threw herself into the communist cause in Melbourne, big shifts were taking place internationally.
World War II ended, and soon after, the Cold War began, dividing the world into the communist east and the capitalist west.
"There was an extraordinary climate of fear, trepidation and confrontation between the supposedly all-powerful Soviet Union and its allies, and the all-powerful United States and its allies, one of which was Australia," says David Ritchie, an Australian diplomat who has spent many years working in Germany.

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In 1968, during a period called the “Prague Spring,” Alexander Dubček, the newly elected leader of Czechoslovakia, enacted pro-democracy reforms that loosened state control and expanded individual rights, giving hope to citizens and angering the Soviet Union. Soviet leaders in Moscow believed that Czechoslovakia, a member of the Warsaw Pact, had gone too far, and summoned the country’s leaders for discussions. By late summer, the talks were not going the way the Kremlin had wanted, so more than 2,000 tanks and thousands more Warsaw Pact troops were sent to invade and occupy the country on August 21. In the first weeks, occupying soldiers were met with protests and limited resistance, and more than 70 civilians were killed in the conflicts. Within the following year, resistance faded, Dubček was removed from office, his reforms were undone, and a more Soviet-controlled government was installed.

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putin stasi from www.wilsoncenter.org
Why did Vladimir Putin have an East German Stasi ID card? ... Recently, a press sensation began in Germany and spread across the globe when an identification card from the East German Ministry of State Security (MfS, or Stasi) was found in the Stasi Records Archive with the name and