Saturday, January 26, 2008

POLICE STATES: BAD FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE FREEDOM, GREAT FOR GENEALOGISTS!

It’s probably fair to say that few people want to live in a police state like the former East Germany or the former Soviet Union-- on the other hand, the East German Secret Police kept records like nobody’s business:

“It was discovered that the Stasi had generated enough paper to fill 100 miles of shelves, and it indexed and cross-referenced 5.6 million names in its central card catalog.”

When the East German state collapsed, Stasi agents managed to destroy about five percent of their handiwork, some with machine shredders and some by hand, before they were stopped by ordinary East Germans. Five percent probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you realize that the Stasi were busy little Commie beavers who created close to a BILLION pages of records: NOW are you impressed? The agency now in charge of Stasi records has figured out a way to reconstruct hand-torn records using scanners. They’ve also opened up their records to requests from curious former East Germans; in 15 years of operations, 1.7 million have asked what dirt Grosse Deutsche Bruder had on them:

Link

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