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Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder
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Stasiland Quotes Showing 1-30 of 76
“I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment I know where I am going.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“She is brave and strong and broken all at once. As she speaks it is as if her existence is no longer real to her in itself, more like a living epitaph to a life that was.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“I remember learning German - so beautiful, so strange - at school in Australia on the other side of the earth. My family was nonplussed about me learning such an odd, ugly language and, though of course too sophisticated to say it, the language of the enemy. But I liked the sticklebrick nature of it, building long supple words by putting short ones together. Things could be brought into being that had no name in English - Weltanschauung, Schadenfreude, sippenhaft, Sonderweg, Scheissfreundlichkeit, Vergangenheitsbewältigung.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Betrayal clearly has its own reward: the small deep human satisfaction of having one up on someone else. It is the psychology of the mistress, and this regime used it as fuel.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“There are no people who are whole" he says. "Everyone has issues of their own to deal with. Mine might be a little harder, but the main thing is how on deals with them.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“People were crazy with pain and secrets.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“In this land
I have made myself sick with silence
In this land
I have wandered, lost
In this land
I hunkered down to see
What will become of me.
In this land
I held myself tight
So as not to scream.
-But I did scream, so loud
That this land howled back at me
As hideously
As it builds its houses.
In this land
I have been sown
Only my head sticks
Defiant, out of the earth
But one day it too will be mown
Making me, finally
Of this land.
-Charlie's poem”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“For anyone to understand a regime like the GDR, the stories of ordinary people must be told. Not just the activists or the famous writers. You have to look at how normal people manage with such things in their pasts.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Ten days is time enough to die, to be born, to fall in love and to go mad. Ten days is a very long time.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“You see the mistakes of one system—the surveillance—and the mistakes of the other—the inequality—but there’s nothing you could have done in the one and nothing you can do now about the other. She laughs wryly. “And the clearer you see that, the worse you feel.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“He can switch from one view to another with frightening ease. I think it is a sign of being accustomed to such power that the truth does not matter because you cannot be contradicted.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Lately, a study has suggested that depressed people have a more accurate view of reality, though this accuracy is not worth a bean because it is depressing, and depressed people live shorter lives. Optimists and believers are happier and healthier in their unreal worlds.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Can you rework your past, the grit that rubs in you, until it is shiny and smooth as a pearl?”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“When I got out of prison, I was basically no longer human,' Miriam says.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Prison left me with some strange little tics.' She has taken all the door off their hinges in all the apartments she has lived in since. It's not that she has anxiety attacks about small spaces, she says, it's just that she starts to sweat and go cold. 'This apartment is perfect for me,' she says, looking around the open space.
'How about elevators?' I ask, recalling the schlepp up the stairs.
'Exactly,' she replies, 'I don't like them much either.'
One day, years later, her husband Charlie was fooling around at home, playing the guitar. Miriam said something provocative and he stood up suddenly, lifting his arm to take off the guitar strap. He was probably just going to say 'That's outrageous', or tickle her or tackle her. But she was gone. She was already down in the courtyard of the building. She does not remember getting down the stairs-it was an automatic flight reaction.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Beyond all of that, I could see the wall I had seen from inside the train, the wall that runs along the train line. I assumed that there, behind it, was the west, and I was right. I could have been wrong, but I was right.' If she had any future it was over there, and she needed to get to it.
I sit in the chair exploring the meaning of dumbstruck, rolling the word around in my mind. I laugh with Miriam as she laughs at herself, and at the boldness of being sixteen. At sixteen you are invulnerable. I laugh with her about rummaging around for a ladder in other people's sheds, and I laugh harder when she finds one. We laugh at the improbability of it, of someone barely more than a child poking around in Beatrix Potter's garden by the Wall, watching out for Mr McGregor and his blunderbuss, and looking for a step-ladder to scale one of the most fortified barriers on earth. We both like the girl she was, and I like the woman she has become.
She says suddenly, 'I still have the scars on my hands from climbing the barbed wire, but you can't see them so well now.' She holds out her hands. The soft parts of her palms are crazed with definite white scares, each about a centimeter long.
The first fence was wire mesh with a roll of barbed wire along the top.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“We don’t catch hold of an idea, rather the idea catches hold of us and enslaves us and whips us into the arena so that we, forced to be gladiators, fight for it.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Miriam is upset. Her voice is stretched and I can't look at her. Perhaps they beat something out of her she didn't get back.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“People no longer wanted right or left—they wanted middle-of-the-road.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“This was perfect dictator-logic: we investigate you, therefore you are an enemy.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“My father was a doctor,' she says, 'a very kind man. He died in the early '70s, relatively young.' She taps the cigarette packet on the table. 'Of lung cancer.'
'Oh.'
'But the thing about that is,' she says as she exhales, 'it doesn't take very long at all.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Why are some things easier to remember the more time has passed since they occurred?”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“In Hitler’s Third Reich it is estimated that there was one Gestapo agent for every 2000 citizens, and in Stalin’s USSR there was one KGB agent for every 5830 people. In the GDR, there was one Stasi officer or informant for every sixty-three people. If part-time informers are included, some estimates have the ratio as high as one informer for every 6.5 citizens.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Q: What does the human spirit do after ten days without sleep, and ten days of isolation tempered only by nocturnal threat sessions? A: It dreams up a solution.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Apparently, even in the GDR, sleep deprivation amounted to torture, and torture, at least of minors, was not official policy.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“The Stasi had used radiation to mark people and objects it wanted to track. It developed a range of radioactive tags including irradiated pins it could surreptitiously insert into a person’s clothing, radioactive magnets to place on cars, and radioactive pellets to shoot into tyres.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“Julia and her family, like many others in the GDR, trod this line between seeing things for what they were in the GDR, and ignoring those realities in order to stay sane.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“It is not widely known that in the end, 65 per cent of the church leaders were informers for us, and the rest of them were under surveillance anyhow.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“There's another picture of the two of them, she with her arms around him, looking at the camera. She is an apparition, a naughty angel caught flying over the Wall, put in a cage, and then let out, here with her beloved.”
Anna Funder , Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
“For almost a year, from June 1948 to October 1949, they kept the city alive by plane. In that time American and British planes made some 277,728 flights through Soviet airspace to drop bundles of food, clothing, cigarettes, medicine, fuel and equipment, including components for a new power station, to the people of West Berlin. In the west, the aircraft came to be known as the ‘Rosinenbomber’, or ‘raisin bombers’, because they brought food. But in the east, Koch and his classmates were told the enemy planes sprayed potato beetles over East German crops as they flew over, in order to spoil the harvest.”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall

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