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"Haus 1" of the former Ministry of State Security in Berlin-Lichtenberg.

Overview - Ministry of State Security

The Ministry of State Security was the secret police force, secret intelligence service and organ for criminal investigations, primarily in political criminal cases. It was set up under the direct guidance of the Soviet secret police. The MfS had its own detention centres and own armed forces.

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Bill regarding the formation of a Ministry of State Security, Berlin February 18, 1950

The Founding of the Ministry of State Security

The Ministry of State Security was founded in February 1950. Its first minister was Wilhelm Zaisser and Erich Mielke was permanent secretary. The primary task of the MfS was intended to be that of locating and arresting any opponents of the GDR system.

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Material for the recruiting process between the 7th and 10th school years.

The Official Employees of the MfS

The full-time employees of the Ministry of State Security (MfS) made up the core staff of the secret police. They used strict criteria to select its full-time employees. Apart from a few civilian employees, the full-time staff members of the MfS held military ranks. By the end of 1952 the apparatus had grown to about 81.500 employees.

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Staff development of the Ministry for State Security 1950 to 1989.

The Unofficial Collaborators (IM) of the MfS

With their help the MfS spied on the population and tried to gather information on its moods and any attempts at "subversion". In written or oral statements collaborators committed themselves to working under cover with the MfS. By 1989 the State Security had about 189,000 unofficial collaborators – one for about every 90 GDR citizens.

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