How to covertly toss an apartment, Stasi style

Here’s how the French do it:


What are you talking about? This is communist gold. Nothing should be altered.

Do you also want to remaster the video to 1080p? Add some CGI? Make a “Director’s Cut”?


um - you do know that the author of those books is a retired spy? It’s not all fiction-based.

What I learned, as to how to detect a spy:

  • Look on the guy’s desk. There will be an incriminating note left there.

What I learned, as to how to avoid detection as a spy:

  • Don’t leave incriminating notes on your desk.

Of course. And you do know that MI6 has the equivalent of a Publications Review Board, that makes sure anything written by former spies contains nothing of operational importance?

OK, sure. Now define “operational importance.” The point of proper tradecraft is that it works even when the other side knows what it is.

As above, everything I know about tradecraft is from fiction.

Thank you! That was gorgeous. Just watched the whole thing.

One thing bugs me - I was rubbish at the violin but I can always tell when an actor doesn’t play. I am not always sure how I can tell. Piano players too.

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Interesting that the Stassi used a decadent, capitalist camera.


Yes! Yes! And Max von Sydow as narrator!


There is an misunderstanding/translation error at work here - the mission/operation is called “Revisor” (auditor). The Stasi had the habit to use Decknamen (code names) for everyone and everything.

Another quirk is that they really liked euphemistic names for their nasty work. E.g. the operatives for the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (Main Directorate for Reconnaissance) of the Ministerium für Staatsicherheit (Ministry for State Security = Stasi) were called Kundschafter des Friedens (Scouts of/for Peace).


Did the Soviets and Eastern Bloc use VHS? And was their Polaroid camera a real Polaroid camera, or communist counterpart?

Funny how the Stasi agents unironically search the man’s apartment and disappear him for behavior harmful to East Germany’s reputation.


Oh – oh, oh I’m sorry. I would have tidied if I’d known you were going to break into my fucking apartment. Bitch.


People who shame me into cleaning up:

  1. My mum
  2. Anachronistic spy types

To be fair though, my mum never planted evidence or threatened me with death. More than once, anyway.


I would’ve gone with Le Samourai, the apartment bugging scene for style points.


This also puts me in mind of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Purloined Letter.
Not that it makes much difference. They were pretty thorough in cataloging everything deemed suspicious.


Genuine Polaroid, as there was no counterpart or knock-off in the SovBloc.
Other photographic equipment usually domestic - they had Zeiss Jena after all (Pentacon).

Usually VHS, at least in the GDR and the East-European countries. Stuff like that was officially imported and sold at the Intershop stores - for western currencies. Grey and black market imports available for barter or insane amounts of Mark der DDR. But the TV system was SECAM, licensed from the French, so massive problems with picture quality unless you could get a SECAM VHS machine or a converter.

I suppose that the MfS used all-western PAL equipment. Outfits like the MfS or MIL-ND could get western technology if they needed them for their work (or as status symbols for the upper echelons).

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A Soviet copier no less! Which seemed to be portable, which was interesting because Soviet (and Eastern European in general) technology wasn’t known for their miniaturization skills.

Just saw it Friday. Henry Hübchen and Michael Gwisdek are hilarious.

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