Ralph – A prisoner in an East German jail

This is the third and final part of Ralph Hänel’s story of his life in East Germany. In this episode, we hear his time in the Stasi prison in Cottbus which with its dark red brick façade was often referred to as the ‘Red Misery’. It’s a chilling insight into Stasi prison conditions and the … Read more

Ralph – Arrested and interrogated by the Stasi

Ralph Hänel continues the story of his life in East Germany. We hear of Ralph’s arrest by the Stasi and subsequent interrogation for 10 months. Ralph describes in some detail the arrest and his early days of imprisonment. He also details the techniques used to try and make him break and the pressure the Stasi … Read more

Ralph – DJing and Kung Fu in East Germany

Ralph Hänel tells some unique, strange and funny short stories about childhood and youth in East Germany. We talk about the experiences of his parents in the closing stages of World War 2, his schooling, and how he became a DJ, winning a trip to the Soviet Union. Ralph is a great raconteur with virtually … Read more

My father was a Stasi spy…

Werner Stiller’s spectacular defection to the West in 1979 inflicted one of the Cold War’s most serious blows to the Stasi. At the time he was working as a case officer for the Main Directorate for Reconnaissance, the Stasi’s foreign intelligence division, where he was in charge of scientific espionage in the West. We speak … Read more

Stasi Infiltration of the East German Church

    When the Berlin Wall came down, the files of the East German secret police, the much-dreaded Stasi, were opened and read. And among the shocking stories revealed was that of the Stasi’s infiltration of the Church.  The Lutheran Church was the only semi-free space in East Germany, where those who rebelled against the … Read more

Episode 64 – Arrested by the Stasi on an East Berlin day trip

Todd Anton was arrested by the Stasi while on a day trip to East Berlin and gives a raw and powerful account of his arrest, interrogation and eventual release. If you’d like to support us then from the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us cover our increasing costs and … Read more

75 – Cold War Spy Stories from Eastern Europe

Today we’re talking to  Alison Lewis, a professor in German at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of several books, including one in German about love and gender in literature during Germany’s reunification and a book in German about the Stasi’s infiltration of the literary underground. We spoke to Alison in episode 71. … Read more

Episode 12 – “My Stasi file is as thick as a phone book”

Welcome to Episode 12 of Cold War Conversations. Today’s guest is someone I’ve been trying to speak to for some time as his story is a particularly fascinating one. We’re chatting with Mark Reeder a musician and music producer who has been involved in the Berlin and international music scene since 1978, starting as Factory Records … Read more