Secret Police Files from the Eastern Bloc

Secret Police Files from the Eastern Bloc

Between Surveillance and Life Writing

Edited by Valentina Glajar, Alison Lewis, Corina L. Petrescu


Camden House



New essays exploring the tension between the versions of the past in secret police files and the subjects' own personal memories-and creative workings-through-of events.
The communist secret police services of Central and Eastern Europe kept detailed records not only of their victims but also of the vast networks of informants and collaborators upon whom their totalitarian systems depended. These records, now open to the public in many former Eastern Bloc countries, reflect a textually mediated reality that has defined and shaped the lives of former victims and informers, creating a tension between official records and personal memories. Exploring this tension between a textually and technically mediated past and the subject/victim's reclaiming and retrospective interpretation of that past in biography is the goal of this volume. While victims' secret police files have often been examined as a type of unauthorized archival life writing, the contributors to this volume are among the first to analyze the fragmentary and sometimes remedial nature of these biographies and to examine the subject/victims' rewriting and remediation of them in various creative forms. Essays focus, variously, on the files of the East German Stasi, the Romanian Securitate (in relation to Transylvanian Germans in Romania), and the Hungarian State Security Agency.

Contributors: Carol Anne Costabile-Heming, Ulrike Garde, Valentina Glajar, Yuliya Komska, Alison Lewis, Corina L. Petrescu, Annie Ring, Aniko Szucs.

Valentina Glajar is Professor of German at Texas State University, San Marcos. Alison Lewis is Professor of German in the School of Languages and Linguistics, The University of Melbourne, Australia. Corina L. Petrescu is Associate Professor of German at the University of Mississippi.


December 2016
13 black and white illustrations
252 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571139269
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, HIS010010, HIS014000
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Table of Contents

Introduction - Valentina N. Glajar and Corina L. Petrescu and Alison Lewis
The Secret Lives and Files of Stasi Collaborators: Reading the Files for Identity and Habitus - Alison Lewis
"You'll Never Make a Spy Out of Me": The File Story of "Fink Susanne" - Valentina N. Glajar
Witness for the Prosecution: Eginald Schlattner in the Files of the Securitate - Corina L. Petrescu
Collaboration as Collapse in the Life Writing and Stasi Shadow-Documents of Monica Maron and Christa Wolf - Annie Ring
Perpetrator as Victim in Jana Dohring's Stasiratte - Carol Anne Costabile-Heming
Before "It Gets All Wiped Out": Document-Affect and History-Effect in the Hungarian Performance Apaches on the Danube - Aniko Szucs
The Stasi Files on Center Stage: Life Writinig, Witnessing, and Memory in Recent Performance - Ulrike Garde
Surveillance and the Senses in a Documentary Portrait of Radio Free Europe - Yuliya Komska

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