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The Stasi Museum, Berlin

The Stasi museum is well hidden. I had to ask directions twice, and still I was wandering around some estate where I was told it was supposed to be. It was only when I was about to give up that I saw a clock with something on it, something that’s hard to describe so I won’t. The truth is I can’t remember what it had on it. I’d written down “Nastasi used to be howls here” but that can’t be right. I didn’t write that. My notes have become distorted.

A car passed me. A man got out and tried an entrance a bit further down – glass doors behind a sculpted concrete facade. I tried the same doors. It looked like it might be the museum, though I wasn’t sure. There was a bust of Karl Marx, so I guessed it probably was.

Rooms are set out as they would have been, with 70s furniture, phones and electronic typewriters. There’s a lot of work. Wood cabinets, one containing a tape recorder. and busts of Karl Marx. There’s a functional canteen with similar decor, which took me by surprise since one of the preserve offices and straight into it so it feels like you’ve walked into a museum piece with live actors.

I buy a coffee for one euro and sit down on a very low-slung chair. The woman running the canteen contract looks like she might have been running it in Stasi days, turns on the TV. A video about the Stasi plays. It’s all in German, like the info in the rest of the museum, so I don’t understand much, but there are some good images of goose-stepping, which is always worth watching.