Another mini-bombshell went off in the discovery of the Stasi’s activities: as many as 189,000 were employed as “unofficial” agents of East Germany’s security services just at the time of the fall of the Berlin. Mainly motivating them: political ideals and money, not force. That number is staggering. Not only does it reveal the penetration of the state into the private lives of citizens, but also the extent to which citizens were willing to participate in their own repression.

Images from the DDR comic Mosaik in Die Welt.

So much for the notion that American children know less of their history  than other children: a study by the Free University of Berlin shows some surprising misunderstandings about the DDR among German school children. Some show a deepening east-west division concerning the memory of the Cold War: pupils in former East Germany were far less likely to consider the DDR a dictatorship/authoritarian regime, as well as less likely to see the DDR as less intolerant than the BRD.

Even better: 13.6% believe the Allies built the Berlin wall, 1.9% specified the USA; 46% said the USSR; and 3.9% said West Germany.