LIVING IN EAST Germany during the Cold War meant being watched. By your government. By your neighbors. And even, at times, by your own family. The East German secret police, one of the most intrusive and oppressive spying operations ever assembled, collected millions of files on people it suspected of being enemies of the state.
The German Democratic Republic dissolved in 1990 with the fall of communism, but the documents assembled by the Ministry for State Security, or Stasi, remain. This massive archive includes 69 miles of shelved documents, 1.8 million images, and 30,300 video and audio recordings housed in 13 offices throughout Germany. Canadian photographer Adrian Fish got a rare peek at the archives and meeting rooms of the Berlin office for his series Deutsche Demokratische Republik: The Stasi Archives. “The archives look very banal, just like a bunch of boring file holders with a bunch of paper,” he says. “But what they contain are the everyday results of a people being spied upon.”