'Das Leben der Anderen' and the cult of Feliks Dzerzienski

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Narrative knowledge is highly important for intelligence scholars and practitioners and cannot be left aside. The German movie 'Das Leben der Anderen' or 'The Lives of Others' by movie director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is a brilliantly visualized, realistic but romantic introduction into the daily life of citizens and the organization, tasks and corporate culture of the former 'Ministerium für Staatssicherheit', 'MfS' or 'Stasi' in the 'Deutsche Demokratische Republik' or German Democratic Republic, 'GDR'. Highlighting the (cult) figure of Feliks Dzierzynsky is used to bring a historical note on his importance towards the Soviet Union and East German intelligence community. In reviewing the structure of the 'Stasi' we argue the functioning of an intelligence organization without any form of oversight tends to become a totalitarian and arbitrary institution. The disappearance of the 'Stasi' and the cult of Feliks Dzierzynsky can be studied and researched as an evil narrative example within the history of the intelligence agencies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean journal of intelligence studies
Subtitle of host publicationCapita selecta
EditorsMarc Cools, Harald Haelterman, Herman Matthijs, Patrick Van Calster
Place of PublicationAntwerp
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9789050959247
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Intelligence organization
  • Stasi
  • Feliks Dzierzynsky


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