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Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Hilariously Bad Disguises of the German Secret Police


Check out these great cold war-era photos of some totally normal East German citizens, who are definitely not members of the secret police! How innocuous they are, these completely non-suspicious-looking gentlemen, who could not possibly be Stasi officers in disguise, especially not the fellow in sunglasses and the enormous fur coat with the upturned collar. Nope, just some regular guys.

Psych! I know you were totally fooled, but these are photographs of Stasi officers participating in a course called "art of disguising." In fact—I know this will come as a shock—the first two photographs are of the same guy. Don't act too surprised!

The photos, discovered by Berlin-based artist Simon Menner in the Stasi archives, are from an internal course called "art of disguising" (and what an art it is!); Menner has an exhibition in Berlin at the Morgen Contemporary called "Pictures from the Secret Stasi Archives," featuring these photos and others. (Also included: "snapshots of private homes taken by Stasi agents before they conducted secret searches," used to restore an apartment to its pre-search condition.)