G8 + Stasi = luxury German resort

If you haven’t seen this year’s Oscar winner for best foreign language film, The Lives of Others, put it at the top of your Netflix queue. It’s a fascinating portrait of East Germany in its twilight and the lengths to which the Stasi, the country’s secret police, routinely went in order to maintain control and ...

601828_070517_tloo_05.jpg
601828_070517_tloo_05.jpg

If you haven't seen this year's Oscar winner for best foreign language film, The Lives of Others, put it at the top of your Netflix queue. It's a fascinating portrait of East Germany in its twilight and the lengths to which the Stasi, the country's secret police, routinely went in order to maintain control and get ordinary Germans to inform on one another. 

The film has sparked intense international interest in the fates of former Stasi agents, a topic of much obsession in Germany since the fall of the Berlin wall. Don't miss the WSJ's look today at Axel Hilpert, a former Stasi agent who has since made a fortune in real estate. This week, he's renting out one of his luxury resorts ... for the meeting of the G8 finance ministers. 

Here are some sordid details on Hilpert's past in the secret police:

If you haven’t seen this year’s Oscar winner for best foreign language film, The Lives of Others, put it at the top of your Netflix queue. It’s a fascinating portrait of East Germany in its twilight and the lengths to which the Stasi, the country’s secret police, routinely went in order to maintain control and get ordinary Germans to inform on one another. 

The film has sparked intense international interest in the fates of former Stasi agents, a topic of much obsession in Germany since the fall of the Berlin wall. Don’t miss the WSJ‘s look today at Axel Hilpert, a former Stasi agent who has since made a fortune in real estate. This week, he’s renting out one of his luxury resorts … for the meeting of the G8 finance ministers. 

Here are some sordid details on Hilpert’s past in the secret police:

In 1986, Mr. Hilpert delivered a former East German army doctor and his wife into the Stasi’s hands, according to an affidavit by a Stasi officer on the case. The couple wanted to escape to the West via Hungary. Mr. Hilpert — who befriended them over several months — offered the couple the use of a vacation apartment owned by [a fake company used as a front for the secret police] on Lake Balaton in Hungary. In the apartment, which was bugged, the Stasi gathered the evidence it needed about the couple’s escape plans. And it then arrested them. The doctor got a four-year prison sentence, his wife six months.

The couple never even suspected Mr. Hilpert: The wife apologized to him later for the trouble caused, according to the affidavit.

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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