Jürgen Brand My Time In East German Prisons

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Inhaltsangabe zu „My Time In East German Prisons“ von Jürgen Brand

In September 1975, I filed my first application in Magdeburg for permission to leave for West Germany. After many attempts to dissuade me from pursuing my plans to leave, and following reports by IMs (unofficial informers for the Stasi, the State Security) that I was planning to defect, I was thrown in prison four months later.
Going on hunger strike a number of times and filing complaints during my time on remand had little effect.
Torgau hard labour prison had several Stasi liaison officers (VO) on site and many of the inmates were themselves police informers. I consistently refused to obey prison rules and forced labour and wouldn’t take part in political education (phrase-mongering). I also refused to take part in prison yard military drill. In this way I hoped I might be regarded as ‘undesirable’ and so be deported from the GDR to the West.
Of my four years in prison, I spent a total of 14 months in strictest solitary detention, where smoking, writing and reading was prohibited and mail from home was withheld. At night I had to sleep on a wooden board without a mattress.
Lunch was provided once every three days only, otherwise just two slices of dry bread, mornings and evenings. During interrogations, I was routinely insulted and referred to as antisocial pig, rat, scum, parasite, enemy of the GDR communists, criminal, louse etc. Stasi officers threatened that I’d never make it to retirement age, when I would otherwise be allowed to leave for the West.
All I wanted was to be free, but the state wouldn’t let me go. Their laws were inhumane; any kind of resistance or opposition by one of their citizens was punished with long prison sentences.
If you have ever been in a dark, cold cellar you’ll be able to imagine how dreadful it was to be down there for weeks and months at a time. Those in positions of authority during the GDR dictatorship were seldom prosecuted and are today living the good life on undeservedly high pensions, paid for by the taxpayer.

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