Zersetzung 2

The project is a reflection about psychological manipulation named „Zersetzung” (Decomposition, dissolution) which used by Stasi in East Germany.
This psychological warfare technique the secret police used to silence political opponents by repression. Their private, social, professional life was ruined and put these people into depression and suicidal condition. The main forms of this kind of manipulation were undermining self-esteem, social isolation, family dissolution, invasion in private space, increase anxiety, paralysis, disorganization, hostile, abuse, disorientation, street theater, depersonalization, child alienation, social undermining, blackmailing, stalking, perception fragmentation, repeated disappointed.
This project contents multi exposition shots and Stasi photo documentation as a subjective and objective reality.

„…not many East Germans tried to fight against the Communist regime. If yes, the Stasi often used a method which was really diabolic. It was called Zersetzung, and it’s described in another guideline. The word is difficult to translate because it means originally “biodegradation.” But actually, it’s a quite accurate description. The goal was to destroy secretly the self-confidence of people, for example by damaging their reputation, by organizing failures in their work, and by destroying their personal relationships. Considering this, East Germany was a very modern dictatorship. The Stasi didn’t try to arrest every dissident. It preferred to paralyze them, and it could do so because it had access to so much personal information and to so many institutions. Detaining someone was used only as a last resort.”
„…have a short look at the history of the Stasi, because it’s really important for understanding its self-conception. Its origins are located in Russia. In 1917, the Russian Communists founded the Emergency Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, shortly Cheka. It was led by Felix Dzerzhinsky. The Cheka was an instrument of the Communists to establish their regime by terrorizing the population and executing their enemies. It evolved later into the well-known KGB. The Cheka was the idol of the Stasi officers. They called themselves Chekists, and even the emblem was very similar, as you can see here. In fact, the secret police of Russia was the creator and instructor of the Stasi. When the Red Army occupied East Germany in 1945, it immediately expanded there, and soon it started to train the German Communists to build up their own secret police.”
Hubertus Knabe | TEDSalon Berlin 2014 “The dark secrets of a surveillance state”.

The Stasi, or Ministry for State Security (German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS) by its full name, defined Zersetzung in its 1985 dictionary of political operatives as:
… a method of operation by the Ministry for State Security for an efficacious struggle against subversive activities, particularly in the treatment of operations. With Zersetzung one can influence hostile and negative individuals across different operational political activities, especially the hostile and negative aspects of their dispositions and beliefs, so these are abandoned and changed little by little, and, if applicable, the contradictions and differences between the hostile and negative forces would be laid open, exploited, and reinforced.
The goal of Zersetzung is the fragmentation, paralysis, disorganization, and isolation of the hostile and negative forces, in order to preventatively impede the hostile and negative activities, to largely restrict, or to totally avert them, and if applicable to prepare the ground for a political and ideological reestablishment.
Zersetzung is equally an immediate constitutive element of “operational procedures” and other preventive activities to impede hostile gatherings. The principal forces to execute Zersetzung are the unofficial collaborators. Zersetzung presupposes information and significant proof of hostile activities planned, prepared, and accomplished as well as anchor points corresponding to measures of Zersetzung.
Zersetzung must be produced on the basis of a root cause analysis of the facts and the exact definition of a concrete goal. Zersetzung must be executed in a uniform and supervised manner; its results must be documented.
The political explosive force of Zersetzung heightens demands regarding the maintenance of secrecy.”
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