söndag 12 september 2010

Travel Report #1 (Berlin - Stasi museum)

One of the reasons why we started this blog was to be able to share interesting destinations with you! So fasten your seat belts and join our tour to the former headquarter of one of the most notorious secret police agencies in the world!

Stasi is an abbreviation for Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS). Ministry for State Security in english. Even today, Stasi is considered one of the most notorious and effective secret police agencies in the world. When informants were included, Stasi had one spy per 66 citizens of East Germany. This means that they by far exceeded both the Gestapo and the KGB.

The Stasi headquarter was located in East Berlin, in the district of Lichtenberg. Today, the former headquarters is open to the public.

When entering the complex of buildings that served as the headquarter, we are struck first by the architecture. Several buildings built in a style that only the East Germans were able to achieve. In the middle we find the building on the picture above. This is were the museum is located.

The entrance is large and empty. Walls, pillars and the floor is covered in marble substitute. The decor is simple and consists of two giant state banners and a bust of Karl Marx. Entrance fee is paid to an elderly woman who does not speak English.

The museum consists of three floors. On the first floor they display all different kinds of equipment used by Stasi to monitor the population. Recording equipment hidden in trees, hats and the doors of a Trabant 601. Cameras hidden in birdhouses and behind buttons! Extremely interesting, yet a bit horrifying. The East German governments obsession when it came to controll gets more and more obvious.

The offices can be found on floor two. Erich Mielkes office is undoubtedly the most interesting room! Erich Mielke was the Minister of State Security between 1957-1989. When the Berlin Wall fell, his office was sealed with the purpose to preserve it to the future generations.

His office also has a very simple decor. Bright wooden walls and a wall-to-wall carpet. On the desk is a replica of the death mask of Lenin and several telephones. It is almost diffucult to imagine who this room once belonged to, and it´s even more difficult to understand that Mielke sat in that blue chair only 20 years ago!

On floor two you can also find a conference room, several other offices, interrogation rooms and the former staff cafeteria. Don´t forget to sit down for a cup of coffee!

On floor three we find a big collection of Stasi memorabilia. Gifts for long servicetime, honour gifts etc. Plus a collection of some rather impressive carpets!

Overall the Stasi museum is well woth a visit! In fact, it´s worth several visits! (Personally, I have been there twice, and there will be more visits!).
The museum gives us a unique insight into what once was East Germany's most secret ministry. A ministry guilty of more crimes than we can imagine.

More info and contact:

Stasimuseum Berlin, Ruschestraße 103, Haus 110365, Berlin.


Sincerely Erik

Product Manager

onsdag 8 september 2010

Abends ins Kino

When the East-Germans produced visor caps they filled the inside of the caps with sheets from newspapers before storing them, to protect them from damage. I have never payed any attention to these sheets of papers before, until yesterday. And it was truly interesting i must say! One of the best ways to learn more about a country is to read the newspapers! :)

This particular newspaper was printed on February 2nd 1988. The first thing i noticed was the Movie schedule! Or "Abends ins Kino" (Evening at the movies) as they said in the former DDR...
In cinema salon "Kosmos" they are showing the world-wide famous movie "The name of the Rose", starring Sean Connery and Christian Slater. Such west-produced movies was probably extremely popular. However, the East German government apperently had plenty of time to censor the movie, since it premiered 2 years after it was released in the West.

The car deal column also gives us some interesting reading! There is a lot to chose from, as long as you appreciate the Trabant or any of it´s Eastern Bloc cousins.
Out of the 36 cars for sale, i´m able to locate 11 Trabant 601. The rest of the cars are a mix of Wartburg, Lada, Skoda and a Moskwitsch 408. "Motor defect, otherwise in good condition. 300 D-Mark". As i´m glancing down the columns i realize that probably 50% of the cars for sale have some sort of serious defect. I have always wanted a Trabant, i just need to remeber to drive it carefully once i bought it!

Anyway, enough for today i think!
Here is a link to our Visor caps, remember that you might get a piece of East German everyday history as a bonus! :)

Sincerely Erik
Product Manager

söndag 5 september 2010


Welcome to the brand new official blog of GreatMilitaria.com!

Here you will be able to read about all the latest news! New updates and other news will be announced here. But we will also write about militaria in general, historical travels and a lot of other interesting subjects. Discounts for our blog-readers might also occur! So make sure you visit the blog often! :)

Once again, welcome!

Sincerely Erik
Product Manager

PS. Join us on Facebook under the name "GreatMilitaria"!