tv American Artifacts International Spy Museum Exhibit on Cold War Berlin CSPAN November 10, 2019 6:00pm-6:30pm EST
actions with the schools in the church and suffragists or especially his philanthropy that resulted in all of these great things for our community. that is what i would like them to walk away from. you can see in a lot of places fancy homes. this one is an elegant home. but it is really important that people understand that making his money off of the community,f the community, that money came back to us. that's what i really hope they walk away with. our city's tourist staff travel to laramie, wyoming to learn about its rich history. to watch more video from laramie and other stops on our tour, visit c-span.org/citiestour. you're watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. each week, american artefacts takes viewers into
archives, museums, and historic sites around the country. up next, we visit the up next, we visit the international spy museum to tour their exhibit on cold war berlin. our guide is lead curator alexis albion who explains how the city came to be divided after world war ii and shows us artifacts used by the east germans to spy on visitors and control their own citizens. alexis: hello. -- i'm lou alexis albion dr. alexis albion and am a curator historian at the international spy museum. we have the largest collection of espionage and intelligence related artifacts in the world. today, we will be looking at cold war berlin. after world war ii ended, germany was divided. between the victors. that's the united states, france, united kingdom and the soviet union. soviet union occupied the east and the other three countries,
the west. and that included the capital city of berlin which was also divided into four sectors, one for each of the victors, again with the soviets occupying the eastern zone of berlin and the three western powers occupying the western zone. this starts the division of germany and the division of berlin after the war. that division became concrete with the direction of the berlin wall in 1961. the wall was put up by east ostensibly to keep people out. in the years after world war ii and with the occupation of east germany and east berlin, by the soviets, hundreds of thousands of people in the east had been fleeing to the west. these numbers became larger and larger. it was a terrible drain of
and of skills in the east. , these large numbers, in the months leading up to august, 1961. the east germans called what we called the berlin wall the anti-fascist fork. it was ostensibly, as i said, to keep out the fascist, to keep out the west. but of course it did keep millions of east germans in as well. what is important to realize is the city of berlin was completely isolated within east germany. we had west berlin, set up as a political and economic system that was democratic and capitalist, completely surrounded by communist east
germany. berlin became a symbol of the division between east and west and between the communist and democratic systems in the cold war. it was a hotspot of the tension between east and west. the berlin wall itself was about 96 miles long, completely separating west berlin from east berlin. completely surrounding west berlin and again, cutting it off from the rest of east germany. we have a couple of pieces of the berlin wall i would like to show you. we have two authentic pieces of the berlin wall here. they were donated to the museum by a county which is outside of
east berlin. we shipped them over to washington, d.c. from germany and put them up here. most people, when they think of the berlin wall, they think of all the graffiti and color and designs on the wall. these are completely plain. that's because they were on the east side, where people were not allowed to graffiti the wall. it would have incurred some pretty severe penalties. one reason why they did not want people drawing on the wall was because having the wall be completely plain makes it easier for the guard to see people. it made them more visible -- lightlain, like gray or white background. seeing them without graffiti should around mind us -- should remind us of them keeping people
in. before the berlin wall was built, several million, 3 million people, crossed the border from east to west. after the berlin wall was put up, people did not stop trying to get out of east germany. about 100,000 people tried to get out and half that number were successful. we have some great stories about people who were successful. berlinmpt to cross the wall took a lot of bravery, but also a lot of creativity and imagination. in truth the berlin wall was not , just one wall, it was two walls. with a strip in the middle known as death strip. which could be guarded guard dogs, watchtowers, and so on. we actually had one wall, a death strip, and another wall. that was anss
extremely difficult feat. people came up with amazingly creative ways to get across that wall. we have a few examples, two families that build hot air balloons and able to float across into west germany. they made the balloon part out of sheets and other pieces of material, which they stitched together. two were able to make that trip. we have another extraordinary story. each three brothers, who managed to cross the border in different ways. one brother floated across the river in an air masters. another brother was able to zipline across the border. he took some fishing line, cableted it to a steel and shot it across the border using a bow and arrow and used it to zip across to freedom.
the third brother was act fully able to slide across with a -- fly across with a small light airplane. his other brothers mess among -- met on the others. these stories are stories of success. but of course there were many stories that ended in tragedy. let's go and look at some of those now. at least 140 people were killed trying to cross the berlin wall. some of those people were killed by border guards as they tried to climb the wall, they tried to cross the river, as they approached the wall. there were sad stories about people who were shot and died at the wall. some of the most tragic stories were about people who tried to cross the wall and their deaths were covered up. trying to escape from east germany was a crime. and it was seen as a terrible
reflection on the state. on the, -- on communism in general. even the fact that people wanted to try to escape wasn't -- was something the state needed to cover up. they were called in whenever there was a death of the wall. we have three stories about people who died at the wall and their stories were covered up. one really tragic story is about gerald, a worker in west berlin. one night it appears he may have had too much to drink and he stumbled into the area near the wall, stumbled close to the wall and the guards to the east shouted at him, warned him to go away. he was scared off by that and started running. he was then shot 177 time.
and he died at the wall. this does he came in, took away his body, covered up the whole story. his wife back in west berlin knew nothing, only that her husband had not come home that night. and she didn't find out until the records were opened in the 1990's of what had actually happened to her husband. it's even more extraordinary, he -- after he was killed at the wall, this nausea made up an entire cover story for his wife as to why he never returned read -- never returned. they went so far as to show her a file where they had staged photographs. this was entirely made up. she was not able to find out the truth until decades later. let's go look at another method in which people tried to escape
from east berlin. one method for trying to escape from east to west berlin is going across -- through a checkpoint, it was to hide within cars. here we have a cutaway of a popular car at the time. you can see some of the hiding spaces which people would try to fit themselves into in order to evade border guards. can you imagine sitting into the wheel well of the car? sometimes for hours on end without having to give it away. not everybody succeeded in this. border guards became very aware that people were trying to hide inside cars and would search them methodically. sometimes taking them apart completely. when they did catch people, we know sometimes they would make these people show where they had hidden and take photos showing. -- showing them exactly where it
was. these could be models for other guards. you can see women, children, adults of all kind. and the amazing places they would try to hide. the state security was known in east germany and anybody would have to be aware they were going to be spied upon. let's go look for the ways that's going to happen. here we are in a hotel and he berlin. it is supposed to be a hotel which was a hotel especially for foreign guests and had rooms in the hotel that were completely under surveillance by the stasi. the nickname for the hotel was stasi nest. here we have moderate -- wonderful artifacts that can show you the lengths the stasi went to spy upon visitors.
an ordinaryike cuckoo clock. of course it is not. it has been modified. if you take a close look, you may be able to see that behind the window, where the cuckoo would come out, is a tiny pinhole. behind that pinhole would be a camera, a very rare piece, a very wonderful piece. through the wall camera. somebody would be located on the others of this wall, looking through the eyepieces here. this long section would be going through the wall. the lens at the end would be behind the cuckoo clock camera here. while you were sitting in your hotel, you would be spied upon by somebody behind the wall. there are lots of artifacts in this room. every single one of them was some kind of device or concealment or surveillance. what is the best thing to use as
a concealment, something you would never think to conceal anything suspicious? we've got a few of these pieces here. one of them is a walnut shell. a bowl of walnut shells. on a table in your apartment. who would think anything suspicious about that? one of these walnut shells actually contains a one-time pad. it's a piece of paper that can be used for communicating in code. one-time pads were important ways of communicating secretly, because it is completely unbreakable. this bowl of walnuts was actually in the apartment of somebody in west germany who was a spy. and in fact, west german
security who were looking at the apartment and investigating it had an idea that this may not be what it looks like. they took a uv light and shined it over every single walnut. and for one of them it was a glow. that is because the glue used to stick the walnut together glowed under a uv light and they were able to find the one-time pad. here's another object you may not suspect at all as being anything other than an ordinary iron. once again, it was a concealment device. a stasi agent in west germany had this iron in her apartments. the bottom of the iron came out and she could keep in there some papers. one-time pads may be. what is clever about this is if somebody did come into the apartment and was looking around, she was able to incinerate the evidence.
of her espionage very easily by simply plugging in the iron. we have a number of pieces of clothing here which are again concealments for other cameras. is the pairvorites a gloves here that concealed camera. many cameras like this were usually used with two hands. you needed to use a secondhand -- second hand to wind the film on. adapt to were able to the camera to be used by one hand. what is important about that? it means it can be concealed in things like gloves so that it can be activated with just one hand. and therefore, it would not look suspicious if you've got a camera in your glove that you can activate with one hand, take secret photos and do surveillance. of course, even when you are visiting the international spy
museum, you are under surveillance when you are in east berlin. that surveillance can be seen in our office. office are in our stasi where a person could wash surveillance feed taking place in the hotel room. we have a lot of different artifacts in here all of which reflect the incredible expertise in doing surveillance. one of my favorite artifacts here is our bra camera. it was actually the invention of four stasi female officers. we have the file that shows how this was invented. they made a proposal to stasi because they said, especially during the summer months, there really wasn't any clothing that helped women conceal
surveillance cameras on their body. that would be unobtrusive. they devised this camera. you can see the lenses right in the middle. there is a wire that comes out from behind and the camera could be activated with this plunger here that would be in the pocket of your summer dress. we have some surveillance photos taken by this camera which you can see in the back, and the four women were given a reward for creating this, and as far as we know, the bra camera was used. it had a codename of minnow. we have a number of other artifacts here. some of our really exceptional artifacts are on the side. the chief of the foreign intelligence branch was marcus wolf, the notorious spymaster. he ran the foreign intelligence
branch for over 40 years and he was a master of doing so. one of his techniques he developed was developing people he called romeo spies. these were men and women who are especially trained to seduce their targets. they targeted secretaries at nato, others maybe not so young but women who are a little older, in their 30's for example. and was able to seduce them and get lots of intelligence out of them. the foreign intelligence server -- service had some extraordinary success in infiltrating the west german government, even up to the very highest levels of the west german chancellorship. marcus wolf had a reputation in the west for being extremely elusive. his nickname was man without a face and that's because although
western intelligence new of marcus wolf, they did not know what he looked like. they scoured photos that were coming out of east germany to find what this man looked like. it was not until the end of the cold war they were able to identify him. we have some artifacts from markus wolf himself. here's his full dress uniform here. we also have these elk horns. what are they doing here? markus wolf had a summer house outside of berlin which he like -- liked to use as a place to -- place to bring people who are comfortable. aile they were sitting having beer perhaps outside on the terrace, they were being recorded all the time. the elk horns had a bug planted in the back. we also have these beer coasters
here which belongs to markus wo -- to markus wolf. the leadership all has bunkers, where they can retreat to if there was any kind of threat of a nuclear attack. markus wolf also had his bunker. and he turned it into a beer house. he had these beer coasters are -- especially made. they have this cartoonish figure of a lynx which was his nickname. officers had to undergo quite a bit of training. we have a wonderful artifact here which all stasi officers received as part of that training. what we have on display here is called a stasi criminalist kit. espionage was of course a crime. how do you catch criminals with a criminalist kit? who was training to be a
spy catcher in east berlin would have taken a course at the university in east berlin. at the end of the course, they would have received this complete kit which is everything you need to catch a spy. you can see in it a lot of pretty mundane articles, a hammer, a screwdriver, a pair of to avoidubber gloves leaving finger prints for example. test tubes and other glass bobbles where you can store hair and fiber stables -- fiber -- it is an entire kit for a spy catcher. spy,u were caught as a there were serious consequences in east berlin. let's go take a look at aren't hair and room and see what may have happened to you. this is a prison outside of east
berlin. it is the actual door from one of the prison cells. this prison housed local prisoners, that maybe anybody who tried to escape from east berlin to someone who had been reported on by may be one of their neighbors or coworkers for having some ideas and thoughts that may not be compatible with the communist system, as the one who may be expected as having some links with the west, anything of that nature. people would be brought to the prison, injected to the interrogation, they may stay there for days, months. they did not believe in physical torture, they developed their own type of interrogation method that focuses much more on the psychological.
in the prisons, somebody might be subjected to very cold temperatures. or perhaps they would not be allowed to sleep for very long. asked to lie on a very hard to bed in a particular position with their hands by their sides. if they moved at all, tried to roll over, the guards would shout and they had to maintain that same position. it was all part of the stretching and breaking somebody down psychologically so that they would give the information which is what they wanted, or perhaps confronts -- confessed to crimes that they did or did not commit. even after somebody was released from prison, they might still remain a suspect. uniquesi had a really way of keeping tabs on them. you can take a look at that story next. -- when the stasi
wrought someone in for questioning, one other piece of information they may be collecting is a person's scent. they may have a person sit on a chair with a little piece of material, they would collect that piece of material and store it in a jar on a shelf with their name on it, just in case they needed to track this person. dogs were specially trained to track these smell. we have some of these scent jars with the yellow material inside them. the stasi had hundreds of these from different people that they stored in their headquarters. we have another artifact here of a similar nature. it is called a dog hormone kit. again, if the stasi wanted to track somebody around the city,
they might spray the female dog hormones on the mat outside of their apartment. or maybe even under the door. as the person walks out of their apartment, they would step on it and get the hormone on their shoe and specially trained male dogs who could track these hormones through the city, sometimes even for days. in 1989, the berlin wall fell, east germany doesn't exist today. the wall doesn't exist today. i remember very well when the berlin wall fell. i know increasingly visitors to the museum don't remember the berlin wall, don't remember east berlin. don't remember the cold war. and so here at the museum, we have this exhibit on cold war berlin, which to many of our visitors would be something they don't know about at all. i think it is important for us to remember that period of
history, to remember a time when a physical barrier divided people from the same country into two different societies and to remember the differences between those societies. east germany is an example of a surveillance state. we often talk about that balance between security and freedom. and east germany is an example where the emphasis was certainly on security over freedom. we think it's important for people to remember what a state like that was like. what it might have felt like and all the artifacts in here are giving people a taste of what it might have been like to live in a surveillance state like east germany. we have hundreds of artifacts in this museum today. we have just given you a taste of what is in our east berlin cold war berlin exhibit. we hope you come to washington, d.c., visit the museum and visit other exhibits on other aspects
of international espionage. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: you can watch this or other programs at any time by visiting our website, c-span.org/history. announcer: you can watch archival films on public affairs each week on our series, reel america saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv. here's a quick look at one of our recent programs. >> we interrupt this program for an nbc news special report. here is garrett godly. theood afternoon and here's latest information coming to us from east germany where a short while ago, government officials made the startling announcement that east german citizens will now have the right to leave their country to travel directly to west germany or to west
berlin. it will no longer being necessary for east germans leaving their country to travel through communist nations such as hungary, poland, or czechoslovakia. that is the route tens of thousands of germans have taken over the last several weeks. the announcement was made by the spokesman of a number of the euro pair the government has been under heavy pressure from the new political opposition and from the tens of thousands leaving the country. here's how the announcement was made on east german television this evening. >> [speaking foreign language] the right tosays cross through all border points between east germany in west germany. including east berlin and west berlin. that announcement was made at the news conference which was concluded a few minutes ago in
east berlin. two points to keep in mind, first of all, the berlin wall, the wall of concrete and barbed wire still stands. as of now, it appears to be nothing more than a symbol of the old iron curtain because east germaners will have the right to leave into west berlin itself. announcer: you can watch archival films on public affairs in their entirety on our weekly series, reel america, saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern here on american history tv. announcer: next we hear from sophia rosenfeld, who is the author of "democracy in truth: a short history." she talks about the long-held tensions among citizens in a democracy to determine what the truth is, rather than relying on an elite class to determine what the truth is for them. the robert