The Stasi, or East German secret police, were notorious as one of the most repressive and feared institutions of the East German Communist government — and they left behind an unsettling record. Images include Stasi agents in various disguises as they participated in training in the “art of disguise.” Without any context, they are almost amusing. But, as photographer Simon Menner writes, the photos “document the repressive measures taken by a totalitarian state in order to create terror and fear among the population.
In addition to the disguise photos, the files also contain Polaroids of homes prior to being secretly searched. Agents used the photos to make sure everything was put back in place, thus keeping the residents unaware that the Stasi had been there. Many found out only after the fall of the wall.