TOPIC : “ FRAU PAUL IS THE MOST DAMAGED CHARACTER IN ANNA FUNDER’S STASILAND “
MOST – uttermost, ultimate, greater, mass, bulk, to the highest degree
DAMAGED – harmed, injured, spoiled, vandalized, hurt, inflicted, corruption, impairment, suffering
CHARACTER – persona, personality, individual, human being, person, nature, spirit
STASILAND – Toletarian regime, the Stasi Regime, German Democratic Republic (GDR), “Antifascist Protective Measure”, East Germany, The Berlin Wall, “the secret walled-in garden”
CONTENTION = NO
IN FUNDER’S TALE OF THE HORRENDOUST ACTS OF THE TOLETARIAN REGIME, ALTHOUGH FRAU PAUL WAS ONE OF THE CHARACTERS WHOS SOUL WAS DAMAGED THROUGH THE HISTORICAL EVENT OF STASILAND, SHE WAS NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO’S LIFE WAS SPOILED
1. FUNDER’S STASILAND ALSO DEMONSTRATES OTHER VICTIMS STORIES, AND HOW THEY WERE EQUALLY VANDALIZED BY THE MONSTER OF THE GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLICS TORTURE AND STRICT RULES AND REGULATIONS, SUCH AS THE TALE OF JULIA BEHREND, A CHILD OF THE STASI REGIME WHO WAS ALSO PLAGUED BY THE BERLIN WALL TO THE HIGHEST DEGREE EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS BORN INTO THE GDR. MAKING HER A PURE CITIZEN. ( JULIA BEHREND, MIRIAM WEBER )
2. FUNDER’S INTERPRETATION OF THE TOLETARIAN REGIME ALSO REVEALS THE GREAT HARM LEFT BY THE REGIME TOWARDS THE PERSONA’S OF THE ORIGINAL STASI MEMBERS. AS THEY GO ABOUT LIVING IN A WORLD THAT DO NOT ACCEPT THEM, AND CONTINUING TO LIVE IN HOPE FOR THEIR LOVED WORLD TO SOMEHOW MAKE A RE-APPEARANCE INTO THEIR FUTURE LIVELIHOOD, ULTIMATELY CORRUPTING THEIR LIVES. ( HERR WINZ, HERR BOHNSACK )
3. HOWEVER, FRAU PAUL UNDOUBTEDLY ENDURED GREAT IMPAIRMENT AND SUFFERING UNDER THE STRICT REGULATIONS OF THE TOLETARIAN REGIME, AS FUNDER RE-TELLS THE STORY OF A MOTHER SEPERATED FROM HER TERMINALLY ILL CHILD AT BIRTH. THUS CREATING A PERMANENT “WALL THROUGH MY HEART” WHICH HAS SCARRED, BUT WILL NEVER TRULY HEAL. GREATLY IMPACTING HER FUTURE LIVLIHOOD AND RELATIONSHIPS WITH THOSE SHE LOVES ( FRAU PAUL + TORSTEN )
Anna Funder’s innovative non-fictional narrative “Stasiland” takes readers into the confusing, harrowing and often inexplicable world of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The citizens who resided within the communist rule of East German found themselves trapped within a dictatorship that exerted absolute control over it’s people. In Funder’s tale of the horrendous acts of the Toletarian Regime, although the character of Frau Paul was one of the characters who’s soul was majorly damaged throughout the historical event of Stasiland, she was not the only one who’s essence was spoiled. Many of the victim’s and sufferers of the Stasi regime livelihoods have resulted in similar turmoil and tragedy of her own. The impacts and similar level of hurt has occurred for the members of the Stasi, as they live their lives in abundant hope in the return of their beloved society. The individual stories of the damage endured by others due to the regime may contrast that of Frau Paul’s personal anecdote in some instances, however the amount of intentionally inflicted vandilization presented by the GDR has reached the same pinnacle level of the highest degree.
Frau Paul undoubtedly endured a great level of impairment and suffering as she pursued her life under the strict regulations of the Toletarian Regime. Funder re-tells the her victimised story through her narrative “Stasiland” of a mother seperated from her terminally ill child at birth. Thus developing and leaving a permanent “wall through my heart” which has left many scars, but will never truly heal. Frau Paul is a character of many long lasting ramifications from the acts of cruelty under the Stasi regime, particularly due to the fact the East Germany forcefully separated herself and her partner from their terminally ill son, Torsten, who was being treated in a prestigious West German Hospital causing her much pain, guilt and sorrow. As a final result, Frau Paul attempted to escape the sickening confinement via a train to Western Germany so she could be reunited with her son and be free from the GDR’s reign. This unfortunately failed and resulted in abuse by the Stasi officials in attempt to gain a sense of authority and control over her. Stasi members sent Frau Paul and her husband to the “High Pretty House” prison, where they were both held as jailbirds for five months. Here, Frau Paul endured horrendous acts, which would influence and reminisce in her “courageous” mind forever. She was compelled to sit on a “stool too small” for twenty-two hours, as well as being sentenced to four months of physically harsh laboural torment. Frau Paul’s experiences in attempt to flee from the ill treated situation she called home were a result of Stasi members venture for power and control over citizens liker herself. The physical and mentally inflicted pain caused by the Toletarian regime has now permanently left her crying “so silently, its more like leaking”. Frau Paul is continually reminded of her designated past in her new, present life as she is currently a tour guide around “Hohenschonhausen” prison telling not only her stories of the torture endured by the Stasi regime, but of other fellow prison inmates as well. Frau Paul comments “I hate this place, but im still here”. Her hatred for the GDR regime has not changed since the fall of the Berlin Wall as it has impacted her future livelihood and relationships with those she loves.
Funder’s Stasiland also describes in detail the memoirs of other targeted victims of the Stasi like Frau Paul herself and how they were equally vandalized by the monster of the German Democratic Republics torture, strict rules and regulations. The types of persecution experienced by the “antifascist protective measures” victims were strikingly different. The diverse range of abuse and maltreatment showcased by the Stasi Officials in attempt to gain control and authority of it’s subjects ranged in levels of gross physical harm and personal humiliation. Thus, making the torture experienced by all targeted citizens completely and utterly opposite from one individual to another. Funder describes the persona of Julia Behrend as that of a “Hermit Crab”, one who is “all soft fleshed with friends, but ready to whisk back into her shell at the slightest sign of contact”, however Funder soon develops an understanding as Julia’s story unfolds as to why the “straggly fair haired” woman has evolved in such a way. Julia was a child of the GDR and had no wish to leave the absurd world she grew up to knew, and she had no idea that the “orderly chaos” was doing her more harm than good. Julia’s first encounter with the Stasi came at a young age when she acquired a “Italian Boyfriend”, her relationship with the unnamed boyfriend from the west lead to intense Stasi surveillance her phone calls were taped, and her bags constantly searched. This lead to the end of the relationship for Julia, which made her distressed, however the deliberate ruination by the Stasi of Julia’s dreams to become a interpreter as they dictated her education and ensured she was unable to study at University. This was what ultimately devastated Julia, and “by no fault of her own, Julia Behrend had fallen into the gap between the GDR’s fiction and its reality”. Julia’s story comes with its similarities to that of Miriam, another birth of the GDR regime also made an “enemy of the state” at the age of sixteen. However as opposed to being refused education rights and the destruction of outside relationships, Miriams drastic attempt to leave the dictatorship resulted in her registration at “Hohenschonhausen prison” where she endured sleep deprivation torture for eighteen months. Miriam states that on the day of her release she felt “no longer human” as the dehumanizing acts within the claustrophobic prison she experienced left her psychologically wounded for life. Although both Julia and Miriam grew up within the restraints of the omnipresent government, officially making them Stasi citizens, their “parallel universe” was split in half as they were both spun “on swings and roundabouts” entirely opposite in nature. The forms of maltreatment and abuse both personality’s endured were completely different, yet they were both equally as harmful as that of Frau Paul’s.
Funder’s interpretation of the Toletarian Regime depicts that it was not only the targeted sufferers of the GDR who were harmed due to the event of “The Berlin Wall”. Funder’s narrative Stasiland also reveals and opens our minds to the great harm left by the regime towards the persona’s of the original Stasi Members. These individuals are now currently going about living in a world that does not admire, nor accept them. As a result these “lost souls” continue to live in hope for their beloved and trusted world to somehow make a re-appearance into their future livelihood, although it evidently will ultimately corrupt their lives. For many of the ex-Stasi officials, regardless of the destruction of the East German Barricade in 1989, the believers and the ex-Stasi committee continue to advocate its important and the necessity for its role in daily German life. The endorsers like the “ex-Stasi men” continue to do this by playing their “spy games seven years after the fall of the wall” in hope of the divider the regime that made them somebody, something that gave them the right to be powerful and naturally built their sense of pride, being rebuilt by future generations so they can once again live in the world they were brought up to know, as the GDR was their main source of comfort. Funder demonstrates this through introducing her audience to Herr Winz, the first ex-Stasi man she happens to meet. Funder remains astounded at the fact that the man continues to go about his day-to-day life in Germany as if it were still under the act of Stasi in counter espionage. Herr Winz is characterized by Funder as slightly eccentric as he endeavors to present her with a copy of “The Communist Manifesto” signed by himself. Herr Winz claimed to have worked for the regimes in counter espionage during the years of 1961 to 1990 as he stated “ I am here to tell you about the excellent work – the masterful work – of the Stasi in counter espionage”. The man lost in the past now happily resides as a member of the “Insiderkommittee” for Ex-Stasi men, a place in a society where he no needs to feel ostracized. Herr Winz is a man who obviously misses his past life, still accusing the West of Propaganda and continues to play out his “spy games” in every way he can, even when he was planning to meet Funder he stated “I will hold a rolled up magazine as a signal for when we meet at the hotel”. Funder wrote many more pages on Herr Winz, but her German publisher was forced to remove most pages when Stasiland was re-printed in the country because of legal action by the “Society for the Protection of Civil Rights and the Dignity of Man”, also known as the “Insiderkommittee”, further demonstrating that although the Wall has passed on, its spirit continues to live in the daily lives of its proponents as well as impacting their futures, ultimately corrupting their sense of spirit.
Anna Funder’s innovative non-fictional narrative “Stasiland” clearly demonstrates that Frau Paul’s story of hardship is one of a whole variety of horrible acts of brutality, yet tremendous acts of courage entangled within the narrative. All victims and Stasi members alike, their nature and spirits all being spoiled in some way due to the torturous, horrendous historical event that left “people crying and dancing on the wall” as it crumbled away for eternity in 1989.