Reference

"Stasiland" by Anna Funder

In the book 'Stasiland' Anna Funder tells stories from the underbelly of the most perfected surveillance state of all time, the former East Germany. Stasiland is a lyrical account of the courage some people found to withstand the dictatorship and the consequences for those who collaborated.

On 18th January 1989 the East German state issued a directive called Zersetzungsmassnahmen. The German word Zersetzung is harsh, and has no English equivalent. Zersetsung, as a concept, involves the annihilation of the inner self. The Directive recommended these methods:

"...The targeted spreading of rumours about particular persons with the aid of anonymous and pseudo-anonymous letters....making compromising situations for them by creating confusion over the facts....and the engendering of hysterical and depressive behaviours in the target persons.