Stasi files reveal hot stuff from the Cold War

NEW information found in the files of the former East German secret police, the Stasi, shows that the former communist regime recruited dozens of call girls to compromise western diplomats and businessmen.

Officially prostitution was a western bourgeois ailment that had no place in the socialist Utopia of the German Democratic Republic. Unofficially, it was an important tool in the war against the class enemies beyond the Berlin Wall.

Last week, the former German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, succeeded in court in having his 2,500-page Stasi dossier sealed. Along with his file, others in the Gauck Archive in Berlin can now only be scrutinised if the permission of the person they relate to is gained.

Yet thousands of yellowing files are still accessible to scholars and journalists. Last week the details of the sexual aspect to the class struggle was unearthed in several memorandums filed away by Stasi operatives.

One document refers to an unnamed British businessman who ordered the Stasi prostitute he hired while attending a Leipzig trade fair to bring along a whip, to have needles pierced in her nipples, to wear high-heeled leather boots, a leather costume, a shiny belt - items he had become familiar with in a brothel in Japan. For this he presented her with a 100-mark western note.

Not all the Stasi’s call girls were so exotic, however. In Leipzig in 1988, Stasi officials there set out their requirements for hiring ladies of the night: they were to be between 22 and 28 years old, 1.6 to 1.7 metres in height (5ft 3in to 5ft 7in), without family ties with "a driving interest to make contact with masculine and feminine individuals in nightclubs, restaurants and hotel lobbies".

In East Berlin, Stasi teams combed the streets looking for suitable candidates. The files name Monika G, 23, and Gisela S, 21, who were told their "criminal activities" would be overlooked if they agreed to sleep with the enemy for money and protection.

One woman, code-named Rose, supplied information on seven different westerners she was sleeping with at the same time in Leipzig, including a Belgian industrialist, an Irish buyer and a British electronics components salesman.

She was also seeing a member of the ruling socialist party from the city council. She gave 12 reports in all about her customers’ attitudes to the GDR, their links to alleged subversive elements inside the country and other tittle-tattle for which she was paid 50.

One woman, called Rosemarie Martin, was hired in Leipzig and given the Stasi name of Marion Forster. Aged 24, she was hired to root out lesbians and homosexuals who might be susceptible to blackmail. One file reports how she told of a homosexual circle among theology students in the city "who played games with electric toothbrushes".

The files would be comical were it not for the consequences of the reports the women, nicknamed "Mielke’s Maidens", after the Stasi chief Erich Mielke, made to their controllers.

Ms Forster received 600 for betraying a ring of a would-be escapers from Leipzig who had made contact with western businessmen. The conspirators received long jail terms.

The Hotel Deutschland in Leipzig was bugged by the Stasi and became a brothel where girls were instructed to take their customers. In the town of Warnemnde, the Hotel Neptune had many of its 338 rooms bugged and the barmaid, a woman named Ute, was a full-time Stasi employee.

"Sex and alcohol prove potent weapons in the war to defend socialism," reads one file. "It is an important segment in the defence of the state."