Eine deutsche Geschichte zwischen Auschwitz und Staatssicherheitsdienst
(1910-1976) (Cologne: Bohlau, 2011); Jorn Happel, "Die Sowjetunion erklaren: Gustav Hilger im deutsch-sowjetischen Jahrhundert" (Habilitationsschrift, Universitat Basel, 2015).
In 1987, some members of the East German Protestant Church expressed their disapproval of the Honecker regime's failure to adopt Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) and criticized the state's practice of using Staatssicherheitsdienst (State Security Service, commonly known as "Stasi") agents to arrest SED opponents meeting in church space.
In a notable example of the ambiguous church-state relations in the DDR, although Thomas worked as an unofficial collaborator (Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter) of the Staatssicherheitsdienst, (20) he had an unfavorable reputation among SED leadership circles primarily due to critical comments that he had expressed while serving as the editor-in-chief of the Mecklenburgische Kirchenzeitung (Mecklenburg Church Newspaper), and the government had opposed his appointment as the new editor-in-chief of Die Kirche in 1986.
The intimidation measures (no access to higher education and harassment by the Staatssicherheitsdienst
, the East German secret police) aided in the formation of strong solidarity groups.
The Stasi (short for Staatssicherheitsdienst
, or state security police) consisted of a network of about eighty-five thousand full-time employees and over one hundred thousand informers who collected vast amounts of information used to intimidate the citizens of the, GDR and eliminate any active opposition against the regime.