* 1912 IN BERLIN
“MOST OF THE PEOPLE HE KEEPS COMPANY WITH BELONG TO THE POLITICAL UNDERGROUND.”
The Ministry of State Security (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, or MfS) reaches this conclusion regarding Bruno Winzer in 1985. Much to the chagrin of the Stasi officer responsible, the report goes on to state that, “The list of proposed sanctions was re- jected by Com.[rade] Minister. (W.[inzer] knows too many comrades from the MfS and the government.)”
Bruno Winzer has a remarkable career in the GDR. He works for the national television until he is fired in 1962 for his public tirades against the GDR and leading officials. He becomes a freelance author. His wife divorces him and returns to the West with both their sons in 1965. The success of his autobiography, “Soldat in drei Armeen” (“Soldier in Three Armies”), attracts a lot of attention. However, his dissatisfaction with the GDR grows, and he feels neglected by the MfS. Winzer seeks contact with western journalists and diplomats, as well as members of the opposition in the GDR. In 1978, he and his new wife protest against the purchase of war toys at Berlin’s central Alexanderplatz. The police quickly intervene.
I realised that, against all assurances to the contrary, the West German Ministry of Defence is preparing a war of aggression.
From then on, the couple are subject to intensive monitoring by the MfS, and it is determined that Winzer “has developed into an enemy.” He is no longer allowed to make public appearances, but is still under the protection of Stasi bosses Erich Mielke and Markus Wolf. The MfS increases his monthly allowance from 2.000 to 2.800 GDR marks, gives him a colour television and begins providing him with western luxury foods and cosmetics. Although the Stasi know that the Winzers will not return to the East, they approve the couple’s application for a trip to West Germany at the end of 1987. As a special farewell, Winzer would like to leave the contents of his flat to the East Berlin Samaritan parish and their pastor, the well-known oppositionist Rainer Eppelmann. The MfS prevents the donation from going through.