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The Stasi fashion show: East German spy archive showcases the art of disguise

I've been fascinated by the Stasi, the spy agency in the former East Germany, since I read Anna Funder's mesmerizing book Stasiland. So I was amused to see a set of archive pictures distributed by Reuters today that show Stasi officers playing dress-up back in the day.

Reuters

A set of undated handout pictures show officers of the former East German Ministry for State Security, known as the Stasi, presenting a series of outfits.

Reuters reports from BERLIN:

Spies from former communist East Germany demonstrate the art of disguise by donning fur wigs, fake mustaches and dark glasses in a Berlin exhibition of recently uncovered and once highly classified photographs.

German artist Simon Menner, who put together the exhibition "Pictures from the Secret Stasi Archives," said it should show how something that seems harmless, such as these images that could be shots from a spy film spoof, can harbor danger.

"These were used during courses on how to dress up and blend into society," the 33 year-old artist said. "They seem pretty absurd now, but it was meant seriously -- this is evil stuff." Continue reading.

Reuters

The exhibition runs at Morgen Contemporary in Berlin until August 20th. See more of the images gathered by Simon Menner in an article he wrote for the photography blog Conscientious. And if you can understand German, try poking around the Stasi archive yourself.