Elisabeth Braw on the Stasi’s Cold War Espionage Campaign inside the Church

calendarclock - (BST)

A presentation by Elisabeth Braw, Senior Research Fellow, Modern Deterrence, RUSI, on the real-life cloak-and-dagger story of how East Germany’s notorious spy agency, the Stasi, infiltrated churches here and abroad. 

East Germany only existed for a short forty years but in that time the Stasi developed a highly successful ‘church department’, using persuasion rather than threats, that managed to recruit an extraordinary stable of clergy spies. Pastors, professors, seminary students and even bishops spied on colleagues, other Christians and anyone else they could report about to their handlers in the Stasi.

Thanks to its pastor spies, the Church Department (Department XX/4) knew exactly what was happening and being planned in the country’s predominantly Lutheran churches. In her lecture, Elisabeth will discuss the Stasi’s pervasive church espionage and how it failed in its mission to thwart the church-led protests that erupted in 1989 and brought down the Berlin Wall.

Speaker Biography

Elisabeth Braw directs RUSI's Modern Deterrence project, which focuses on how governments, business and civil society can work together to strengthen countries' defence against existing and emerging threats. Prior to RUSI, she worked at Control Risks following a career as a journalist where she reported from the United States, Germany, Italy and other countries. She remains a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, the Times and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, focusing on European defence and security, and frequently speaks at conferences. Elisabeth has also been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford. A native of Sweden, she attended university in Germany, finishing her Magister Artium degree in political science and German literature with a dissertation on nuclear weapons reduction in Europe. 

This event is open to all RUSI members. To become a member, please click here.

Refreshments will be served from 1215.

To attend this event, please register online using the "Register Now" button above. If you have any queries, please contact Annalinda Riley at reception@rusi.org or call +44 (0)20 7747 2600.

Explore our related content