By John O Koehler
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Additional info for Stasi: The Untold Story Of The East German Secret Police
Many of those convicted in subsequent trials of carrying out the Fuhrer’s orders were executed by the Allies. The German supreme court has ruled the same way as the Bundestag on the order to shoot people trying to escape to West Germany, making the statute of limitations inapplicable to such cases. The ruling made possible the trial of members of the National Defense Council who took part in formulating or promulgating the order. A number of border guards who had shot would-be escapees also have been tried and convicted.
Werner Schofeld, Bonn, Military Counterespionage Service (MAD); archivists Günther Schreiber and Rudiger Stang, Berlin, who patiently helped me sift through thousands of documents from Stasi archives; William L. S. National Security Council and adjunct professor for international affairs at Georgetown University; Dieter Steiner, New York bureau chief for Stern magazine; Harald Strunz, chairman of the Association of Victims of Stalinism for Berlin and Brandenburg; Christa Trapp, a Stasi kidnapping victim now living in the United States under a different name; John Willms, former liaison chief of the 513th and 66th Military Intelligence Groups in Germany, under whom I served as an intelligence officer on several occasions; and attorney Jürgen Wischnewski, joint plaintiff in the murder trial against Stasi chief Erich Mielke, Berlin.
The fifty-two-year-old Haak took part in the Stasi’s 1981 Operation Scorpion, which was designed to pursue people who helped East Germans escape to the West. Proceedings against former General Gerhard Neiber, whose Stasi directorate was responsible for preventing escapes and for wreaking vengeance, were still pending in 1998. Peter Haak’s murder plot was hatched after he befriended Wolfgang Welsch and his family. Welsch was a thorn in the side of the Stasi because of his success in smuggling people out of the DDR.