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Persistence Alone

My grandfather grew up in a small apartment in Lawrence, Massachusetts with fourteen older brothers and sisters. His mother stayed at home to watch after the family, and his father worked in a dry goods store.

His parents came from Italy to Ellis Island with no money. He grew up poor.

When he was ten or so he began to work at the dry goods store as well. His job was mainly to run into the rat infested basement and get tins of spaghetti to bring upstairs. He was allowed to keep a portion of the money, but most of it went to his parents.

Stasi: How The East German Government Maintained Their Police State


The Deutsche Demokratische Republik was run as a police state, with as many as one-sixth of the population working as internal security, spies, or informants against their neighbors.

The lifeblood of the East German Police State was the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit; colloquially, the "Stasi." 

You can tour the old Stasi Headquarters today. It's preserved as the Stasi Museum with a mix of preservation of the old office setup, cold war espionage and security artifacts and gadgets on display, propaganda, accounts of prisoners and rights activists, accounts of resistance action and how goods promoting freedom and democracy were promoted in East Germany, and accounts East German culture.

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