A large number of documents about the East German regime were released into the public domain following the revolution of 1989. As a result, it is now possible to study the history of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in greater detail than that of any other communist state. Much has already been written about the functioning of the East German Socialist Unity Party or SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschelands), whose corruption and apparently myopic resistance to change have stunned observers; so, too, detailed studies of the East German secret police (Stasi) have begun to appear.1 Yet much that is important about the East German state is still hidden and is likely to remain so.