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Transcript of Hagen Koch
Hagen enjoyed a successful relationship with the Stasi as a Musterknabe, a poster boy for the regime. This led to him becoming the personal cartographer of Stasi official Erich Honecker.
Koch was also madly in love with his wife, a woman deemed GDR-negative by the Stasi. This resulted in an effort to separate him and his wife by arresting Hagen for producing pornography. This perceived betrayal by the Stasi broke down Hagen's idyllic relationship with the GDR and led to further complications years later when he retired from the Stasi.
He is a Caucasian male who is described as 'The man who opens the door [who] has a sort of glow about him—a bright face, receding hair and soft brown eyes’ (p. 154).
He was the personal cartographer to Erich Honecker
21 Years old when he drew the Line that represented where the Berlin Wall would stand.
He was a poster boy for the GDR and was described by Anna Funder as being Socialist Man
His interests revolve around maintaining and preserving the image of the Berlin wall.
Anna Funder appears to like Koch due to his exuberant and open personality, as such she does not condemn his role in helping to build the wall and separate Berlin.
He is heavily influenced by his past and is keen to contextualise his joining the Stasi to Funder.
Joined the Stasi after his father who was an ex-mayoral candidate running against the communist party and current primary school teacher was forced into having Hagen join the Free German Youth in order to prove his loyalty to the GDR. This action is what paved the way for Hagen to end up working for the Stasi
Hagen Koch was a firm believer in the values of the GDR.
His sense of values were instilled into him by the Free German Youth.
Themes relevent to the character
Outlook / Worldview
Historical / Political / Cultural / Economic context
Many of Hagen's choices were influenced by his father's role during his childhood. His father was forced to teach all the students the doctrine of communism, in order to atone for his opposing the communist regime. In addition do this, party influences on his father led Hagen to join the Free German Youth program. It is here that Hagen was inoculated with the political ideology and patriotism of the GDR.
Koch also explains his state of mind when he was painting the line, how he viewed all of the people on the West side as being 'enemies, looters and profiteers.'
Koch also kept a plate that hung on the walls of his former office in Stasi headquarters. The plate represented his defiance to the Socialist regime for what they had done to both himself and his family.
His courage is shown when discussing the attachment of the plate that he had stolen from Stasi. This action also shows his resistance of Stasi influence
The ingrained ideology in Hagen's mind allowed him to draw that chalk line, while being able to ignore the sounds of protestors on either side of him, stating that "[He] thought to [him]self that those in the west were enemies, looters and profiteers."
During the time in between the building and fall of the wall he lost faith and became dissillusioned with the GDR without ever completely losing faith in the ideals of communism.
However when the wall was taken down in 1989, a 49 year old Hagen Koch was one of the few ex-Stasi officers willing to speak openly on their involvement during that time. He is punished by the collapsing of the regime as the new government attempts to repossess his plate and in the process charge him with perjury. The charges are thrown out however with his only punishment from his being involved with the Stasi is a bad reputation as a thief.
As a child, his outlook of the rest of the world was limited, and controlled by communist, as such he perceived the West as being evil, highlighted by his socialist fuelled belief that Americans were dropping beetles to destroy East German crops and not in fact dropping food into West Berlin.
This Free German Youth also explained his positively optimistic outlook on the GDR.
Later on he becomes threatened by the power of the Stasi after they end his marriage.
I believe it can be assumed that in completely leaving the Stasi, that his views on the rest of the world have changed considerably, attributing nearly all taught to him as a lie.
Hagen Koch is related to the themes;
: as he was deceived by the Stasi as to the reasons why his life left him.
Remembering and forgetting:
As he chooses member the Communist state
He decided to show his defiance against the regime in the form of the stolen plate.
His values change drastically as he becomes increasingly aggravated and fed up with the treatment received by the GDR, especially when he is told he will not be allowed to attend his own father's funeral