On Episode 15 of the Radio GDR Podcast, former Radio Berlin International employee Steve Winkler talks to us about life growing up with parents who worked for the GDR’s Diplomatic Service. It later transpired that Steve’s Dad worked for Markus Wolf’s HVA, the Stasi’s Foreign Intelligence Service.
East Germany’s HVA is regarded by some as the most effective foreign intelligence service during the Cold War.
What was the East German HVA exactly?
The Main Directorate for Reconnaissance (German: Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung, HVA) was the foreign intelligence service of the Ministry of State Security (Stasi), the main security agency of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), from 1955 to 1990.
The HVA was an integral part of the Stasi, responsible for operations outside of East Germany such as espionage, active measures, foreign intelligence gathering, and counterintelligence against NATO-aligned countries and their intelligence agencies.
The Stasi was disbanded in January 1990 and the HVA’s mode of operation was revealed to the public, including internal structure, methods, and employees. The HVA became the subject of broad interest and intensive research under the responsibilities of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records. The HVA is regarded by some as the most effective foreign intelligence service during the Cold War.
Check out Steve’s interview all about life working at East Germany’s Radio Berlin International