This postcard took 44 years to reach its recipient because of the Stasi

Illustration for article titled This postcard took 44 years to reach its recipient because of the Stasi

In 1969, Günter Zettl was a 18-year-old student in Waren an der Müritz, a little town in East Germany. Zettl liked to listen to prohibited Western radio stations and one day he decided to participate in a music contest by sending a postcard. Unfortunately, the communist version of the NSA got it first.

The postcard was very innocent: It just had the name of the song and the band, The Creation, which Zettl says was his favorite at the time. But that didn't matter to the implacable monitoring apparatus of the German Democratic Republic. Like countless other letters, Zettl's postcard was intercepted by the Stasi, the German abbreviation for the Ministry for State Security that controlled every communication channel and every person in the communist state. The Stasi attached the letter to his file and that was the end of it.

Zettl's abandoned East Germany in 1983 to go live in West Germany. Then he moved to Spain until 2010, when he decided to return to his homeland. The Wall was long gone then and the archives of the Stasi were publicly available. Later, he decided to look himself up and, to his surprise, the postcard was there.


He then sent it to the radio station with an account of its odyssey. He's not going to win anything, but at least his story has served to highlight, once again, the arbitrary and stupidly absurd nature of the brutal regime that governed that part of the world from 1949 to 1990, killing and torturing many of its own citizens and ignoring the Human Rights of its entire population.

Oh well, at least we don't have to suffer this anymore: The NSA may intercept all your emails, but they allow them to reach their destination. We are so lucky.

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We are so lucky.

I don't like being spied on but we still enjoy many freedoms and a way of life that allows us to freely pursue our goals.