For Silke Orphal and Ilona Seeber, the decision to apply for exit visas from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was scandalous. They were accused of treachery and shunned by their colleagues at Neues Deutschland, the official newspaper of the Socialist Unity Party. Little did they know, their lives were about to be torn apart by the Stasi, the all-powerful East German secret police.
Today, thirty years after the Berlin Wall fell, Silke and Ilona have access to the secret files the Stasi compiled on them, including intercepted letters and official documents. Through their eyes, and the eyes of investigative reporter Axel Rowohlt, we learn how the Stasi spied on them for years, subjecting them to threats, interrogations that lasted hours and meticulous surveillance of their daily lives. What did it take to survive this kind of persecution and how do they look back on that experience today? This is their story.