Hubertus Knabe studies the history of torture, oppression and surveillance in former East Germany.

Why you should listen

Hubertus Knabe is a historian and the scientific director of Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, where he studies the inner workings of the East German Ministry of State Security (MfS) -- or Stasi -- between 1945 and 1989. The memorial, once the main torture prison used by the Stasi, is devoted to raising awareness of the brutal oppression that once stemmed from the agency. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall Knabe was under surveillance himself, for smuggling banned books from the East into West Germany. He is the author of over a dozen books on German history, including 17. Juni 1953 - Ein deutscher Aufstand.

Hubertus Knabe’s TED talk