I have spent an embarrassing amount of time and effort on this book and, in the process, relied on the help and advice of more people than I was entitled to expect. Supportive representatives of the East German Administration of Justice provided access to the Lüritz records. Experienced colleagues mediated during my negotiations with data protection officials. Patient archival staff fetched one bundle of files after the other from their cellars and deposits. At the Lüritz Magistrate Court and the Prosecutor’s Office in Neuburg, I graciously was provided with the space, the explanations and the help I needed to find my footing in an unfamiliar work environment. The many partners to my interviews—above all, Frau Rüstig, Frau Walter, and Frau Neuman—described as honestly and as precisely as they could what it meant to be a judge, and to be judged, under Socialism. The German Volkswagen Foundation generously financed my many trips to Lüritz, to Neuburg, and to Potsdam. And my family, throughout all these years, bore up with loving equanimity under my many journeys to the sources.
If I misread my data, misunderstood my witnesses, or missed out on important aspects of my story, I have only myself to blame. I have tried hard to get things right. There were times when I thought that this book never would get done. Here it is.