English language texts; there is, naturally, a plethora of source material
on the GDR criminal justice system written in German, Russian, and
other foreign languages. General notes regarding sources are given at
the beginning of a discussion. An extremely useful source for current
news about Germany (East and West) is the German Tribune (published
by Friedrich Reinecke Verlag GmbH, Hamburg); this weekly publication
prints English translations of articles appearing in German newspapers.
All translations from German are by the author, except for those in
English-language books which had already been translated. The use of
German words has been kept to a minimum, but given the German penchant for long words, it is necessary to use abbreviations in the book.
The ones most frequently used are listed under "Abbreviations."
The paucity of printed material available has led the Academy of Criminal
Justice Sciences to solicit curricula and bibliographies for comparative courses;
the immediate success of the publication, for which I submitted the section pertaining to the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), prompted the
ACJS to issue an additional volume that provided similar materials pertaining
to other countries. Further evidence of a growing interest in comparative criminal justice can be seen in the large number of sessions and paper presentations
in professional conferences. For example, at the annual conference of the American Society of Criminology during each of the past few years, more than
a hundred papers pertaining to international systems have been presented.
The People's Police are also referred to as the DVP or VoPo (a term often
used in FRG literature). Members of the Ministry for State Security are often
referred to as Stasi (an abbreviation of the term Staatssicherheitdienst, which
means state security service (SSD). There were, of course, other agencies in the GDR responsible for preventing crime or apprehending violators, such as the
Customs, Border Troops, and the National People's Army (under certain circumstances).
I have lived in the GDR for nearly two years. In 1985 I stayed in the GDR
for three months under a grant from the International Research and Exchanges
Board to study the legal system, particularly the social courts. In the summer of 1986 I returned for five weeks to continue this study and to examine the institution of "social accusers" and "social defenders." From May to December 1987, I
was in the GDR (with grants from the Fulbright-Hays Training Act and from the International Research and Exchanges Board) to make a study of lay judges
similar to the research done in the FRG. In the summer of 1989, I returned for
one month with a grant from the American Philosophical Society to investigate
the policing system. Again under IREX I stayed in the GDR from January to July
of 1990 to complete the manuscript for this book.
Naturally, the nature of police work necessitated secrecy on certain points.
For example, when an officer outlined the problems arising from the sudden
transfer of billions of FRG currency into the GDR, he could not explain the
specific measures to be taken to prevent theft.