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Wednesday, 7 June, 2000, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Stasi grave vandalised
Mielke who was buried on Tuesday
Erich Mielke was the head of the Stasi for 32 years
The grave of Erich Mielke, the former head of communist East Germany's Stasi secret police, has been vandalised just hours after he was buried.

Erich Mielke, the "Master of Fear" who ran the notoriously efficient Stasi from 1957 to 1989, was buried in Berlin on Tuesday.

He died on 21 May at the age of 92.

stasi information
Sacks of papers shredded by the Stasi before their building was stormed in 1990

People ripped up the flowers and wreaths that relatives, including Mielke's widow and son, had placed at the unmarked grave.

They did not damage the grave itself, a police spokesman said.

The family had moved forward the date of the funeral to avoid publicity.

Among those buried in the same Friedrichsfelde cemetery are German revolutionary socialists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, who were murdered in 1919.

Under Erich Mielke, the Stasi became the communist government's most effective way of maintaining power, with 85,000 full-time officers and a network of hundreds of thousands of informants.

Some estimate that as many as two million of East Germany's 17 million people worked in some way for the Stasi.

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20 Sep 99 | Britain betrayed
Fearsome Stasi held nation in its grip
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