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Katarina Witt says East Germany's secret police spied throughout her life

London, Sat, 04 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 4 (ANI): Katarina Witt, who shot to fame by winning two Olympic gold medals, has said that she was being closely watched by her own country's secret police, the notorious Stasi, than by any of her fans and followers.


East Germany's communist regime was determined that their 46-year-old figure skater, who is now a judge on hit ITV show 'Dancing on Ice', must not defect to the West.


It wasn't until the fall of the Iron Curtain that she discovered the horrific extent of their spying and how her most intimate moments had been monitored and recorded for 17 years.


"I discovered the Stasi had me in their sights when I was an eight-year-old figure-skating student," the Mirror quoted Witt as saying.


"I had been watched over my entire life - observed, spied upon, manipulated. When I eventually got hold of my Stasi file there were 3,000 pages, in 27 boxes. I was shocked and -horrified by the extent of it.


"I went through all kinds of emotions - anger, disbelief, laughter at the absurdity of it. You think, 'Oh my God - how can somebody spy on your life when you're only eight years old?'


"OK, by 19 I was an Olympic champion and the whole world knew me, so the government was afraid that I'd defect and damage the standing of the country.


"I could see why they might have been spying on me then, but not when I was a child. The files were as intimate as diaries, but also full of made up stories about me," she said.


The Stasi bugged skater's flat and reported on her health, her friendships and her stormy relationship with former trainer Jutta Muller.


On one occasion, Stasi agents even claimed to have listened in as she was having sex, even recording the exact time she began and ended the intimate encounter.


Born in Staaken, East Germany, Witt attended a school for athletically gifted children. In 1984, at the age of 19, she won gold at the Sarajevo Olympics and retained the title in Calgary in 1988.


Known as Kati, she became as famous for her sexy costumes and stunning figure as for her theatrical skating style. Time magazine called her "the most beautiful face of socialism" and later "Sex on Skates".


She won four World Championships and six European titles, but turned professional in 1988, which was an unusual move for an East German athlete at the time.


It sparked rumours that the star figure skater had co-operated with the Stasi and been given cars, a flat and other perks to persuade her not to defect, all of which Witt insists was untrue.


Then in 1993 a political activist accused her of having worked for the Stasi and betraying her friends. She demanded access to her files before they were made public and started writing her autobiography to set the record straight. (ANI)



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