I found “His Secret Life” (May 2022 issue) a fascinating tale. For those who might have sympathy for someone having an “ideological commitment to socialist ideals,” I recommend a visit to Stasi headquarters in Berlin, now a museum. Upon entering the main lobby, there is a bust occupying a position of honor. Marx? Engels? Lenin? No. “Iron Felix” Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka and architect of mass executions.
In the gift shop, I sought to buy an old commemorative medal of Iron Felix, for a fierce cold warrior friend. The elderly woman tending shop was appalled, asking in German if I had any idea who Dzerzhinsky was and discouraging the purchase. Not wanting to leave her with a poor impression of Americans, I returned the medallion.