Home » Books under preparation » Valentina Glajar, The Secret Police Dossier of Herta Müller: A “File Story” of Cold War Surveillance. Rochester: Boydell & Brewer, 2023

Valentina Glajar, The Secret Police Dossier of Herta Müller: A “File Story” of Cold War Surveillance. Rochester: Boydell & Brewer, 2023

Book under preparation in SRS’s Polirom series

This book is an in-depth investigation of Müller’s file, and engages with other related files, including that of her then-husband, the writer Richard Wagner. Valentina Glajar treats the files as primary sources in order to re-create the story of Müller’s surveillance by the Securitate. In such an intrusive culture of surveillance, surviving the system often meant a certain degree of entanglement: for victims, collaborators, and implicated subjects alike. Veiled in secrecy for decades, these compelling and complex documents shed light on a boundary between victims and perpetrators as porous as the Iron Curtain itself. 

(From Boydell and Brewer’s webpage)

The Secret Police Dossier of Herta Müller shows in fine detail how the Securitate infiltrated the lives of so many people. SECU included SECU officers, SECU informers, SECU translators, and SECU targets, or ‘privileged targets,’ who were able to travel abroad, bring back books published in the West, meet with foreigners, publish their books in the West, earn royalties in foreign currency – in part because of their willingness to cooperate with SECU. Were they just another version of the “sources” who informed on them? The ambiguity of the relationships of those caught up in the SECU network is striking. It was a slippery slope on which even Müller and her husband, the writer Richard Wagner found themselves for a while.” (Irina Livezeanu, University of Pittsburgh)

“The book illuminates the Romanian surveillance apparatus, revealing how targets, informers, and bystanders came to be (voluntarily or not) entangled with the Securitate, and also throws light on the complex lives of the German ethnic minority in communist Romania. The richness and interdisciplinary character of Glajar’s work make it equally appealing to surveillance studies scholars, Cold War historians, and Romanian and German studies specialists. Moreover, Glajar’s monograph stands out through its engaging tone, clear prose, and well-devised narrative arc. The reader often feels they are following a gripping story in which incisive, well-balanced analyses are combined with exciting details about twists and turns in the Securitate’s moves and Müller’s and the informers’ lives and decisions. To sum up, Glajar’s solid academic endeavor is an exciting read for both scholarly audiences and the general public.” (Ioana Luca, National Taiwan Normal University)

About the author: 

Valentina Glajar is Professor of German at Texas State University. 

You can find more information about Valentina Glajar here.