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Thread: Savchenko, Szolkowy, Steuer and.... Stasi

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Savchenko, Szolkowy, Steuer and.... Stasi

    Blades on Ice has written an in depth piece on all those "S"s above. I tried the Blades website but it doesn't give any synopsis of their articles as IFS does.
    It's an interesting read for all three of these guys in Germany. If you are not on subscription, and can get it at a newsstand, I would say get it.

    (can someone change the heading to spell Szolkowy properly?)
    Last edited by Joesitz; 07-23-2009 at 03:17 PM.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I have read it, and for me, much of it was new. I think in Europe the story was covered better.
    Briefly:
    Steuer was recruited by the Stasi when he was 18. One has to understand the paranoian communist government. 12% of the general public had spied on their neighbors. The population had to be careful what they said in public.

    Steuer never denide his Stasi connection, but he does not have a guilty conscience He had no choice. His skate training was dependent on the government. (It goes on and then) came the German Olympic Committee which declared no one could be credited to the Oly games of 2006 if there was Stasi connections in their past. They tried to force S&S to train with another coach. Ironically, the replacement coach had ties to the Stasi.

    It goes on how he got the Berlin Court to get him a limited credential for the 2006 Olys which would become invalid as soon as the Pairs Competition was over.

    The Bios of all of them follow and for him, it was interesting read how he got paired with Mandy. Aliona and Robin bios are quite interesting, too.

    I'm sure all of this was covered in the European press, but for we N.Americans, the story is clearer. It's a good read.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Here is an article about it from 2007, from the Golden Skate archives (translated by Ptichka).

    http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14557

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    Haven't read the article so can't say anything about it and just can tell what was written in German newspapers in 2006.

    In 2005 for the first time the NOK (German national Olympic commitee) screened all trainers, doctors etc. who would be send to the Olympic Games if they have any connections to the Stasi even though they were also a lot of questionings right after the reunification.
    Most of German sportmen are part of the Bundeswehr (German army) or the police so that they get paid but just have to work 1-2 month a year to train the rest of the time. For the (former) sportsmen from former GDR they had questionings before they entered the Bundeswehr and they were also asked if they had connections to the Stasi and Steuer said "No", he said that in 2003. Same he said to the NOK during the whole 90's.

    Also there has been a report by the Birthler-Behörde (Office of the Federal Commissioner Preserving the Records of the Ministry for State Security of the GDR) and it said that Steuer has written about 210 pages and that it was in a very detailed way. Experts said that it was rare for sportsmen to repost such "open denunciations" and "spying". Steuer was also paid by the Stasi (not sure if that was normal but I know that a lot of IMs were forced to do it and guess that it was not often to get paid). In the end the Birthler-Behörde said that Steuer was a "zealous and officious employee of the Stasi".

    So to conclude what was written in the German media Steuer wasn't just an IM like thousands of East-Germans were, a lot of them forced to do so because if they won't they themselves or friends or families would have to go in the jail. Steuer wrote quite detailed reports and also reported one of the other skaters (it wasn't written who the one was).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    ...I'm sure all of this was covered in the European press, but for we N.Americans, the story is clearer. .....
    You are right, all of it was known before. The last thing I read about it in German newspapers about half a year ago was that the German federation and Ingo settled their conflicts and that Ingo is going to be paid the training fees he was denied for years. I think I remember that Ingo (or his lawyer?) said at the time an agreement had been signed but he hadn't got the money at the time. I don't think that there will be any future problems for him, at least I hope so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diva View Post
    Haven't read the article so can't say anything about it and just can tell what was written in German newspapers in 2006.

    In 2005 for the first time the NOK (German national Olympic commitee) screened all trainers, doctors etc. who would be send to the Olympic Games if they have any connections to the Stasi even though they were also a lot of questionings right after the reunification.
    Most of German sportmen are part of the Bundeswehr (German army) or the police so that they get paid but just have to work 1-2 month a year to train the rest of the time. For the (former) sportsmen from former GDR they had questionings before they entered the Bundeswehr and they were also asked if they had connections to the Stasi and Steuer said "No", he said that in 2003. Same he said to the NOK during the whole 90's.

    Also there has been a report by the Birthler-Behörde (Office of the Federal Commissioner Preserving the Records of the Ministry for State Security of the GDR) and it said that Steuer has written about 210 pages and that it was in a very detailed way. Experts said that it was rare for sportsmen to repost such "open denunciations" and "spying". Steuer was also paid by the Stasi (not sure if that was normal but I know that a lot of IMs were forced to do it and guess that it was not often to get paid). In the end the Birthler-Behörde said that Steuer was a "zealous and officious employee of the Stasi".

    So to conclude what was written in the German media Steuer wasn't just an IM like thousands of East-Germans were, a lot of them forced to do so because if they won't they themselves or friends or families would have to go in the jail. Steuer wrote quite detailed reports and also reported one of the other skaters (it wasn't written who the one was).
    I don't know of any report of the Birthler Behörde; and I have followed the case very closely. There were some articles in the yellowpress which were not reliable at all; the reliable papers like Süddeutsche or FAZ didn't write anything about it though they have not been very kind with Ingo.

    Please give a link to your source.
    Last edited by viv; 07-24-2009 at 08:54 AM.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by viv View Post
    I don't know of any report of the Birthler Behörde; and I have followed the case very closely. There were some articles in the yellowpress which were not reliable at all; the reliable papers like Süddeutsche or FAZ didn't write anything about it though they have not been very kind with Ingo.

    Please give a link to your source.
    How informant Ingo was is not really clear even in the Blades article. The previous comment on this is a past GS article and which I believe did not give Ingo's side of the controversy. Blades does give his side of the story, at least from his point of view. Guilty or not? Moot!

    However, Blades does give some interesting Bios on Savchenko and Szolkowy as well as Steurer. Really worth a read. Other stories on V/M and P/T are also interesting from background points of view and not just medals.

    A photo of Sasha in her trademark Russian Split Jump is pictured from the rear of Sasha. Not the way to photograph a Russian Split Jump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by viv View Post
    I don't know of any report of the Birthler Behörde; and I have followed the case very closely. There were some articles in the yellowpress which were not reliable at all; the reliable papers like Süddeutsche or FAZ didn't write anything about it though they have not been very kind with Ingo.

    Please give a link to your source.
    I have seen it on television but now I also did some research and found this article about the repost I have seen (http://www.mdr.de/sachsenspiegel-extra/2537921.html. I would say it is a pretty reliable source cause MDR always followed the case (and also the whole career of Aljona & Robin at least for German TV ) very closely.

    Maybe my last post probably expressed something else but I won't judge him and say that he shouldn't be a trainer anymore or shouldn't get money by the federation. And of course I think that it was absolutely the wrong time to come up with something like that right before and also during a competition like the Olympic Games.
    Like Ingo said, the GDR was another state with another system and now twenty years after we should come on over this things especially when the IMs say honestly "Sorry" for what they did and see themselves that it was wrong. Maybe that's just my opinion - a person who never lived in former East-Germany and wasn't affected by the work of the Stasi - but what I don't like about that case (any many others) that it seems when people are still competitive (especially sportsmen in the 90's) nobody asks what they did in the past as long as they can win medals for Germany. But afterwards it is a big problem...
    Last edited by Diva; 07-25-2009 at 04:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diva View Post
    ...
    ...what I don't like about that case (any many others) that it seems when people are still competitive (especially sportsmen in the 90's) nobody asks what they did in the past as long as they can win medals for Germany. But afterwards it is a big problem...
    I completely agree with that.

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    Diva, there is also another question. No one cared about Steuer's past while he was just another coach. It wasn't until he started coaching one of the best pairs in the world that someone who's been sitting on the information all those years decided to come forth.

    This case bothers me on many levels. I'll try to explain if you forgive some pathos here. There are two issues - one is the legality of his case, and I won't even comment on that since I only know what I've read in articles. The other, though, is the question of "right" vs "wrong" and "good" vs "evil". The argument that "he had no choice"... It does have more than a grain of truth in it (though if reports are true, he did far more than was strictly necessary to get the authorities off his back). However, it still doesn't make it "right". And it bothers me that I don't think Steuer sees his former actions as "bad". Look, I've all done things we regret; I think, though, that we do them with an understanding that they are bad, and that if we get caught we'll pay the price. It would mollify me a great deal if Steuer said even something like "I was young, I thought I had no choice, and I therefore acted badly; I wish circumstances were different and I hadn't done it." In other words, I'm not opposed to excuses, what bothers me is the lack of recognition of the "wrong" of this. This blurs the boundaries for everyone - and that, I believe, is bad for everyone's morals.

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