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Photos Reveal the Stasi Art of Disguise

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East Germany's feared secret police had a bit of a sartorial flair, photos found by artist Simon Menner in the Stasi archive reveal. The images, which offer a glimpse into the clandestine world of phony facial hair and the all-important hat, are set to be published in a book this fall.

A series of old photos documents an unlikely confrontation. On one side of the room stand members of the East German secret police outfitted in official atire. On the other side is a motley mix of subversive characters and nonconformists: environmental and peace activists, their lapels bearing an array of political buttons, as well as athletes, whose participation in competitions abroad led them to thoughts of defecting. And decked out in full church regalia are clergymen, commonly known to lend sympathy to dissidents and assist people trying to leave the country.

In a flash, the spies and their targets all turn cheerful, exchange gifts and have a champagne toast.

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