The rulers created a system of power based on force, threats, rewards and privilege. Individuals were taught to conform, comply and, whenever possible, participate. The SED, with unrestrained access to almost all areas of life - the churches remained an exception - was able to comprehensively control the population and to reward and reprimand as needed.The Ministry for State Security (MfS) constituted the centre of the ruling apparatus. Under the SED leadership, the so-called “Shield and Sword of the Party” was responsible for protecting the “workers’ and peasants’ state” and securing the SED dictatorship.The permanent exhibition “State Security in the SED Dictatorship” illustrates and explains the structure, development and operations of the MfS. It describes the people who worked for this institution and the methods they employed.The permanent exhibition was developed by the ASTAK association in cooperation with the Agency of the Federal Commissioner for Stasi Records (BStU), which was responsible for the exhibition content on the 1st floor.The offices of Erich Mielke, the last GDR Minister for State Security, are preserved in their original condition and form the centrepiece of the exhibition.