Commonly referred to as the Stasi, The Ministry for State Security or State Security Service, was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies ever to have existed. They recruited Maria Romburg into their spy school when she turned 16. Known as Sparrows (girls) and Hawks (boys) the teens were taught how to spy, manipulate and even kill people in preparation for service to their country as a way of paying back the debt of being raised by the state.
Sparrows are historical fact but were used by Russians rather than Germans during the cold war where they used techniques known as sexiponage or ‘honey trapping’ to obtain information. The movie ‘Red Sparrow’ is based on events and knowledge about the real ‘Sparrows’.