Stasi documents come to the federal archive

DAfter long discussions, the Bundestag decided with a large majority that the Stasi files should be transferred to the Federal Archives in the middle of next year. The fact that the files were preserved at that time is thanks to GDR citizens who occupied the headquarters of the State Security in Berlin on January 15, 1990 and thus prevented the destruction of millions of files that documented the spying of their own population by the SED regime. Since then, those affected have had the opportunity to inspect the files and find out what information the state spies have collected about them.

According to the text of the law, the transfer serves to “permanently secure the Stasi documents”. Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters (CDU), who presented the law to the Bundestag on Thursday, said that the incorporation into the Federal Archives was “not the end of the line”, but rather the “continuation of the processing under pan-German auspices”.

The transfer does not change the access regulations to the files. Anyone who wants to see their files can, as before, also submit an application, which is then checked in accordance with victim protection. Scientists and journalists can also request access to files in this way. By transferring them to the Federal Archives, the documents should in future also be available digitally and thus presumably much faster. This could shorten the waiting times, which often last for months.

In addition, the files will no longer only be available in the branch offices of the authority in the new federal states, as was previously the case, but also at the branch offices of the Federal Archives in West Germany. The SPD MP Martin Rabanus praised the “making available” of the documents in East and West as an all-German project.


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