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Municipal posts rife with 17,000 former Stasi workers

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Municipal posts rife with 17,000 former Stasi workers
Photo: DPA
09:05 CEST+02:00
Some 17,000 former East German secret police workers are likely working in local government authorities in eastern states despite background checks, daily Financial Times Deutschland reported on Thursday.

Experts and advocates for former East German citizens have demanded consequences for the scandal.

Stasi expert Klaus Schroeder from Berlin's Free University estimates that more than 10,000 of those known as "unofficial employees" of the feared Stasi currently hold positions in ministries and administrative offices.

“These are dimensions that no on suspected before,” he told the paper, adding that background checks on employees are standardised and superficial.

State commissioner for Stasi files in the formerly eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, Gerhard Ruden, told the paper that a new test of potential employees was necessary.

“It's a question of political hygiene,” he said, adding that many files remain closed, and that even in the mid 1990's, three-quarters of the files had not yet been analysed.

Stephan Hilsberg, centre-left Social Democrat parliamentarian and civil rights advocate told daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung that it's not wrong to give those who worked with the feared Stasi jobs.

“Working in the public sphere is not the problem. The problem is which positions they land in,” Hilsberg told the paper.

Questions over where former Stasi workers had found new work emerged last week when German media alleged that two policemen assigned to guard Chancellor Angela Merkel's weekend house in the Uckermark region of Brandenburg used to be in the GDR secret police. The government denied this initially, but later admitted one of the men had been a former Stasi member.

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