Körting says Stasi checks not needed in Berlin

DDP/The Local
DDP/The Local - [email protected] • 11 Jul, 2009 Updated Sat 11 Jul 2009 10:05 CEST
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Berlin’s state interior minister Erhart Körting says he does not want to see background checks made to root out workers in public services with an East German secret police (Stasi) background.

Calls have been made over the last few days for another round of checks to be made after the Financial Times Deutschland reported on Thursday that around 17,000 former Stasi employees were still working in state public services across former East Germany.

But Körting said on Saturday he felt a general check was not necessary, and that the current law, which prescribes a check on people taking on particular, high-level positions, was enough.

He told Deutschlandradio Kultur that although an informed coming to terms with the past was necessary, he had the impression that the current discussion was no more than a “battle from the past”.

The 1990 reunification did not include the forcing of a “Western attitude in the East, but rather an agreement which was made between the East and West,” he said. That included the idea that the key was not what job a person had, but whether a person had done anything wrong.

He added that in Berlin, around 5,000 individual checks had been conducted on people working in municipal jobs, half of whom had been fired. “That shows that we already conducted a rigid selection here in Berlin,” he said.

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