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Berlin ensures future of Stasi file archive

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Berlin ensures future of Stasi file archive
Photo: DPA
08:34 CET+01:00
Work at the Stasi file archive in Berlin will continue in the future due to the “unbroken need” of people for the information collected by feared East German secret police, Chancellery Chief of Staff Ronald Pofalla ensured on Friday.

Formed after Germany’s reunification in 1990, the BtSU, commonly known as the Birthler Office after archive head Marianne Birthler, expected interest in the files to last between 10 to 15 years. But even after the country celebrated the 20th anniversary fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 2009 – requests continue to pour in.

Birthler’s time as head of the archive is set to end in 2011, but this does not mean the end of the BtSU’s work, Pofalla told daily Leipziger Volkszeitung.

“There may not and will not be a final stroke for the reprocessing,” he said. “The question of when and in what form the Stasi file archive will be transferred to the national archive will be addressed by an independent commission that will be employed by the Bundestag in this legislative period.”

Birthler, who has headed the BtSU since 2000, has already had her contract extended once, but rules don’t allow a second extension.

More than 100,000 people requested a look into their files created by the feared East German secret police, the Stasi, last year, the archive announced earlier this month.

“Many have apparently needed some distance and previously feared that it would hurt too much to look at the files,” Birthler said at the time, adding that there were also an increasing number of requests coming from former West Germany.

“We still our hands very full,” she said. “Working through the past doesn’t end in a single generation.”

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