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More than 50 ex-Stasi work for files authority

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More than 50 ex-Stasi work for files authority
Photo: DPA
09:47 CET+01:00
More than 50 former Stasi members still work for the authority which administers the former East German secret police files, it was revealed on Saturday.

The number has not changed for years, despite harsh criticism of the situation – which means that work to untangle the tentacles of the hated and feared Stasi was at least in part being conducted by former members.

In 2006 the number of former Stasi members working for the Birthler Authority – the files administration authority is always named after its manager, currently Marianne Birthler – was estimated to be ‘around 50.'

This weekend the Birthler Authority confirmed that it still employed 53 former Stasi members, admitting to the local daily newspaper the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung that the situation had not changed in the last five years.

Most are former bodyguards who are now employed as security guards, the spokesman said. They had been taken on by the last East German interior minister Peter-Michael Diestel, and were then offered to the Stasi file authority under its first manager Joachim Gauck.

“Experts called for a systematic approach to this years ago, and nothing has happened,” said Reiner Deutschmann, from the Free Democratic Party.

“The initial decision to employ Stasi people in the authority was wrong from the beginning,” said Arnold Vaatz, deputy head of the Christian Democratic Union parliamentary party.

“The spirit of the East German bureaucracy has been conserved in the authority. And that has not been acknowledged by Ms Birthler nor by Mr Gauck.”

It was recently uncovered that the leader of the workers' council at the authority, Lutz Penesch, had worked for the Stasi, forcing him to resign.

Birthler is set to hand the reins of the authority to Roland Jahn next month.

DAPD/hc

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