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More than 50 ex-Stasi work for files authority

The Local · 26 Feb 2011, 09:47

Published: 26 Feb 2011 09:47 GMT+01:00

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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.

Story continues below…

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


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:46 February 26, 2011 by Surferjoe
The truth is out there. Or in there and will of course never see the full light of day. Thats part of the (already extensive ) price of unification as the germans see it. ln the DDR everyone ratted on each other and no one whats to look at another slur of the german character. Lets give the Bild free run of the files and we would all be entertained daily for the next 10 years.
16:40 February 26, 2011 by wood artist
The STASI files would make Wikileaks look like kindergarten if they were actually examined in detail. I've seen some samples, and there is a lot of "he said, she said" drivel, combined with a bunch of neighbors using their position to complain about someone they just didn't happen to like. They, at least the ones I've seen, look a lot like the diplomats revealing what they thought of other diplomats, except much more petty.

For those who were closely followed, there is nothing in their personal lives that was "too insignificant" to include, so everything from food preferences to intimate behavior is included.

At some point, and I don't pretend to know when that point is reached, it's time to let go of most of that. The people lived in a society where spying was pervasive, and many who probably wouldn't have participated otherwise did, simply because it was the only way to get along. Does that excuse them? No. But, it was the way things were.

At some point perhaps we just nod our heads, say "that was then" and move on. Everyone probably has a different opinion of where that point is.

19:32 February 26, 2011 by auniquecorn
They have to be there, someone has to know which files to administer and which ones not to.

Frau Merkels thesis might still be in there.
18:06 March 1, 2011 by johnny108
Maybe they still work there because they are the only ones who know where anything is?
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