Jahn determined to remove ex-Stasi workers from files authority

Jahn determined to remove ex-Stasi workers from files authority
Photo: DPA
Roland Jahn, the new head of the national Stasi files archive, says he will remove all 47 members of his staff who used to work for the feared East German secret service.

Jahn took over the files authority from his predecessor Marianne Birthler this month, and with it, the problem of staff who had previously worked for the Stasi.

His visits to associations of Stasi victims had convinced him that those who had worked for the secret police had no place working for the authority now administering the millions of files they had amassed on the East German people.

It remained a “slap in the face of the victims,” that such people worked for the body which he said “is there to make amends to those victims.”

Yet he said those former Stasi staff who had admitted their work for the secret police and had remained in their jobs also deserved respect, adding that discussions with them had been undertaken in a friendly atmosphere.

Most are former body guards currently employed as security guards. They had been taken on by the last East German Interior Minister Peter-Michael Diestel and had then been offered to the Stasi file authority under its first manager Joachim Gauck.

Now Jahn said he based what he called his “rigorous moral position” on the idea that the entire authority was to be seen as a “moral example.”

“It is about coming to terms with a dictatorship, it is about values, it is about the principled difference between dictatorship and democracy,” he said.

The legal requirements for transferring the 47 staff to a different authority or something similar will be checked directly, he said.


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