1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Stasi 'spied on West German neo-Nazis'

August 6, 2015

The former East German state security service had more informers within the West German neo-Nazi scene than previously thought, a newspaper has reported. The aim was to prevent attacks on the inner German border.

Symbolbild - Neonazi
Image: Getty Images

The East German state security service, known as the Stasi, had at least 42 informers in the then West German neo-Nazi scene, according to a report in the daily "Berliner Zeitung" on Thursday.

The paper said the Stasi was planning to recruit almost 30 more right-wing extremists to act as its spies in the scene and that there were four more informers who were only loosely connected with the East German police.

Some of the informers also worked for West German authorities, and were thus able to pass on information to the Stasi about the workings of the West German domestic intelligence agency, the paper said in its report, which was based on information provided by the Stasi Records Agency.

Most of the informers, called "inoffizielle Mitarbeiter" or "informal collaborators" in Stasi parlance, were said to have been recruited in the 1980s.

The informers received compensation from the Stasi to report on the activities of violent far-right-wing groups in West Germany, Austria and South Tyrol in Italy, the paper said.

Possible help with current investigation

The main focus was reportedly on preventing attacks on the German-German border, which were often planned in the neo-Nazi scene and sometimes carried out.

In addition, the Stasi was interested in stopping East German far-right extremists, whose numbers were growing in the 1980s, from strengthening ties with their West German counterparts, according to the report.

The paper said that the information on the Stasi informers contained in the agency's documents could also help in current investigations by German authorities into a deadly bombing at the Oktoberfest in Munich in September 1980, in which 13 were killed and 211 injured.

München - Anschlag Oktoberfest 1980 +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Authorities hope Stasi documents can throw light on the 1980bomb attackImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Although the suspected bomber, a 21-year-old student with connections to the far right, died in the attack, authorities suspect that he may have had accomplices and planners.

German federal prosecutors took up the case again in December 2014 after a number of witness statements to this effect.

tj/sms (epd, dpa, AFP)