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Restoration Stops on Shredded Stasi Files

October 26, 2004
The mammoth jigsaw puzzle that is the shredded Stasi files will not be completed, the German government said on Monday, due to increasing costs. The reassembling of files from former East Germany's secret police, torn to shreds in the chaos leading up to the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and the 1990 reunification of Germany, would cost the government a further €50 million ($63.9 million), on top of the sums already spent, to buy the advanced machines needed to complete the restoration. The advanced computer reconstruction systems would be able to restore the 16,000 sacks of shredded Stasi files in just five years, experts say, but the spiraling costs have brought the dreams of many to a premature end. Victims of the once-feared Stasi are allowed access to their files and many had hoped the restored files would help them find out who had spied on them during the communist era. Government officials have vowed that all shredded files would be maintained and that if funds became available, the program to complete reconstructing the much-feared Stasi's files could be restarted.