Stasi File Agency to be Disbanded? | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 10.12.2004
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Stasi File Agency to be Disbanded?

The German government is considering dissolving the commission that now oversees the preservation and processing of the Stasi files. The functions of the commission would be handed over to other institutions.


Stasi file Commissioner Marianne Birthler faces an uncertain future

The German commission that is responsible for files that survived the shredders of the East German secret police, or Stasi, will reportedly be disbanded. The move would correspond with the already announced change of control of the commission from the Ministry of the Interior to the State Ministry for Culture and Media according to the newspaper Berliner Zeitung.

The paper reported that it received a copy of an internal strategy paper from the Culture Ministry in which the duties of the federal commission, currently headed by Marianne Birthler, would be handed over to other institutions.

The Birthler Commission "will be integrated into the Federal Archive and the educational and research duties of the Commission for Stasi Records will be handed over to Stiftung Aufarbeitung Foundation and/or other institutes," the strategy paper stated. The dissolution of the commission in its current form would "be completed by the year 2010."

Over 180 kilometers of files are in the Stasi archive and would end up in the Federal Archive in Koblenz. The culture ministry would then take over the educational and research functions that Birthler's commission now oversee and then pass them on to the ministry's own Stiftung Aufarbeitung Foundation or other modern history research institutions according to the strategy paper.

Only one of many options

Kulturstaatsministerin Christina Weiss

Christina Weiss

In response to the possible dissolution of the commission, Weiss (photo) said to the Berliner Zeitung it was only one concept of many that were being discussed in the ministry regarding the future of the commission when her office assumes control of it. Her deputy responsible for the strategy paper, Knut Nevermann, did not confer with her about the proposed the details, such as the possible dissolution date of 2010.

Regarding the transfer from the Interior to the Culture Ministry, Birthler said she had not been informed of it before the announcement last week.

"The Culture Minister assured me that there will be an open discussion about the long-term perspectives of those institutions that deal with the injustices of the SED state," Birthler told the newspaper after having spoken with Weiss. The Stasi commissioner also wrote a letter to the parliament, reminding the lawmakers that they must make any decisions regarding the future of the files and the commission.The now public internal discussions have come somewhat as a surprise. Only last week Weiss had said in a press release that "the original contribution of the commission, to store, administer and make accessible the files of the Ministry for State Security would be supported in the future."

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