Stasi Spied on German President Köhler in 1980s | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 27.11.2006
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Stasi Spied on German President Köhler in 1980s

East Germany's notorious secret police, the Stasi, became infamous for its surveillance operations of prominent politicians during the Cold War. German President Horst Köhler is the latest to be revealed as a target.

German President Horst Köhler

Horst Köhler came under surveillance while a finance ministry official in the 1980s

Former East Germany's secret police spied on the current President Horst Köhler in the 1980s when he was a West German finance ministry official, German media reported Monday.

Köhler, 63, was spied on by the Stasi's economic department while he worked under then Finance Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg as cabinet chief, Der Spiegel news magazine reported.

As a junior minister in the government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, he later took part in talks leading to the monetary union between East and West Germany three months before the two states unified in October 1990.

Köhler's spokesman Martin Kothe confirmed the Spiegel report which is based on documents kept by the German agency overseeing the Stasi archives. He told the Welt am Sonntag that the president was "observed" by Stasi agents during a visit to East Berlin in the early 1980s.

Files reveal "routine" observation

An archivist sorts through files in the Stasi archive

The Stasi archives have revealed many cold war secrets

Köhler came under surveillance by secret police agents when he traveled to communist East Germany as a finance ministry official. The president's spokesman called it an isolated incident and said that West German politicians were routinely observed by the Stasi when paying visits to East Germany.

Kothe said Köhler was recently told of his Stasi file at his own request.

The Stasi archives are not public but can be consulted for research or by journalists. The Köhler file will not be released to the public as officials in charge of the archives said that they contained mainly private information and were not relevant as a historic document.

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