Katja Hoyer Katja Hoyer

The politics of Germany’s Stasi archives

(Photo by Nina Ruecker/Getty Images)

‘Oh please… not the letters I sent to my mum,’ sighed the East German pastor Gernot Friedrich as he randomly pulled pages out of the 3,000-page file. Since January 1992, Germany has attempted a unique experiment in addressing its own past: anyone can request to view their Stasi file.

Founded in 1950 as the Socialist party’s ‘sword and shield’, the Ministry for State Security, better known as the Stasi, spent its 40-year existence gathering information about real and imagined political opponents.

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Katja Hoyer
Written by
Katja Hoyer

Katja Hoyer is an Anglo-German historian. Her latest book is Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990.

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