Stasi Files

There are two aspects to the files of the former East German Ministry for State Security (Stasi) covered in this bibliography:

1. The original files from East Germany's foreign spy operations are in the possession of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Click for reportage on these files.

2. Materials bearing on the work of the State Ombudsman for the Documents of the Former East German State Security Service (BStU), Joachim Gauck, whose agency is known as the Gauck Authority, are presented below.

Materials arranged chronologically.

Gedye, Robin. "Piecing Together Secrets of the Stasi." Telegraph (London), 1 Jul. 1996. []

"Tucked away in a Nuremberg suburb a group of workers, armed with adhesive tape and endless patience, have embarked on the world's largest jig-saw puzzle in a unique experiment to reconstruct shredded East German police files.... Since February last year, they have reconstructed 170,000 sheets of A4 paper taken from just 60 sacks, a rate of 82 working days per sack per worker. At this pace it would take nearly 400 years to complete the job."

Hauke, Frank. "Stasi-Stronghold West Berlin -- Former Spies Not Yet Identified: First List of 'West-IM's' Is Available to Berliner Morgenpost." Berliner Morgenpost International, 13 Dec. 1996. [Tr., Stephen Krug.]

That the Stasi "had its spies in important positions in West Berlin ... has been verified by a Stasi paper entitled 'IM Operationsgebiet' ('Area of Operation of Unofficial Collaborators'), that has been made available to the Berliner Morgenpost.... On the list of the Stasi's district administration in Berlin (Section XV) from 1988 are 66 'unofficial collaborators' ('Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter,', or simply 'IM') with their code names, occupations, places of work, and the leading officers. The real names are missing.... The West-IM list that has been made available to the Berliner Morgenpost is the first one that has been released by the Gauck agency."

Berliner Morgenpost International. "The Stasi Sat Right Up Front: Photos of the Munich Olympics Massacre Found in the Files of the Gauck Agency." 15 Nov. 1997. [Tr., Stephen Krug.]

"Even at the Olympics massacre in Munich in 1972, East German spies sat right up front. The Berlin agency responsible for the Stasi files reports that this knowledge has been filtered out of the shredded documents of the former East German Ministry for State Security.... According to the agency's recently presented third progress report, 273,000 pages have been reconstructed so far out of 15,250 sacks of paper shreds. That corresponds to only 40 to 50 sacks.... Information on Stasi-minister Erich Mielke's knowledge at the time about the bloodbath perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists is not yet included in the report.... Among the reconstructed files were needle-sharp photographs taken at close range of the attack on Israel's Olympic team."

Kassner, Frank. "[Commentary:] The Truth in the Files." Berliner Morgenpost International, 15 Nov. 1997. [Tr., Stephen Krug.]

"The Stasi issue cannot simply be brushed aside as an East German problem, as people in the West tend to do. The informers of the Mielke imperium not only lived between Rugen and Suhl -- that too has been revealed, thanks to the Gauck agency. With its research work, the agency -- with its abundant staff of 3000 -- is doing public relations work in the true sense of the word."

Cole, Deborah. "U.S.-Held Files Seen Uncovering E. German Spies." Reuters, 4 Feb. 1999.

"Files thought to be in the hands of the CIA could blow the cover of former agents in communist East Germany's international espionage network, according to [State Ombudsman for the Documents of the Former East German State Security Service (Stasi) Joachim Gauck].... The remark comes before a German government delegation ... travels to Washington [on 8 February 1999] to ask for the return of Cold War files on East German spying that ended up in the United States after the fall of the Berlin Wall."

Adams, Jefferson. "Probing the East German State Security Archives." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 13, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 21-34.

Adams argues that the Stasi files cannot be properly understood unless they are used in conjunction with the files of the Socialist Unity Party (SED). These files are managed by a separate division of the Federal Archives, the Foundation of the Archive of the East German Parties and Mass Organizations. Addressing concerns expressed about the credibility of the Stasi archives, the author suggests that the Stasi "probably had the firmest grasp of existing conditions [in East Germany] of any GDR institution."

Cobain, Ian.

1. "The Chatham House Spy." Times (London), 16 Sep. 2000. []

Stasi's foreign intelligence division, the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung" (HVA), maintained "a coded index known as Sira, short for System for Information Research of the HVA, intended as a guide to the mountains of paper files. Stasi librarians encrypted the Sira index and transferred it to magnetic tape shortly before the collapse of the communist regime....

"After six years of effort,... the code has now been cracked by a former telephone engineer working for the German Government Commission for the Stasi Archive, the organisation responsible for collating the data gathered by the intelligence agency. The Sira index ... list[s] the titles of intelligence reports from countless Stasi agents around the world, including those that British moles submitted to their handlers at the London embassy."

2. "The Stasi Spy from St James's." Times (London), 16 Sep. 2000. [http://]

As revealed by newly decoded files in Berlin, a Stasi spy "worked at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) for at least six years during the 1980s, coming into contact with Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister, and countless other statesmen. Operating under the codename Eckart, he supplied the Communist leadership in East Germany with a stream of sensitive information from the influential think-tank.... The files show that Eckart also secretly supplied intelligence briefings on forthcoming Royal Navy manoeuvres and Nato planning, and handed over a number of documents apparently stolen from Chatham House."

3. "Archives Reveal Sheer Scale of Stasi Spy Ring." Times (London), 18 Sep. 2000. []

"The enormous scale of East German espionage in Britain has been laid bare with the decoding of the archives of the secret police, the Stasi. At least 28 highly placed spies worked for the Communist regime during the last days of the Cold War, providing sensitive information on almost every area of British life."

Sunday Times (London). [Introduction to Documents.] 26 Nov. 2000. []

On 26 November 2000, the Sunday Times published "a selection of the information concerning Great Britain obtained from the computer database of East Germany's foreign intelligence service. This list comes from a variety of searches undertaken by us in Berlin at the Gauck commission."

An accompanying report by Stephen Grey and John Goetz, "Target Britain," Sunday Times, 26 Nov. 2000, notes that the information "reveals the full scale of Stasi penetration in Britain. Sources in Whitehall provided sensitive intelligence, including, it seems, prior warning of British support for the American bombing of Libya in 1986. The British Army was infiltrated, the security of military bases in West Germany was compromised and advances in nuclear weapons and submarines were disclosed to East Berlin, which told the KGB in Moscow everything it knew. Informers inside the Labour party also supplied confidential documents....

"MI5 ... is believed to be ready to hand over dossiers on up to 10 individuals who could face prosecution. There are many other names on the British section of the index. Over the past six months The Sunday Times has obtained the codenames of more than 100 agents or contacts in Britain and details of more than 8,000 reports compiled about this country."

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