On Reading My Stasi Files

Two years ago I applied to the German government to see my file, in order to find out exactly what the Stasi thought I was doing. After a delay of a year and a half permission was finally given.

Issue: Winter 1994-1995

After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the political reunification of Germany, the new all-German government made the extraordinary decision to open most of the files of the East German secret police, nicknamed the Stasi. Some of the files had been removed by the Stasi before the communist government fell; some disappeared during the confusion occurring at the time of the reunification; and some of the files were deliberately destroyed or withheld by the new government. But in my case, five thousand pages of file materials were intact and the gaps were relatively minor. For the most part, therefore, I was able to find out what actually happened in the half year that I sat in the Stasi Investigation Prison Hohenschšnhausen on suspicion of espionage.

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