Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic (BStU)
The Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic (BStU) is a federal agency empowered by the Law on Stasi Documentation to preserve for, and make available to the public the records of the State Security Service. A Commissioner to head the agency from Berlin is voted upon by the German Bundestag (Parliament) every five years. Besides Berlin, the agency also has twelve offices located in the former GDR-district seats of Chemnitz, Dresden, Erfurt, Frankfurt (Oder), Gera, Halle, Leipzig, Magdeburg, Neubrandenburg, Rostock, Schwerin and Suhl. They preserve the records of the State Security Service of the GDR making these available, per the Law on State Security Documentation to individuals, institutions as well as the public. Alongside these activities, the agency has a dedicated research department which appraises the history of the GDR, with a special focus on detailing the repressive structures in the country. Three former GDR civil rights activists, Joachim Gauck, Marianne Birthler and Roland Jahn have held this office.
The documents of the BStU constitute an essential resource as they detail the observation of regime opponents by the secret police from 1950 until 1989. Included are unique records which were confiscated, or reports from agents of original or self-referencing records. Sometimes, these documents have provided the first and only mentions of lesser-known situations and figures from the cultural opposition. Through the Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic the legacy of the Ministry of State Security of the GDR has had a lasting influence on the history of the GDR. Numerous studies have been completed on the basis of these records and inquiries.
Berlin Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 31, Germany 10178
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Date of founding
Type of organisation
- School/educational institution
- Government/State organisation
Author(s) of this page
- Sonnenberg, Uwe