7,500 files were used last year for security checks, checks on public sector employees and pension matters.

Although the Stasi records authority was officially dissolved in 2021 and its holdings and employees were transferred to the Federal Archives, interest in the Stasi files remains unchanged. This is the result of the most recent annual figures that the Federal Archives made available to the editorial network Germany (RND/Wednesday). Accordingly, in 2022 a total of 29,064 citizen applications for file inspection were received. The number remained almost unchanged compared to 2021 with 30,603 applications.

In 2022, 7,500 questions were asked about security checks, checks on public sector employees and pension matters. 2,242 cases involved applications for rehabilitation of formerly politically persecuted persons and compensation. The branch offices of the former Stasi records authority also made a significant contribution to the high volume, above all in Dresden, Erfurt and Leipzig, each with well over 2000 citizen applications.

The SED Victims Commissioner of the Bundestag, Evelyn Zupke, told the RND: “The great interest in the inspection of files shows impressively that this part of our history has an impact up to the present. Many people only now, as they get older, start to think about their own biography more closely – often when they retire or because children and grandchildren ask about it.”

She added: “Inquiries about rehabilitation also remain at a high level. For the political prisoners, the Stasi files are often witnesses to the injustice committed. In the rehabilitation process, the files usually provide the most important evidence of what happened. The perpetrators are silent. But the files speak.”