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Requesting access to Stasi files for research or media purposes


You can inspect Stasi files at the Federal Archives - Stasi Records Archive (Stasi Records Archive for short) on one or more days and request the release of duplicates, or the duplicates independently of the inspection of files.

With access to Stasi files you can

  • the activities of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR),
  • the mechanisms of rule of the former GDR or the former Soviet occupation zone (SBZ) or
  • the National Socialist past

and publish your findings.

With your application, the Stasi Records Archive will initiate thematic or personal research in its archives. Archive staff will evaluate the research results and examine the documents for any personal information that may be worthy of protection. Only then will you be granted access to relevant information from the records of the State Security Service.

You will receive access to the Stasi files in the form of

  • the inspection of files,
  • the release of duplicates.

You must apply in writing or online to the Stasi Records Archive for access to the Stasi files for research or media purposes.

Please note:
For the publication of your research results, you will be informed when documents are released that you must

  • do not use the copies for purposes other than the reappraisal purpose stated in the application or
  • pass them on to other bodies and that the publication of personal information must not prejudice any overriding interests of the persons named that are worthy of protection.

Process flow

You must apply in writing to the Stasi Records Archive for access to Stasi documents for research or media purposes or submit your application online on the federal website (federal portal):

  • Download the application form from the Stasi Records Archive website or complete the form online.
  • Send the form together with all the necessary documents by post to the Stasi Records Archive. When applying online: Upload all relevant documents.
  • Once your research or media application has been received, it will be checked for completeness, admissibility and any costs incurred. If necessary, you will be asked to submit additional information or documents.
  • If all legal access requirements are met, a decision will be made according to your research topic as to whether processing will take place in Berlin or, in the case of a regional reference, in another office of the Stasi Records Archive.
  • If no information on your reappraisal topic could be found during the research, you will receive a notification.
  • If documents are available, they will be requested from the archives. The archive material will be evaluated and read with regard to the subject of your application and access will be prepared.
  • The material will be prepared for you to inspect, and duplicates can also be issued.
  • You will generally receive an invitation to inspect the files with a proposed date by post or you will be contacted by e-mail.
  • The duplicates will be sent to you by post or can be collected in person by appointment. They can also be made available via an online platform on request.

Requirements

You are

  • Researcher at an established research institution
  • Private individual with a research project
  • Representative of the media (press, radio, film) or
  • Representative of a political education institution

Your research project must

  • be thematically definable and
  • be dedicated to political and historical reappraisal
    • the activities of the State Security Service
    • the mechanisms of rule of the former GDR or the former Soviet Occupation Zone or
    • the National Socialist past
      serve the purpose of
  • They demonstrate a recognizable interest in publishing the research results or media contributions, for example
    • through publication in ongoing research projects at universities
    • by using the findings for books
    • for radio and television reports or
    • for newspaper and magazine articles

Which documents are required?

For research, especially private research:

  • Concept
  • synopsis or
  • detailed explanations of the project and the intended use

Media representatives:

  • Copy of the press card
  • Project order or
  • Letter from the client or
  • other suitable proof of journalistic/editorial activity

What are the fees?

for applications from public bodies: none
for applications from non-public bodies:

  • Fees:
    • Inspection for research purposes: EUR 38.35
    • Inspection for media purposes: EUR 76.69
    • Issue of duplicates for research purposes
      • without prior inspection: EUR 10.23
      • after prior inspection: EUR 5.11
  • Issue of duplicates for media purposes
    • without prior inspection: EUR 76.69
    • after prior inspection: 38.35 EUR
  • Expenses:
    • Expenses for the issue of duplicates of paper documents or filmed files: depending on the size and type of copy EUR 0.10 to EUR 0.18
    • the provision of this data via the publication platform is free of charge
    • Production and issue of duplicates of other information carriers (e.g. image and sound recordings, films, maps, plans): in full (also when provided via the issuing platform)

Details can be found in the Special Fee Ordinance of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (Special Fee Ordinance BKM BKMBGebV) with a list of fees and expenses on the website of the Stasi Records Archive.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

There is no deadline.

Processing duration

The processing time depends largely on the type and scope of the respective research or media project.

Appeal

  • objection
  • Administrative court action

Technically approved by

The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM)

Professionally released on

05.12.2023

Author

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

competent Bodies


Bundesarchiv (BArch) – Stasi-Unterlagen-Archiv
Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 31/33, 10178 Berlin, Stadt
Timetable
Telephone: +49 30 232450
Telephone: +49 30 23247000
Fax: +49 30 23247799

Data protection information


Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen
Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover
Timetable
Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)