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Request access to Stasi documents for research or media

You can apply for access to the Stasi documents at the Federal Archives – Stasi Records Archive (Stasi Records Archive). You can inspect the file on one or more days and request the return of duplicates, or you can request the duplicates independently of the access to the file.

With access to Stasi records, 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 results.

With your application, the Stasi Records Archive initiates thematic research or personal research in its archives. The search results are evaluated and the documents are reviewed for any personal information that may be worthy of protection. Only then will you have access to relevant information from the documents of the State Security Service.  

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

  • inspection of files,
  • the issuance of duplicates.

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

For the publication of the results of your work, you will be informed when you submit documents that you

  • not use the copies for purposes other than the purpose stated at the time of application or pass them on to other bodies, and
  • the publication of personal information must not adversely affect the overriding interests of the named persons worthy of protection.

Process flow

You must apply for access to the Stasi documents for research or media in writing from the Stasi Records Archive:

  • Download the application form from the website of the Stasi Records Archive.
  • Fill it out completely, sign it and send it by post to the Stasi Records Archive together with all the necessary documents.
  • Upon receipt of your research or media application, it will be reviewed for completeness, admissibility and costs incurred. If necessary, you will be asked to submit information or documents at a later date.
  • If all legal admission requirements are met, a decision will be made as to whether the 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 topic of reappraisal could be determined during the research, you will receive a notification.
  • If documents are available, they are requested from the archives. The archive material will be evaluated and read with regard to the topic of your application, and access will be prepared.
  • The material will be prepared for you to inspect files and/or issue duplicates.
  • You will generally receive an invitation to inspect the file with a proposed date by post or vote by e-mail.
  • The duplicates will be sent to you by post or can be picked up in person by appointment. These can also be made available via an online platform if desired.


They are

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

Your research project must:

  • be thematically definable and
  • of the 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
    • of the National Socialist Past
  • You can demonstrate a recognisable interest in publishing the research results or media contributions, for example
    • by publishing in ongoing research projects at universities
    • by using the findings for books
    • for radio and television broadcasts, or
    • for newspaper and magazine articles

Which documents are required?

For research, especially private research:

  • Concept
  • Exposé or
  • Detailed explanations of the project and the intended use

Media representatives:

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

What are the fees?

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

  • Dues:
    • Inspection for research purposes: EUR 38.35
    • Inspection for media purposes: EUR 76.69
    • Publication of duplicates for research purposes
      • without prior inspection: EUR 10.23
      • after prior inspection: EUR 5.11
  • Publication of duplicates for media purposes
    • without prior inspection: EUR 76.69
    • after prior inspection: EUR 38.35
  • Outlay:
    • Expenses for the publication of duplicates of paper originals 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 issuance platform is free of charge
    • Production and publication of duplicates of other information media (e.g. image and sound recordings, films, maps, plans): in full (also if made available via the publication platform)

Details can be found in the Special Fees 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.

Applications / forms

Forms: yes

Written form required: yes

Personal appearance required: no

Online procedure possible: no

Application for access to Stasi documents for researchers, media representatives and institutions of political education


  • Contradiction
  • Administrative court action

Technically approved by

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

Professionally released on



The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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