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Research Department

Main Research Areas

In 1989/90 the question of whether the files of Ministry of State Security Service should be destroyed or made accessible was controversially discussed. By now the openness with which the files are handled is such an established fact that the uniqueness of these records is often forgotten. For the first time a broad range of source material has been made available. Thus making it possible to conduct research on the structures, operating mechanisms, mentality, work methods and historical impact of a modern secret police.

The Education and Research Department (BF) conducts basic research on important subject areas. It responds to impulses from public discussions about coming to terms with the past and also develops and addresses its own questions. Its studies focus on a reconstruction of the MfS apparatus and primary-source publications of key documents relevant to general investigations of East Germany. Since its founding in 1992, the department has conducted numerous studies and compiled primary-source editions that have been published in its own and in external publications. Thus providing an important service to the field of contemporary history.


The library is open to everyone and it contains publications on subjects relevant to the reappraisal of the East German secret police.

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