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Resources for Pupils

We offer assistance to pupils who are conducting research on the Stasi, either for presentations, projects or term papers. We can provide very unique sources: The BStU preserves the original files of the Stasi in its archives and makes them accessible to the public according to certain rules. We have selected certain files deemed suitable for work in school and made them available online. Videos made for pupils make it easier for them to approach the difficult subject of the Stasi and the GDR.
Please note: all our material is in German only.

Two pupils reading sample files in the Stasi Records Agency.Two pupils reading sample files in the Stasi Records Agency. Source: BStU

Introduction to the Subject

  • The BStU Web site offers a lot of information about the GDR and Stasi. The Stasi’s official name in the GDR was Ministry of State Security, abbreviated MfS. An overview of the history of the Stasi and its role in the GDR is found here: Bereich "Wissen" unter "MfS/DDR-Geschichte".
  • The staff of the BStU discovered many documents revealing interesting, bizarre and often moving situations. They provide a unique impression of the methods used by the Stasi. Examples are found under the heading "Wissen" unter "Aktenfunde". (in German only)
  • We made a film about the Stasi that is aimed at pupils in 9th grade and above. You can have the DVD "Ein Volk unter Verdacht" sent to you for a nominal charge of €2.50.
  • Would you like to suggest to your teacher that your class participate in a project day at the Stasi Records Agency? Information and examples are found under Project Days.

Assisting with Presentations

We are happy to offer pupils assistance with their school projects. The Stasi archives contain many interesting, and at times disconcerting documents that could be useful for presentations, term papers and school competitions. For a presentation on the Stasi you could choose a very special topic.

Since the Stasi intervened in many different areas of GDR life, there are many subjects to choose from, for example the "unofficial collaborators", known as IM. These were informers who spied on their friends and acquaintances and reported very personal information to the Stasi. Escape attempts from the GDR is another interesting topic. Many people who tried to escape were caught and arrested. The Stasi covered up any deaths that occurred at the Berlin Wall. But today the Stasi documents provide information about them.

Our archives offer extensive material about these and other topics. Since applying to view files on individual topics and looking through all the records is a time-consuming process, we have selected a few cases and prepared these especially for pupils to use. Most of the documents concern teenagers who drew the attention of the GDR secret police. In once case from the 1980s, three teenagers from Rostock wrote their view of the GDR on buildings. The Stasi regarded this as a subversive act and arrested the teenagers.

We have compiled cases like this in the publication series "Quellen für die Schule". This publication and other teaching material are available here: Bereich "Materialien".

Assisting with Term Papers and Competitions

Term papers and school competitions demand a more intense study of the subject. They also require working with scholarly texts and citing sources correctly. Our scholars have been researching the Stasi for many years and their publications can be useful when writing a term paper. The MfS Handbook, which consists of several volumes, is highly recommended. It provides an overview of the different subject areas that are currently being researched here. We are also happy to help pupils who are preparing to take part in a competition.

Pupils and students can also research the Stasi files directly. To do this requires submitting a "research request". Unfortunately these requests often take a long time to process and may entail fees. The subject of inquiry should be clearly delineated in the request so that we can process the application faster. It is also important to submit a letter from the school or if you are participating in the Federal President’s history competition, to enclose a copy of the "Spurensucherpass" with your request.

Exhibitions

Visit our exhibition and museum and learn more about the former GDR State Security.

more: Exhibitions …

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