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STASI Records Act

STASI Records Act

Act Regarding the Records of the State Security Service of the Former German Democratic Republic of 20 December 1991. Translation from the German: (Gesetz über die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (Stasi-Unterlagen-Gesetz - StUG) - Vom 20. Dezember 1991)

Federal Law Gazette I 1991, p.2272, amended by

  • the First STASI Records Act Amendment of February 22, 1994 (Federal Law Gazette I, p.334),
  • the Second STASI Records Act Amendment of July 26, 1994 (Federal Law Gazette I. p.1748),
  • Article 12 Paragraph 22 of the Act of September 14, 1994 (Federal Law Gazette I, p.2325),
  • Third STASI Records Act Amendment of December 20, 1996 (Federal Law Gazette I, p.2026), as well as
  • Article 4 Paragraph 2 of the Act of January 26, 1998 (Federal Law Gazette I 1998, p.164).

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Table of Contents

Part One : General Provisions

§ 1 Purpose and Scope § 2 Custody, Safekeeping and Administration of Records § 3 Individual Rights § 4 Admissibility of Use § 5 Specific Prohibited Use § 6 Definitions

Part Two : Taking Custody of Records

§ 7 Location of Records - Duty to Report § 8 Duties of Public Bodies to Relinquish Records § 9 Duties of Private Bodies to Relinquish Records § 10 Records of the German Socialist Unity Party et al § 11 Relinquishment and Return of Records to other Authorities

Part Three : Use of State Security Service Records

Chapter One : Rights of Data Subjects et al § 12 Procedural Provisions § 13 Data Subjects & Third Parties- Disclosure of Information, Inspection of Records &

Obtaining Records

§ 14 Depersonalization and Erasure of Data § 15 Rights of Close Relatives of Missing and Deceased § 16 Rights of Employees of the State Security Service § 17 Rights of Beneficiaries § 18 Rights to Information - Files Submitted to the State Security Service by Courts and Public Prosecutors

Chapter Two : Use of Records by Public and Private Bodies

§ 19 Procedural Provisions Public & Private Bodies - Access to Records

§ 20 Use of Records Containing no Personal Data - Public and Private Bodies

§ 21 Use of Records Containing Personal Data - Public and Private Bodies

§ 22 Use of the Records - Parliamentary Investigative Committees

§ 23 Use of the Records for Criminal Prosecution and to Avert Harm

§ 24 Use of Files Submitted to the State Security Service by Courts and Public Prosecutors

§ 25 Use of Records by Intelligence Services

§ 26 Use of Service Regulations & Organizational Plans

§ 27 Unsolicited Reports to Public Bodies

§ 28 Unsolicited Reports to Private Bodies

§ 29 Limitations of Use

§ 30 Notification

§ 31 Judicial Review of Decisions of the Federal Commissioner

Chapter Three : Use of Records for Political and Historical Reappraisal and by Press and Broadcasting Sectors

§ 32 Use of Records for Political and Historical Reappraisal § 33 Procedure § 34 Use of Records - Press, Broadcasting & Film

Part Four : Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service

§ 35 Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic § 36 Legal Status of the Federal Commissioner § 37 Duties & Authority of the Federal Commissioner § 38 Land Commissioner - Relationship to the Federal Commissioner § 39 Advisory Committee § 40 Measures to Safeguard Records § 41 Automated Retrieval Procedures

Part Five : Final Provisions

§ 42 Costs § 43 Precedence of this Act § 44 Criminal Offences § 45 Administrative Offences § 46 Exemption from Punishment § 46 a Limitation of Civil Rights § 47 Repeal of Provisions, Transition of Office § 48 Effect

Part One : General Provisions

Section 1 : Purpose and Scope

(1) This Act regulates the custody, preparation, administration and use of the records of the Ministry for State Security of the former German Democratic Republic and its preceding and succeeding organizations (State Security Service) in order to

  1. facilitate individual access to personal data which the State Security Service has stored regarding him, so that he can clarify what influence the state security service has had on his personal destiny;
  2. protect the individual from impairment of his right to privacy being caused by use of the personal data stored by the State Security Service;
  3. ensure and promote the historical, political, and juridical reappraisal of the activities of the State Security Service;
  4. provide public and private bodies with access to the information required to achieve the purposes stated in this Act.

(2) This Act shall be applicable to the records of the State Security Service which can be found in the possession of public bodies of the Federation or of the Länder, of private individuals, or of other private bodies.

Section 2 : Custody, Safekeeping, and Administration

of the Records of the State Security Service

(1) The Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic shall take custody of, provide for the safekeeping of, administer, and use the records of the State Security Service as directed by this Act.

(2) In order to perform his duties according to this Act, the Federal Commissioner is entitled to use the following information from the Central Inhabitants' Register of the former German Democratic Republic:

  • surname, given name
  • birth name, other names
  • place of birth
  • personal identification number
  • last known address
  • entry "deceased"

In order to perform their duties courts and criminal prosecution authorities shall be provided with this information at their request.

Section 3 : Individual Rights

(1) Each individual shall have the right to inquire of the Federal Commissioner if the records contain personal data regarding him. If this is the case, the individual shall have the right to obtain information, to inspect the records, and to be provided with records as directed by this Act.

(2) Each individual shall have the right to use the information and records which he has obtained from the Federal Commissioner as provided by general law.

(3) It shall not be admissible to impair the legitimate interests of other individuals by disclosing information, permitting inspection of records or providing records.

Section 4 : Admissibility of Use of Records of the State Security Service by Public and Private Bodies

(1) Public and private bodies shall have access to the records or use them only as provided by this Act. If data subjects, third parties, close relatives of missing or deceased persons, employees or beneficiaries of the State Security Service submit personal data of their own accord, this data may be used for the purpose for which it was submitted.

(2) If the Federal Commissioner establishes or is informed that personal data in the records is incorrect, or the data subject disputes that the data is correct, a separate remark to this effect shall be made in the records.

(3) If personal data is communicated pursuant to a request according to sections 20 to 25, and after its communication it proves to be incorrect regarding the person about whom it was requested, it shall be corrected vis-à-vis the recipient, unless it is irrelevant to the case under consideration.

(4) The overriding legitimate interests of other persons may not be impaired by use of the records.

Section 5 : Specific Prohibited Use

(1) It is inadmissible to use personal data to the detriment of data subjects or third parties if it was collected about them in the course of deliberate, including secret, information-gathering or spying on these persons. This shall not be applicable to cases pursuant to section 21, paragraph 1, sentences 1 and 2 if statements made by the data subjects or third parties are proved to be partially or completely incorrect on the basis of this information.

(2) The use of records shall be inadmissible for a limited time period if the competent public prosecutor or the court declares to the Federal Commissioner that use of the records during this time period could affect the carrying out of criminal prosecution. This shall not apply if it would unreasonably impair individuals in obtaining their rights. In this case, use of the records shall occur in agreement with the public prosecutor or with the court.

Section 6 : Definitions

(1) "Records of the State Security Service" means

1. all information-recording media, irrespective of the form of storage, in particular

a) files, data files, documents, cards, plans, films, visual material, audio material, and other recordings

b) machine-produced or hand written copies and other duplicates of the above

c) evaluation aids, particularly programs for automated data processing

to the extent that they came into the possession of or originated at the State Security Service or Department 1 of the Criminal Police Division of the Volkspolizei (People's Police) or were given to them for their use;

2. records submitted to the State Security Service by the courts and public prosecutors.

(2) The following shall not be deemed part of the records:

1. written communications and their enclosures which the State Security Service sent to other public and private bodies, if these bodies were not legally or de facto authorized to issue directives vis-à-vis the State Security Service;

2. records which were returned or conveyed to other bodies for reasons of competence and in which no indication can be found that the State Security Service took measures or caused them to be taken;

3. records which were processed before May 8, 1945, and in which no indications can be found that the State Security Service took any other action than to prepare them for storage in its own archives;

4. objects an records which were unlawfully taken or kept from data subjects or third parties by the State Security Service; if this regards written communication, it is admissible for the Federal Commissioner to make copies for his records.

(3) "Data subjects" means persons about whom the State Security Service collected personal data by deliberate, including secret, information-gathering or spying. Sentence 1 shall not be applicable

1. to employees of the State Security Service, if collecting information served only to make contact with and recruit employees for the State Security Service or to monitor the activities of employees of the state security service;

2. to beneficiaries, if collecting information only served to make contacts with them or to monitor their behavior with regard to benefits received.

(4) "Employees of the State Security Service" means full-time employees and unofficial informers.

1. "Full-time employees" means persons who had an official employment or service relationship to the State Security Service. The term can also refer to "Special Task Officers".

2. "Unofficial informers" means persons who agreed to supply the State Security Service with information.

(5) The provisions regarding employees of the State Security Service shall be applicable mutatis mutandis to

1. persons who were legally or de facto authorized to issue directives to employees of the State Security Service with respect to their state security service-related activities;

2. unofficial informers of Department 1 of the Criminal Police Division of the Volkspolizei (People's Police).

(6) "Beneficiaries" means persons who

1. were substantially assisted by the State Security Service, in particular by being provided with economic advantages;

2. who were protected by the State Security Service or at its behest from prosecution for a criminal act;

3. who with the knowledge, connivance or assistance of the State Security Service planned or committed criminal acts.

(7) "Third parties" means other persons about whom the State Security Service collected information.

(8) It shall be ascertained for each piece of information if the person involved was an employee of the State Security Service, a beneficiary, a data subject or a third party. The determining factor for ascertaining the above shall be the purpose for which the information was documented in the records.

(9) "Use of the records" means transmission of records, communication of information from the records, as well as other processing and use of the information. If it is not otherwise directed in this provision, the sections 2 and 3 of the Federal Data Protection Act shall be applicable, except that religious societies shall be deemed to be private bodies.

Part Two : Taking Custody of Records

Section 7 : Location of Records - Duty to Report

(1) All public bodies shall assist the Federal Commissioner in locating and taking custody of the State Security Service records. If they are aware or become aware in the course of their duties that such records of the State Security Service or written or machine-produced copies or other duplicates of such records are in their possession, they shall report this fact to the Federal Commissioner without delay.

(2) The Federal Commissioner, in agreement with a public body, is entitled to inspect the registers, archives, and other information collections of this public body, if there is sufficient indication that State Security Service records can be found therein.

(3) As soon as they become aware that they are in possession of State Security Service records or written or machine-produced copies or other duplicates of such records, private individuals and other private bodies are obliged to report this fact to the Federal Commissioner without delay.

Section 8 : Duties of Public Bodies to Relinquish Records

(1) At the request of the Federal Commissioner, each public body shall relinquish without delay State Security Service records, including written and machine-produced copies and other duplicates, which are in their possession.

(2) If the public body requires the records for the performance of its duties within the limitations of use pursuant to sections 20 to 23 and 25, it shall be entitled to make duplicates for its records. Original records shall be kept only if they are indispensable for the performance of duties in an individual case. In such a case the Federal Commissioner, at his request, shall be provided with duplicates.

(3) The intelligence services of the Federation and the Länder shall relinquish records regarding data subjects in their entirety and without retaining any part of the records or duplicates thereof.

Section 9 : Duties of Private Bodies to Relinquish Records

(1) At the request of the Federal Commissioner, every private individual and every other private body shall relinquish State Security Service records without delay, if such records are not the personal property of the private individual or of the private body. Proof of ownership shall be incumbent upon the private individual or other private body. Personal ownership can be assumed to exist if the private individual or other private body personally compiled records as described in section 10 paragraph 4.

(2) If it is obligatory to relinquish records to the Federal Commissioner, then all copies and other duplicates shall also be relinquished to him.

(3) At the request of the Federal Commissioner, every private individual and every other private body shall relinquish records of the state security service which are their personal property to the Federal Commissioner, in order that written or machine-produced copies or other duplicates of these records can be made.

Section 10 : Records of the German Socialist Unity Party and other organizations

(1) In order to perform his duties the Federal Commissioner shall be entitled to request information of the competent bodies regarding the nature, contents, and storage location of records of the German Socialist Unity Party (SED) and other related parties and mass organizations.

(2) The Federal Commissioner shall be entitled to request inspection of such records. He shall be assisted in locating such records.

(3) At his request the Federal Commissioner shall be provided with duplicates of records which are related to the activities of the State Security Service and which he requires to perform his duties. The duplicates shall become part of the records pursuant to section 6 paragraph 1.

(4) Paragraphs 1 to 3 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis to records which were recognizably established in cooperation between the State Security Service and other public or private bodies of the former German Democratic Republic, either at the behest of the former or in order to carry out its orders or directions.

Section 11 : Relinquishment and Return of Records to other Authorities

(1) Records which belong to other authorities and contain no indications of measures taken or ordered by the State Security Service shall be returned to the competent bodies by the Federal Commissioner

1. at their request or

2. if he becomes aware of the existence of such records in the course of his duties.

(2) The Federal Commissioner shall relinquish records of the Federation, the Länder, or their intelligence services with a classification of "Confidential" or higher to the Federal Minister of the Interior or the competent Land authority. The Federal Commissioner shall be entitled to make duplicates for his records.

(3) If former full-time employees of the State Security Service are to be employed or to remain employed in public service, the necessary personnel records shall be relinquished to the competent body for personnel files. The Federal Commissioner shall be entitled to make duplicates for his records.

(4) If former full-time employees of the State Security Service receive pensions, the necessary personnel records shall be relinquished to the competent pension administration authority. The Federal Commissioner shall be entitled to make duplicates for his records.

Part Three : Use of the State Security Service Records

Chapter One : Rights of Data Subjects, Third Parties,

Employees of the State Security Service and Beneficiaries

Section 12 : Procedural Provisions

(1) Requests for disclosure of information, for inspection of records or for obtaining records shall be filed in writing. The applicant shall be obliged to prove his identity by presenting a confirmation of it from the competent Land authority. If he is acting as an authorized representative, he shall be obliged to present a power of attorney. If the request is made by an authorized representative with power of attorney, either the data subjects, third parties, employees or beneficiaries themselves or their attorney, if he is expressly so authorized, shall be entitled to obtain information, to inspect the records, and to be provided with records.

If an applicant who has the right to inspect the records is dependent on the assistance of others to do so, it shall be permitted for him to be accompanied by a person enjoying his confidence. It shall be required to substantiate the necessity for such assistance. It shall be admissible for the Federal Commissioner to turn away the accompanying person if particular grounds justify his doing so.

(2) The Federal Commissioner shall disclose information in writing, unless circumstances warrant another form of disclosure. He shall exercise due discretion in this matter.

(3) If a request is to be handled with priority, it shall be required to justify the need for urgency. It can be assumed that the need for urgency is justified if the information is necessary for purposes of rehabilitation, compensation, to avert infringement of personal privacy or to exonerate the data subject from the accusation of cooperation with the State Security Service.

(4) Either the original records or duplicates shall be inspected. If, in addition to the personal data regarding the data subject, the records also contain information regarding other data subjects or third parties, inspection of original records shall be permitted only if

1. the other data subjects or third parties have given their consent;

2. separation of personal data regarding other data subjects or third parties is not possible or is possible only with unreasonable effort, and there is no reason to assume that the other data subjects or the third parties have an overriding legitimate interest in keeping them secret.

(5) Duplicates of records shall be provided only after the personal data regarding other data subjects and third parties has been depersonalized.

(6) The right to inspect and be provided with records shall not apply to evaluation aids (section 6 paragraph 1 sentence 1 letter c). If the records cannot be found or can be found only with unreasonable effort, the right to inspect and be provided with records shall extend to duplicates of file cards which are used in the evaluation of the records and in which personal data regarding the applicant is contained.

Section 13 : Data Subjects and Third Parties -

Disclosure of Information, Inspection of Records and Providing Records

(1) At their request, data subjects shall be provided with information regarding their existing prepared records. In their request they shall supply particulars which make it possible to locate records. The purpose for which information is being requested need not be given.

(2) The information shall consist of a description of the existing prepared records regarding the data subject and their contents. Providing information can at first be limited to a communication that records exist and that the data subject may have the opportunity to inspect such records.

(3) At his request the data subject shall be given the opportunity to inspect the prepared records which regard him.

(4) At his request the data subject shall be provided with duplicates of his personal records. The personal data in the duplicates regarding other data subjects or third parties shall be depersonalized.

(5) If code names of employees of the State Security Service who gathered or evaluated personal data regarding the data subject, or names of their officers, together with particulars which make it possible to positively identify these employees, can be found in the existing prepared records which the data subject has inspected or for which he has obtained duplicates, the names of such employees shall be provided to the data subject at his request. Sentence 1 shall also apply to other persons who informed on the data subject in writing, if the contents of their reports were written in such a way as to be detrimental to the data subject. The interest of employees and informers in keeping their names secret shall not rule out disclosure of their names.

(6) Paragraph 5 sentences 1 and 2 shall not be applicable to employees of the State Security Service if they were not at least 18 years old at the time of the activities in question.

(7) Paragraphs 1 to 6 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis to third parties, except that the applicant shall supply particulars which make it possible to locate the information. The information shall be provided only if the necessary effort is not disproportionate to the interest of the applicant in obtaining information.

Section 14 : Depersonalization and Erasure of Personal Data - Data Subjects and Third Parties

(1) At the request of data subjects or third parties, their personal data and the evaluation aids used to find records shall be depersonalized in the records of the State Security Service. Such requests shall be admissible after 1 January 1999.

(2) The depersonalization shall not be admissible

1. if other persons have an obviously overriding interest in being permitted to use the information as evidence;

2. if the information is necessary for research related to the political and historical reappraisal;

3. as long as an access request is pending from a competent body and therefore the interest of the applicant in depersonalization must be subordinated. The personal data regarding the applicant contained in the records may only be communicated or used to the extent that this is indispensable to the purpose which rules out the depersonalization.

(3) Paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis to personal data regarding an applicant which are contained in personnel records regarding an employee of the State Security Service.

(4) If depersonalization is not possible and if paragraph 2 is not applicable, the records shall be destroyed instead of depersonalized. If the records are automated, the information stored in them shall be erased instead of destroyed. Sentence 1 shall not be applicable if the records contain personal data of other data subjects or third parties and these do not give their consent to the destruction of the records.

Section 15 : Rights of Close Relatives of Missing and Deceased Persons -

Disclosure of Information, Inspection of Records and Providing Records

  1. At their request close relatives shall be provided with information

1. for the rehabilitation of a missing or deceased person;

2. to protect the right to privacy of a missing or deceased person, particularly to clarify accusations of cooperation with the State Security Service;

3. to clarify the fate of missing or deceased persons.

Persons requesting information shall substantiate the purpose for their request and provide proof of their relationship to the missing or deceased person.

(2) Section 13 paragraph 1 sentence 2 and paragraphs 2 to 6 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis.

(3) Close relatives are spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings.

(4) Paragraph 1 shall not be applicable if the missing or deceased person has left another disposition or if his wishes to the contrary can be clearly inferred from other circumstances.

Section 16 : Rights of Employees of the State Security Service -

Disclosure of Information, Inspection of Records and Providing Records

  1. At their request employees of the State Security Service shall be provided with information regarding the personal data contained in their personal records.

(2) The information can include a description of the nature and scope of their activities and of the group of persons who were the subjects of their reports, and also remarks about the frequency of their reports.

(3) At his request the employee shall be permitted to inspect his personal records. Section 12 paragraph 4 sentence 2 number 2 shall not be applicable.

(4) At his request the employee can be provided with information regarding reports which he prepared and can be permitted to inspect such reports if he can substantiate a legitimate reason for doing so. This shall not be applicable if it is outweighed by the legitimate interests of data subjects or of third parties in maintaining secrecy.

(5) At his request the employee shall be provided with duplicates of his personal records. Personal data in these records regarding data subjects or third parties shall be depersonalized.

Section 17 : Rights of Beneficiaries

(1) Section 16 paragraphs 1, 3 and 5 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis to the rights of beneficiaies to obtain information, to inspect the records, and to be provided with duplicates of records.

(2) The beneficiary shall supply particulars which make it possible to locate the records.

(3) Paragraph 1 shall not be applicable if the competent supreme federal authority or the competent Land authority declares to the Federal Commissioner that disclosing information, permitting inspection of the records or providing records may not occur due to an overriding public interest.

Section 18 : Right to Information -

Files Submitted to the State Security Service by Courts and Public Prosecutors

With respect to files of courts and public prosecutors which are in the custody of the Federal Commissioner, the respective Orders of Legal Procedure shall be applicable instead of section 12 paragraphs 4 to 6 and sections 13, 15 to 17, and 43.

Chapter Two : Use of Records by Public and Private Bodies

Section 19 : Procedural Provisions - Public and Private Bodies - Access to Records

(1) The Federal Commissioner shall make declarations to public and private bodies, permit them to inspect records, and provide them with records, to the extent that their use is admissible pursuant to sections 20 to 23, 25 and 26. Pursuant to sections 20 and 21, respectively paragraph 1 number 6, letters d to f, and number 7, letters b to f, so disclosure, opportunity for inspection, or release of records shall occur if there are no indications of unofficial activity for the State Security Service or a foreign intelligence service after December 31, 1975. Sentence 2 shall not apply to persons who are applying for official office, for a position, for authorization to practice a profession or for employment pursuant to sections 20 and 21, respectively paragraph 1 number 6 letters a to c or number 7 letter a. Sentence 2 shall also not apply if the records indicate that an employee in connection with his unofficial activity committed a crime or an offence against the principles of human rights or the legal state. 1

(2) It shall be admissible for the public body competent for the performance of the respective duty to direct its request to the Federal Commissioner. If a request is made for a private body, proof of entitlement shall be established in writing with reference to the legal basis for entitlement.

(3) The Federal Commissioner shall check if a request for disclosure of information, for inspection of records, or for obtaining records is related to an admissible purpose, if it lies within the remit of the recipient, and to what extent use of the records is necessary for the stated purpose. Regarding requests from courts, public prosecutors, and police authorities, to the extent that they are acting as auxiliary bodies of the federal prosecutor, the Federal Commissioner shall check on admissibility only if due cause exists.

(4) The Federal Commissioner shall make declarations in writing, unless individual circumstances warrant another form of declaration. He shall exercise due discretion in this matter.

(5) If the request for a declaration is to be handled with priority, it shall be required to justify the need for urgency. It can be assumed that the need for urgency is justified

1. If the information is necessary for purposes of rehabilitation, compensation, to avert infringement of personal privacy or to exonerate the data subject from the accusation of cooperation with the State Security Service.

2. for the clarification, taking custody of, and safekeeping of assets of the former German Democratic Republic and the former entities with headquarters within its territory, as well as the assets which were assigned to the Commercial Coordination sector.

3. for investigating persons in cases pursuant to section 20 paragraph 1 numbers 6 and 7 and section 21 paragraph 1 numbers 6 and 7;

4. for criminal prosecution and to avert harm in cases pursuant to section 23 paragraph 1 sentence 1 number 1 letters a and b and number 2.

(6) It shall be permitted to inspect records if declarations are not sufficient. Section 12 paragraph 4 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis except that the person whom the request regards shall be substituted for the applicant.

(7) The records shall be provided if the requesting body can substantiate that declarations and inspection are not sufficient or that inspection would involve unjustifiable effort. Original sources shall be provided only if they are indispensable, particularly as evidence. They shall be returned to the Federal Commissioner without delay as soon as they are no longer required as evidence. Section 12 paragraph 4 sentences 2 and 3 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis if the records also contain personal data regarding other data subjects and third parties in addition to the personal data regarding the involved person.

(8) Pursuant to sections 20 and 21 respectively paragraph 1 numbers 6 and 7, no disclosure, opportunity for inspection or release of records shall occur if

1. the information relates to activity while carrying out compulsory military service in the armed forces of the former German Democratic Republic or in another service, outside the State Security Service, corresponding to military service, in which no personal information was supplied and the activity was not continued after the completion of military service or

2. it can be established according to the contents of prepared records that, despite the existence of an agreement of cooperation, no information was supplied.

Paragraph 3 sentence 1 shall remain unaffected.

Section 20 : Use of Records Containing no Personal Data - Public and Private Bodies

(1) If records contain no personal data regarding data subjects or third parties, they may be used as necessary by public and private bodies for the following purposes:

1. rehabilitation of data subjects and missing and deceased persons, compensation, payments pursuant to the Prisoners' Act;

2. protection of privacy;

3. clarification of the fate of missing persons and of unexplained deaths;

4. cessation or suspension of pension payments pursuant to the Pension Benefits Act or reduction or disallowance or cessation of payments in other cases for which the Pension Benefits Act is applicable;

5. clarification, taking custody, and safekeeping of assets of the former German Democratic Republic and the former entities within its territory, as well as the assets which were assigned to the Commercial Coordination sector;

6. investigations regarding the following persons and in accordance with the applicable provisions in order to establish if they were employed as full-time employees or as unofficial informers of the State Security Service, unless the person being investigated was not at least 18 years old at the time in which the activities occurred;

a) members of the Federal Government or of a Land government as well as other public-law officials

b) representatives and members of municipal representative bodies

c) members of the Advisory Committee pursuant to section 39

d) persons who are employed or who are to continue being employed in Federal or Land service, including municipalities and associations of municipalities, supranational and international organizations, of which the Federal Republic of Germany is a member, as well as persons employed or who are to continue being employed by the churches or by members of the House of Parliament and Parliamentary Parties.

e) persons who are to continue practicing the profession of notary public or attorney

f) members of the managing board, managing directors, executives, or managers in concerns of a legal entity

persons who have been chosen by law, statute, or social contract to represent the majority, managing directors, executives, or managers in concerns of a majority-ruled organization, employees of the successor organizations of the "Sondervermögen Deutsche Bundespost" (Special Assets of the German Federal Post)

g) security clearance checks of persons

who are entrusted with, have access to, or could acquire access to facts, objects, or knowledge which must be kept secret in the public interest

are employed or are to be employed in security-sensitive areas of installations of vital importance or of importance to defense.

The clearance check can also be pursuant to employment for a foreign intelligence service;

7. investigations regarding the following persons, with their consent, to establish if they were full-time employees or unofficial informers of the State Security Service, unless the person being investigated was not at least 18 years old at the time in which the activities occurred:

a) political party executives down to district level

b) persons who serve as jury members

c) persons who hold honorary church offices

d) persons who fill national or Land-level executive positions in associations

e) members of workers' councils

f) persons who

in the above cases

in cases pursuant to number 6 letters a to f are applying for public office, for a position, for a professional licence or for employment.

The investigation can also be pursuant to employment for a foreign intelligence service; if indications exist which warrant suspicion of activities for the State Security Service or for a foreign intelligence service, it is sufficient to inform the person being investigated in lieu of obtaining his consent;

8. procedures pursuant to granting or denying permission to carry weapons pursuant to the Weapons Act, the Federal Hunting Act, the Explosives Act, the War Weapons Control Act, if indications regarding the personal reliability of the former State Security Service employee can be found in the records;

9. recognition of periods of employment, payment and transfer of pensions of former employees of the State Security Service;

10. matters regarding decorations.

(2) Section 26 shall remain unaffected.

(3) The use for the purposes stated in paragraph 1 numbers 6 and 7 be inadmissible after a statutory period of 15 years. This statutory period shall begin on the day this Act comes into effect. After the expiration of this statutory period, it shall no longer be admissible to charge a person with activities for the State Security Service, nor to evaluate to his detriment the fact that such activities occurred. The exceptions pursuant to section 52 paragraph 1 of the Federal Central Registry Act shall be applicable mutatis mutandis. The rights of other persons in connection with the activities of the employee, legal consequences of these activities and the decisions of courts or public administration authorities issued in relation to these activities shall remain unaffected.

Section 21 : Use of Records Containing Personal - Data - Public and Private Bodies

(1) If records contain personal data regarding data subjects or third parties, they may be used as necessary by public and private bodies for the following purposes:

1. rehabilitation of data subjects and missing and deceased persons, compensation, payments pursuant to the Act regarding Prisoners;

2. protection of privacy;

3. clarification of the fate of missing persons and of unexplained deaths;

4. cessation or suspension of pension payments according to the Pension Benefits Act or reduction or disallowance or cessation of payments pursuant to the Pension Benefits Act;

5. clarification, taking custody, and safekeeping of assets of the former German Democratic Republic and the former entities within its territory, as well as the assets which were assigned to the Commercial Coordination sector;

6. investigations regarding the following persons and in accordance with the applicable provisions in order to establish if they were employed as full-time employees or as unofficial informers of the State Security Service, unless the person being investigated was not at least 18 years old at the time in which the activities occurred:

a) members of the Federal Government or of a Land government as well as other public-law officials

b) representatives and members of municipal representative bodies

c) members of the Advisory Committee pursuant to section 39

d) persons who are employed or who are to continue being employed in Federal or Land service, including municipalities and associations of municipalities, supranational and international organizations, of which the Federal Republic of Germany is a member, as well as persons employed or who are to continue to be employed by the churches or by Members of the House of Parliament and Parliamentary Parties.

e) persons who are to continue practicing the profession of notary public or attorney

f) members of the managing board, managing directors, executives, or managers in concerns of a legal entity

persons who have been chosen by law, statute, or social contract to represent the majority, managing directors, executives, or managers in concerns of a majority-ruled organization, employees of the successor organizations of the "Sondervermögen Deutsche Bundespost" (Special Assets of the German Federal Post),

persons who have been chosen by law, statute, or social contract to represent the majority,

managing directors, executives, or managers of successor organizations of the "Sondervermögen Deutsche Bundespost" (Special Assets of the German Federal Post).

g) security clearance checks of persons

who are entrusted with, have access to, or could acquire access to facts, objects, or knowledge which must be kept secret in the public interest

are employed or are to be employed in security-sensitive areas of installations of vital importance or of importance to defense;

The clearance check can also be regarding employment by a foreign intelligence service;

7. investigations regarding the following persons, with their consent, to establish if they were full-time employees or unofficial informers of the State Security Service, unless the person being investigated was not at least 18 years old at the time in which the activities occurred:

a) political party executives down to district level

b) persons who serve as jury members

c) persons who hold honorary church offices

d) persons who fill national or Land-level executive positions in associations

e) members of workers' councils

f) persons who

in the above cases

in cases pursuant to number 6 letters a to f are applying for public office, for a position, for a professional licence or for employment;

The investigation can also be regarding employment by a foreign intelligence service. If indications exist which warrant suspicion of activities for the state security service or for a foreign intelligence service, it is sufficient to inform the person being investigated in lieu of obtaining his consent

(2) The specific prohibited use pursuant to section 5 paragraph 1 shall remain unaffected.

(3) The use for the purposes stated in paragraph 1 numbers 6 and 7 shall be inadmissible after a statutory period of 15 years. This statutory period shall begin on the day this Act comes into effect. After the expiration of this statutory period, it shall no longer be admissible to charge a person with activities for the State Security Service, nor to evaluate to his detriment the fact that such activities occurred. The exceptions pursuant to section 52 paragraph 1 of the Federal Central Registry Act shall be applicable mutatis mutandis. The rights of other persons in connection with the activities of the decisions of courts or public administration authorities issued in relation to these activities shall remain unaffected.

Section 22 : Use of the Records for the Purposes of Parliamentary Investigative Committees

(1) The right of parliamentary investigative committees to gather evidence, pursuant to section 44 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Basic Law, shall extend to the records of the State Security Service.

(2) Paragraph 1 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis to the parliamentary investigative committees of the Länder.

Section 23 : Use Of the Records for Criminal Prosecution and to Avert Harm

(1) If records contain personal data regarding data subjects or third parties, they may be used as necessary

1. for the prosecution of

a) criminal acts in connection with the regime of the former German Democratic Republic, particularly criminal acts in connection with employment by the State Security Service, or by other security, criminal-prosecution, or penal-system authorities, as well as by courts of the former German Democratic Republic;

b) crimes in cases pursuant to sections 211, 212 or 220 a, 239 a, 239 b, 306 to 306 c, 307 to 309, 313, 314 or 316c of the Penal Code as well as criminal acts pursuant to

section 52 a paragraphs 1 to 3, section 53 paragraph 1 sentence 1 numbers 1, 2, and sentence 2 of the Weapons Act

section 19 paragraphs 1 to 3, section 20 paragraph 1 or 2, respectively also in connection with section 21, or section 22 a paragraphs 1 to 3 of the Act regarding the Control of War Weapons

section 29 paragraph 3 numbers 1, 4, section 30 paragraph 1 numbers 1, 2 of the Controlled Substances Act

section 30 paragraph 1 number 4 of the Controlled Substances Act, if criminal acts have been committed by organized criminal groups or for payment

2. to avert an immediate substantial threat to public safety, in particular to avert threatened criminal acts. Section 5 paragraph 1 shall not be applicable. Specific prohibited use pursuant to the provisions of the Rules of Criminal Procedure shall remain unaffected.

(2) Other records may be used if necessary for the prosecution of criminal acts, inclusive of providing legal counsel in criminal cases, or to avert a substantial threat to public safety, particularly threatened criminal acts.

Section 24 : Use of Files Submitted to the State Security Service by Courts and Public Prosecutors

(1) With respect to the use of files from courts and public prosecutors in the custody of the Federal Commissioner, the respective legal procedures shall be applicable instead of sections 19 to 21, 23, 25 to 30 and 43. Section 5 paragraph 1 shall not be applicable if it is a matter regarding criminal acts pursuant to section 23 paragraph 1 number 1.

(2) The Federal Commissioner shall submit on request records pursuant to paragraph 1 sentence 1, to courts, public prosecutors and police authorities, if these are acting as auxiliary bodies of the public prosecutor. The records shall be returned without delay as soon as they are no longer required for the stated purpose.

Section 25 : Use of the Records by Intelligence Services

(1) If the records contain personal data regarding data subjects or third parties, they may not be used by or for an intelligence service. Exceptions are records which contain personal data regarding

1. employees of the intelligence services of the Federation, the Länder or their allies, if it is necessary to use the records to avert harm to these employees or to the intelligence services;

2. employees of other intelligence services if use of the records is necessary for counterespionage.

(2) Records, if they contain no personal data regarding data subjects or third parties, may be used by or for the intelligence services of the Federation and the Länder within the framework of their duties as well as by or for intelligence services of allies if they contain information regarding

1. intelligence or counterintelligence

2. the areas of violent extremism or terrorism pursuant to the Federal Constitutional Protection Act.

(3) In cases pursuant to paragraph 1 sentence 2, section 5 paragraph 1 shall remain unaffected.

(4) In cases pursuant to paragraph 1 sentence 2 and to paragraph 2, the Federal Minister of the Interior shall be empowered to order the Federal Commissioner to relinquish records without retaining any part or duplicates thereof, if leaving such records in the custody of the Federal Commissioner would be detrimental to the Federation or a Land. Such an order shall require the consent of the Parliamentary Control Commission pursuant to the Act regarding Parliamentary Control of the Intelligence Activities of the Federation.

(5) In addition, records pursuant to section 26 may be used by or for intelligence services within the framework of their legal duties.

Section 26 : Use of Service Regulations and Organizational Plans

Guidelines, service regulations, organizational plans and personnel plans of the State Security Service, if they contain no personal data regarding data subjects or third parties, may also be used for other purposes. The same shall be applicable to plans and drawings of property and other objects of the State Security Service, in particular to ground plans and plans of plumbing and heating, electricity and telephone installations.

Section 27 : Unsolicited Reports to Public Bodies

(1) If in the course of his duties pursuant to section 37 the Federal Commissioner establishes that one of the following persons has been a full-time employee or unofficial informer of the State Security Service:

1. persons who hold a public-law office or a position pursuant to section 20 paragraph 1 number 6 letters a to c

2. a civil servant who can be given leave of absence or an employee in a corresponding position

3. a civil servant or employee who is the managing director of an authority

4. an elected or honorary public official

5. a judge or public prosecutor

6. an attorney or notary public

7. a person employed by a church

8. a person who, because of his activities, may use records pursuant to section 20 paragraph 1 number 4 or section 21 paragraph 1 number 4, he shall report this to the competent body.

(2) If the Federal Commissioner establishes in the course of his duties that there are indications in the records for

1. a criminal act in connection with activities of the State Security Service

2. one of the criminal acts pursuant to section 23 paragraph 1 number 1

3. a substantial impairment of public safety

4. the existence of assets pursuant to section 20 paragraph 1 number 5 and section 21 paragraph 1 number 5, he shall report this to the competent body.

(3) If the Federal Commissioner establishes in the course of his duties pursuant to section 37 that there is information in the records regarding intelligence, counterintelligence, violent extremism, or terrorism pursuant to the Federal Constitutional Protection Act, he shall report this of his own accord to the Federal Minister of the Interior.

(4) Reports pursuant to paragraphs 1 to 3 shall only be admissible if they may also be made pursuant to a request.

Section 28 : Unsolicited Reports to Private Bodies

(1) If the Federal Commissioner establishes in the course of his duties pursuant to section 37 that

1. political party executives down to the district level

2. persons who fill national or Land-level executive positions in associations

3. members of the managing board, managing directors, executives, or managers in concerns of a legal entity

4. persons who have been chosen by law, statue, or social contract to represent the majority, managing directors, executives or managers in concerns of a majority-ruled organization have been full-time employees or unofficial informers of the State Security Service, he shall report this to the competent body.

(2) Reports pursuant to paragraph 1 shall only be admissible if they may also be made pursuant to a request.

Section 29 : Limitations of Use

(1) Pursuant to sections 19 to 23 and 25, and to sections 27 and 28, personal data which has been communicated may be processed or used only for the purpose for which it has been communicated. It may be used for other purposes only if the requirements pursuant to sections 20 to 23 and 25 have been met.

(2) Consent of the Federal Commissioner shall be required if, pursuant to paragraph 1 sentence 2, personal data regarding data subjects or third parties is to be processed or used for another purpose.

(3) Paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis for personal data in the records which, pursuant to section 8 paragraph 2, remain with public bodies.

Section 30 : Notification

(1) If the Federal Commissioner communicates personal data regarding a data subject pursuant to sections 21, 27 paragraph 1 and section 28, the data subject shall be notified regarding the type of information provided and the recipient.

(2) Notification shall not be compulsory if the data subject has been otherwise informed of the communication or if notification would require unjustifiable effort.

(3) Notification shall not occur during a particular time period if the competent supreme Federal or Land authority declares to the Federal Commissioner that notification of the communication would be detrimental to the Federation or a Land.

Section 31 : Judicial Review of Decisions of the Federal Commissioner at the Request of Authorities

(1) If the Federal Commissioner refuses to honor the request of an authority for a declaration or for inspection or submission of records, the District Administrative Court shall, at the request of this authority, hold a hearing to decide on the legality of the refusal. The decision shall not be contestable. There shall be no pre-trial hearing. The District Administrative Court of the district in which the Federal Commissioner has his headquarters shall have jurisdiction.

(2) It shall be admissible for the presiding judge to deny or limit inspection of the files or parts thereof, as well as to limit the preparation or distribution of excerpts or duplicates, if this is warranted by the particular circumstances. This decision and the decision of the District Administrative Court regarding the obligatory submission of documents pursuant to section 99 paragraph 2 of the Administrative Court Regulations shall not be contestable. Furthermore, the participants shall maintain secrecy regarding the facts which have become known to them through inspection of the files.

Chapter Three

Use of the Records - Political and Historical Reappraisal, Press and Broadcasting Sectors

Section 32 : Use of the Records for Reappraisal of the Activities of the State Security Service

(1) The Federal Commissioner shall provide the following records for research related to the political and historical reappraisal of the activities of the State Security Service and for political education:

1. records which contain no personal data

2. duplicates of records in which the personal data has been depersonalized

3. records containing personal data regarding

contemporary historical personages, political office-holders or public-law officials while in office, unless they are data subjects or third parties

employees of the State Security Service, unless these were not at least 18 years old at the time of the activities described in the records

beneficiaries of the State Security Service

unless publication of the records would impair the overriding legitimate interests of the persons involved.

4. records containing other personal data, if the data subjects have given their written consent, specifying both the intention and the persons who will carry it out.

(2) Records which, pursuant to section 37 paragraph 1 number 3 letters b to d are subject to special storage, may be used only with the consent of the Federal Minister of the Interior.

(3) It shall be admissible to publish personal data only if

1. the persons about whom the personal data is to be published ave given their consent or

2. the personal data regards

contemporary historical personages, political office-holders or public-law officials while in office, unless they are data subjects or third parties

employees of the State Security Service, unless these were not at least 18 years old at the time of the activities described in the records

beneficiaries of the State Security Service

unless publication of such personal data would impair the overriding legitimate interests of these persons.

(4) Paragraphs 1 and 3 shall also apply correspondingly for the purpose of the political and historical reappraisal of the National Socialist past.

Section 33 : Procedure

(1) Inspection of records for purposes of research or political education shall be permitted in the principal office or in one of the branch offices of the Federal Commissioner.

(2) The inspection may be limited to duplicates if this is warranted by the importance or state of preservation of the records.

(3) If inspection of records is permitted, it shall be admissible to provide duplicates of records on request.

(4) It shall be inadmissible to use duplicates which have been provided pursuant to paragraph 3 for other purposes or to pass them on to other bodies.

(5) It shall be inadmissible to inspect unprepared records.

Section 34 : Use of Records by Press, Broadcasting, and Film

(1) Section 32 and 33 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis to the use of records by the press, film, or broadcasting sectors or by their auxiliary enterprises or their journalistic-editorial personnel.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

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