Stasi files shed light on West German spy agency's Nazi past

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Officials at Germany's Stasi archive have agreed to release some information showing West Germany's secret service employed former Nazi criminals. But some key data remains under wraps.

It's one of the country's worst-kept secrets. Yet questions still surround the presence of former Nazis and war criminals in West Germany's police, secret service (BND) and politics. Who were those people, what positions did they hold in Nazi Germany and later in post-war West Germany?

Crucial information about the BND's past has long been hidden in the Stasi files - the vast archive of information meticulously gathered by former Communist East Germany's secret police, the Stasi. The aim was to either blackmail Western agents or to discredit its capitalist neighbor to the west.

After reunification some of those documents were made available, but parts of the archives remained locked away for reasons of data privacy.

Continuity between Nazis and West Germany

Recently, the last remaining documents from the Stasi files were released to the public. Journalist Andreas Foerster had requested them as early as the year 2000, but his request was turned down twice. After persisting for years, he was finally granted access....

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