Former East Bloc Countries Sign Accord on Stasi Files

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A symbolic spot was chosen to sign the deal: the European House at the Brandenburg Gate. Until the end of 1989, the Berlin Wall stood just a few meters away.

For Marianne Birthler, the head of the Federal Commission for the Records of the State Security Service of the former East Germany, it was the fulfillment of a long-held dream: to deal with Cold War secret police issues on an international basis.

Systematic cooperation

There has been contact between the countries in the past, but nothing systematic. The European network -- which will include the documentation agency of the East German Stasi, as well as their counterparts in Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary -- is expected to change all that.

"One of our projects will be to provide information about our work in all seven countries, either via the internet or in printed form," Birthler said. "Of course, we will also host conferences. There could even be a joint exhibition. We'll have to see."

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