Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the GDR

Forschungsabteilung des BStU
Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 31/33
10178 Berlin
Prof. Dr. Daniela Münkel
Tel. +49 (0) 30 23248811
Dr. Elke Stadelmann-Wenz
Tel. +49 (0) 30 2324881

The Education and Research Department (BF) conducts basic research on important subject areas. Its studies focus on a reconstruction of the MfS apparatus and primary-source publications of key documents relevant to general investigations of East Germany as well as of German-German and international relations.

Cold War Interests: 

The research project "Clash of Cold War Intelligence Services: the Stasi vs. the BND" investigates the role of the East German Ministry for State Security (the "Stasi") in its confrontation with the "Gehlen Organization," then West Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, within the greater conflict of systems between the two German states. Specifically, it examines counterintelligence by the MfS against its West German rival. The time frame of the project spans from 1950 to the 1980s and therefore includes both the intelligence conflict's most active phase in the 1950s and the turning point of the Berlin Wall's construction in 1961 and the changes it brought to intelligence activities on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Another watershed was the new Ostpolitik of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt in the early 1970s. His policy redefined the framework of relations between the two German states, which greatly influenced the respective services' operational intelligence practices. The project endeavors to embed the intelligence confrontation between the two German states as a socio-historical problem field of the Cold War in the asymmetrically woven parallel histories of the two Germanys. It will investigate reciprocal associations and interdependencies, as well as the respective actors' specific practices and patterns of perception and interpretation. In cooperation with the Independent Historical Commission on the History of the BND (the "UHK"), a study on "Aktion Feuerwerk," the opening of the "concentrated strikes" is due to be completed in 2016. This collaboration is enabling researchers for the first time to compare MfS and BND documents. A comprehensive monograph on MfS counterintelligence against the BND in the 1950s is planned for 2017.  An additional publication will be devoted to the period following the Wall's construction in 1961 to the 1980s.