Former Communists Seek to Turn Aside Stasi Claims
BERLIN (AP) _ Two ex-Communist lawmakers accused of working for East Germany’s secret police battled back Wednesday against their nemesis _ the agency working through mountains of old Stasi files.
The parliamentary leader of the remade East German communists, Gregor Gysi, said a campaign of ``character assassination″ was behind the latest report that he informed for the Stasi secret police.
His deputy, Christa Luft, said a 1963 Stasi pledge she signed had led to nothing and she had forgotten it. Luft, 57, who joined the East German Communist Party in 1958, blasted the Stasi-files authority, saying it told her last September there were no critical files on her.
``Somehow I can’t escape the feeling that they had found these files but believed they could use them to more effect at a later date,″ said Luft.
The two members of the Party of Democratic Socialism _ as the reformed East German ruling party is called _ could be forced to give up their seats in the Bundestag if the accusations hold.
The Gauck Authority, headed by Johannes Gauck, an east German clergyman, is working through mountains of secret police files. Its findings have already ruined a number of prominent political careers, and east German leftists condemn the agency as an instrument of west German domination.
The secret police agency kept millions of files on East Germans, and was so pervasive that over 100,000 people are believed to have been informants. Some caused serious damage to others’ lives, but other informants did little or nothing.
The Stasi _ short for Ministry for State Security _ also was East Germany’s foreign espionage agency.
A high court decision last week gave what amounts to amnesty to most East Germans who worked for the espionage arm, prompting some Germans to say it is time to stop publishing the Stasi domestic intelligence files.
Gysi, 47, said the report on him was ``false, unserious and sloppy,″ and threatened to sue to block the report, which has not been officially released.
A Gauck Authority spokesman, Thomas Rogalla, said Gysi was using ``half-truths, distortions and misrepresentations,″ and challenged him to explain how the Stasi got inside information on dissidents he defended.
The reports on Gysi and Luft have been given to the Bundestag immunity committee. Others in similar circumstances have resigned.
The head of the immunity committee, Dieter Wiefelspuetz, said the work of the Stasi-files commission has been ``extraordinarily sound and carefully produced″ so far and said his panel would examine the new reports immediately.