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Files in the Stasi Records Archive

Inventory Information on the Records of the State Security Service in the Berlin Headquarter

The inventory overview provides an initial overview of the content, scope and usability of the records of the Ministry for State Security (MfS) held in the archive's headquarters.

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1. Introduction

The MfS holdings are essentially divided into partial holdings of the various service units and the archival holdings. The documents from the partial holdings of the service units were still in use until 1989/90.

The archival holdings contain those documents that Department XII – which the MfS Central Archive belonged to – had archived up to 1989. These were primarily person-related files from the above-mentioned service units.

The inventory overview is of a provisional nature since file indexing is not yet complete. This has to do in part with the chaotic condition in which the documents were found. The partial holdings are confusingly large and in general they lack a filing plan. The registry classifications of the MfS are not very useful. Furthermore, it is not known to what degree the holdings of the service units were affected by the destruction of files that took place in 1989/90. There are some service units for which no evidence of records can be currently found. The MfS archival holdings, however, were almost complete when they were taken over.

Another point is that the records were and continue to be indexed under unusual conditions. The archival material is in constant use during the phase of indexing. Only a very small amount of the records are disposed of. An archival evaluation of the records has yet to be conducted.

The condition of the preserved holdings of the MfS district administrations and their local offices with their partial holdings is presented on the respective web pages of the regional offices.

You'll find detailed inventory lists on our German website.

The collected information will be continually revised and updated.

2. Information and Special Features

Partial Holdings and Service Units

The service units include primarily the main departments and the independent departments of the MfS. Every service unit was responsible for "guaranteeing the state security" in its specific work area. This responsibility applied to specific sites, institutions, facilities and people.

Department XII

Department XII divided the documents into nine different filing groups. The largest and most important section is made up of the "Operative Hauptablage" or Central File (Archival Holdings 1). It essentially contains the files on people that fell into the following record categories:

  • Unofficial Collaborator
  • Officer in Special Operations
  • Operative Procedures and Operative Control of Persons
  • Investigative Procedures

Other important files are located in the "Allgemeinen Sachablage" or General Subject File (Archival Holdings 2) where the "enemy and control object" files were archived.

The "Personalaktenablage," Personal Files (Archival Holdings 3), contains documents on the official employees of the MfS.

Archival Holdings 4 contains files from the offices of the public prosecutors. The MfS, in cooperation with the general state prosecutors and the district and military prosecutors, took over the court files and criminal files concerning general crime.

Files that the MfS viewed as highly classified were handed over to Archival Holdings 5, the Secret Archive.

Archival Holdings 6 contains files from the Intelligence Administration of the Ministry of National Defence, of which only a fraction still exists.

Archival Holdings 7 contained protocols from computerised documents. (Holdings closed down prior to 1987, number not re-used).

Archival Holdings 8 contains files on military desertion.

Files of the work area of the criminal investigation police (K) are located in Archival Holdings 9. K I worked closely with the State Security Service. Work Area I recruited unofficial collaborators, which led to a comparison with the MfS’ own inventory of informers and an indexing and archiving of the files there.

In addition, Department XII oversaw both Repository XII/01 with the records of General Crime and Repository XII/02 with the Federal Republic’s list of wanted persons.

You will also find information on:

  • Documents from the SED district leadership (including FDJ leadership), which was responsible for carrying out party work within the MfS.
  • Information on preserved film and audio recordings
  • Machine-readable data
  • Topographical maps on various service units of the MfS

A few files exist about SV Dynamo, the sports association of the GDR security organs.

There is also an overview of the few documents that still exist from the central leadership of the sports association SV Dynamo.

Finding Aids

There are basically two kinds of finding aids: those adopted from the MfS (usually on people), files indexes and finding aids created by the archivists. The latter refers to Stasi Records Archive finding aids designed for internal use only, such as the databank "Sachaktenerschließung" (SAE) and the "Electronic Register of People" (EPR). Both are referred to in the inventory overview.

The archive staff has created preliminary finding aids on some holdings from the SAE data records using these classifications. They are available for viewing and download. The archivists also research inquiries in the SAE databank in connection with the processing of information requests according to §§ 32, 32a of the Stasi Records Act (StUG).

More information on indexing and research findings are found in the Activity Report (in German only) published every two years.

3. Citation Form of Records (abbreviated version)

a) Documents of the Berlin Headquarters

Bundesarchiv..., Ministry for State Security, service unit/procedure type – current storage number (when applicable: year of entry into the MfS holdings of Department XII – section and volume number may follow)

Abbreviated form with sample:

BArch, MfS, HA II, Nr. 345.

The archive call numbers are retained for the MfS archival holdings.

b) Records of the Regional Offices

Bundesarchiv...Ministry for State Security..., MfS district administration, service unit/procedure type/district office – current storage number (when applicable: year of entry into the MfS holdings of Department XII – section and volume number may follow)

Abbreviated form with sample:
BArch, MfS, BV Erfurt, Abt. II, Nr. 345.

The archive call numbers are retained for the MfS archival holdings.

Detailed information is available (in German only, "Zitierweisen der Unterlagen des MfS")