108. In Search of My Stasi-File (2)

The informants’ references to me in five sections of Sicherungsbereich Literatur (Security Zone Literature) gave me the excuse I needed to approach the Stasi Records Agency again, this time with evidence that I in all likelihood did have a Stasi-file. Since more than four years had elapsed since my initial inquiry in March 1993, I wrote a more forceful letter to which I attached photocopies of the relevant passages that appeared in Joachim Walther’s book (see Part 106). In this letter, which is dated June 30, 1997, I asked about the status of my application to gain access to my Stasi-file, assuming that one existed. In the concluding paragraph I wrote:

The mention of my name several times in Joachim Walther’s book strengthens my suspicion that Ministry for State Security documents related to my person exist. I would therefore like to ask you, on the basis of the new information that has surfaced, to process my application as soon as possible and advise me as regards the existence of files containing personal information about me and, if applicable, grant me permission to inspect those documents. I would be grateful for a reply.

My letter had the desired effect; it got the process of locating the reports and other documents that comprise my file underway—at last! In September 1997, I received a letter from a case worker assigned to me at the Agency, Ms. Eckert, indicating that the preliminary search for documents had met with success. In the letter Ms. Eckert stated that, due to the relatively small size of my file, they would be willing to make a photocopy of it and send that to me. She invited me to call her at the Agency and let her know how I wanted to proceed.

I was delighted to learn that I would not have to travel to Berlin, in order to inspect my file. I called Ms. Eckert and expressed interest in receiving a photocopy of the file and, when asked, affirmed that I was prepared to cover the photocopying and shipping charges. She did not say when I could expect to receive the file, just that it would take a while to gather all the documents and then process and photocopy them.