A government spokesman confirmed Saturday that documents have been discovered appearing to prove that former East German prime minister Lothar de Maiziere, now a minister in Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government, was an informer for the Stasi secret police for eight years under the code name "Czerny."
Kohl summoned de Maiziere to his office Thursday after a committee combing through the voluminous Stasi files reported the discovery, government spokesman Dieter Vogel said. De Maiziere, as he did when similar but unfounded charges surfaced in January, denied ever having informed for the Stasi.In a statement Saturday, de Maiziere said an investigation last spring by the now-dissolved East German parliament found no evidence that he had any connection to the Stasi. "I only had contact with the Stasi as far as it was required by my work," de Maiziere said. "I signed no commitments, and I received no money or other benefits."
Kohl and de Maiziere have asked for an investigation of the latest evidence, which indicates that the East German provided the Communist government with reports on the Protestant church, a relatively safe place for dissidents in the Stalinist society.
Before entering politics as the reluctant Christian Democratic candidate for prime minister in East Germany's first vote after the fall of the Communists, de Maiziere was a lawyer for the church, a position in which he often defended dissidents.
One of the files discovered this week dates from September 1988 and says Stasi Maj. Edgar Hasse met with de Maiziere about once a month and received information about the church, de Maiziere's legal work and his connections to leading officials of the West German diplomatic office in East Berlin.
According to an advance text of an article to appear in next week's issue of the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, the operative Czerny had the same address as de Maiziere and had worked for the Stasi since 1981. The control officer, Hasse, told the magazine that de Maiziere initiated the relationship, chose his own code name and came to the Stasi voluntarily.
In an interview with The Washington Post shortly before the two Germanys reunited this fall, de Maiziere said that "a difficult situation has arisen, in which the accused must now prove their innocence. I'm opposed to all forms of collective guilt. Guilt is always of the individual."