Documents show the former East German Communist authorities took away children of dissidents and adopted them out without the parents' approval, officials said Thursday.

"It is now becoming known that the state had also acted as kidnapper," Berlin's Youth and Family Senator Thomas Krueger said.Krueger confirmed a report in a daily, which said documents found in a Berlin cellar showed the then-Stalinist authorities had taken away the children of several "politically suspect" parents, notably couples who had tried to escape to then West Germany.

The children were reportedly adopted by other couples without the approval of the parents.

Berlin's Spandauer Volksblatt said the documents found recently covered eight forced adoptions, but Krueger said he expected additional such cases to come to light.

"We are far from having extracted all the rudiments from the cellars," he said.

The daily said the directive to give up the children for adoption had originated from the Ministry for Popular Education, led by Margot Honecker - the wife of hard-line Stalinist Erich Honecker.