East Germany’s secret police kept extensive records on Chancellor Olaf Scholz when he was a senior member of the West German Social Democratic Party’s youth wing in the 1970s and 80s, German tabloid Bild reported.
Files obtained by the newspaper showed the Stasi closely followed his visits to the communist country at a time when he was deputy leader of the Young Socialists, describing him as a “seasoned political professional who has a lot of influence in the organisation.”
Scholz, then a lawyer living in Hamburg, travelled to the former East Germany (GDR) several times in his capacity as a leader in the youth wing of his Social Democratic Pary (SPD).
According to the Stasi documents seen by Bild, the agents had identified Scholz as an “old school political professional, who has a lot of influence.” They instructed their colleagues to give Scholz and his companions special treatment, such as “visas for Berlin, no fees” and to give them “polite clearance, without customs control.”
He was also allowed to enter without the required exchange of currency at a rate favorable to the GDR.
The Stasi gathered vast amounts of information on East Germany’s citizens and influential people abroad, both through its own agents and with the help of informants.
Many of the files were destroyed before German reunification in 1990, but some have survived and can be accessed by those concerned or for research purposes.
Asked about the files Thursday, Scholz said they “weren’t nice, but that’s just the way it is.”
The 63-year-old was elected chancellor last month, succeeding Angela Merkel, who grew up in East Germany.
Photo – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN
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