‘Release names of Stasi spies’

A Swedish politician has called for security service Säpo to publish the names of Swedes who collaborated with the Stasi, East Germany's feared secret police.

'Release names of Stasi spies'

Arguing the need for more public debate, Moderate Party member of parliament Hans Wallmark has tabled a parliamentary motion imploring Säpo to open up its archives.

“We know that there were Swedes who ran around gossiping to the East Germans. It is important that Sweden has a debate about this in order to achieve reconciliation,” Wallmark told The Local

“The situation is comparable to discussions after the Second World War about people who helped the Nazis,” he added.

According to Wallmark, opening the files would benefit both former Stasi spies and their victims.

“Perhaps somewhat paradoxically, it is important to open the archive out of consideration for the people who worked for the Stasi. They will then have a chance to explain themselves before they are written about in the history books in 50 years time,” said Wallmark.

Säpo has so far been reluctant to divulge information about the handful of Swedes it knows spied for the Stasi. In August, spokesman Jakob Larsson told The Local that Säpo would not release the names “partly on national security grounds, partly in the interests of our organization and partly out of consideration to the individuals.”

Hans Wallmark accepted that the expiry date for prosecution had long since elapsed. But he also argued that Sweden had a moral imperative to confront its recent past.

“Again it is a question of people doing the dirty work of evil regimes. In many ways the Stasi can be seen as a successor to the Gestapo, with a lot of the same people working for both organizations,” he said.

While the debate about Stasi collaborators has raged in neighbouring Finland, the issue has not generated nearly as much interest in Sweden.

“I’ve been amazed by the intensity of the debate in Finland compared to the general apathy here.

“It may be that we in Sweden haven’t taken on board the crimes against humanity carried out by communist regimes to the same extent as the Finns,” said Wallmark.