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Stasi pastor gives up licence to preach

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Stasi pastor gives up licence to preach
08:11 CEST+02:00
Aleksander Radler, the Church of Sweden pastor who was exposed as a spy for the feared East German intelligence service Stasi, has chosen to give up his licence to preach, he said in an interview with Christian newspaper Dagen.

“Through information that I passed on about students in what was then the DDR, these people were incarcerated and treated badly at the end of the 1960s. Nothing torments my conscience as much as that,” Radler wrote to Dagen.

He told the paper that it was the then most prominent East German theologian Hans-Georg Fritsche who drew him into the intelligence gathering as a young theology student in Eastern Germany.

“And for those who made the mistake to start, it was not unproblematic to get out again,” Radler wrote.

Many of the young people that Radler passed on information on were sentenced to long prison sentences in East Germany and were later refused to return to university or get a job.

Radler told the paper that once he moved to Sweden at the end of the 1960s, he continued his intelligence gathering for Stasi by reporting on high-ranking members in the Church of Sweden up until the fall of the wall in 1989.

“I should have listened to my inner moral voice and broken off with the destructive forces, despite the high social and academic costs,“ Radler told Dagen.

Radler, who says he is riddled by guilt and remorse, has now decided to give up his right to preach in Sweden, despite the fact that the Church of Sweden investigation into the matter has not yet been completed.

He describes his existence as a “double-nature”.

“On the one hand there was my work for God and then the dark memories, irreconcilable with the Christian message, on the other,” Radler told the paper.

According to a recent Stasi exhibition organized by the German embassy in Stockholm, 153 Swedes have so far been exposed as Stasi agents.

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