Marianne Birthler

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Marianne Birthler
Marianne Birthler 7153.jpg
Birthler in 2009
Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records
In office
2000–2011
Preceded by Joachim Gauck
Succeeded by Roland Jahn
Personal details
Born (1948-01-22) 22 January 1948 (age 66)
Berlin
Birthler gives an address during a protest against the communists on 4 November 1989

Marianne Birthler (born 22 January 1948 in Friedrichshain, Berlin) is a German human rights advocate and politician of the Alliance '90/The Greens. From 2000 to 2011, she served as the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records, responsible for investigating the past crimes of the Stasi, the former communist secret police of East Germany.[1]

She grew up in East Germany, where she became a member of the Initiative for Peace and Human Rights, which formed part of the resistance to the Soviet-imposed communist regime in the 1980s. She was elected to the only democratically elected People's Chamber in the GDR in March 1990, where she served as spokeswoman of the Alliance 90. From German Reunification on 3 October 1990 until the elections of 2 December 1990, she was a member of the Bundestag, the Parliament of Germany. In October 1990, she became a member of the state parliament of Brandenburg, and in November, she was appointed as Minister for Education in the state government of Manfred Stolpe. She resigned from the parliament in the summer of 1992 and from the cabinet in October the same year.

From 1993 to 1994, she was co-spokesperson (i.e., leader, with Ludger Volmer) of the Alliance '90/The Greens. She was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz in 1995.

In September 2000, she was appointed by the Parliament of Germany as Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records, succeeding Joachim Gauck. She was appointed to a second term in January 2006. In February 2011 it was revealed 53 former Stasi agents were employed at the Stasi Records Agency under her leadership, creating a controversy as she prepared to leave the authority the following month.[2] As Federal Commissioner, she has notably been a strong critic of the left party Die Linke, the successor of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, and has on several occasions criticized the party of being extremist and nominating former Stasi employees as members of parliament. She has also criticized other parties for cooperating with the Die Linke party, warning that the party should not be given political influence.

She was a member of the 2009 Federal Convention, serving as an elector of the President of Germany. Before the election, she strongly criticized the SPD candidate Gesine Schwan for claiming that the GDR was "not an unjust state".

Marianne Birthler was formerly (until 1983) married to veterinarian Wolfgang Birthler, who has since become a cabinet minister of Brandenburg. They have three daughters.

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Civic offices
Preceded by
Joachim Gauck
Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records
2000-2011
Succeeded by
Roland Jahn