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Wolfgang Schwanitz (born June 26, 1930 in Berlin) was the last head of the Stasi, the East German secret police, that was officially renamed the "Office for National Security" on November 17, 1989. Unlike his predecessor, Erich Mielke, he did not hold the title "Minister of State Security", but was "Leader of the Office for National Security".
Schwanitz became a member of the Free German Youth already when the German Democratic Republic was founded. In 1950, he became a member of the Gesellschaft für Deutsch-Sowjetische Freundschaft, and in 1953, of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the ruling East German communist party. He worked for the Stasi from 1951, and studied at the college of the Stasi, where he earned a doctorate with a dissertion on "combating hostile tendencies among the youth" (German: Bekämpfung feindlicher Erscheinungen unter Jugendlichen) (the doctorate is not recognized in present-day Germany).
Between 1974 and 1986, he was head of Stasi in East Berlin. In 1986, he was appointed Stasi Lieutenant General and deputy of the Minister for State Security Erich Mielke.
During the collapse of the communist regime in the autumn of 1989, both the long-time Head of State of East Germany, Erich Honecker, and the long-time head of the Stasi, Erich Mielke, resigned from their positions. After Hans Modrow formed a new government, Schwanitz was appointed the successor of Mielke as Leader of the Office for National Security and member of the Council of Ministers. The Stasi was dissolved on March 31, 1990.
After the German Reunification, Schwanitz has been a leading member of the organisation Gesellschaft zur Rechtlichen und Humanitären Unterstützung, consisting of Stasi veterans who defend the communist regime and the Stasi. On March 14, 2006, a discussion of the future of the Stasi museum Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen was massively disturbed by Schwanitz and 200 Stasi veterans, who attacked victims of the communist regime, mocking them and describing them as "criminal elements". The incident caused a political scandal, and led to harsh criticism against the responsible senator, Thomas Flierl, who had remained silent after the attacks.
- "Schwanitz, Wolfgang". Wer war wer in der DDR? (in German). Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur.
- Hubertus Knabe, Die Täter sind unter uns. Über das Schönreden der SED-Diktatur, Propyläen, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-549-07302-5
|Head of Stasi