Roland Jahn

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Roland Jahn
17-05-10-Pressetermin-Weissensee-RalfR RR79303.jpg
Jahn in January 2012
Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records
Assumed office
14 March 2011
Preceded by Marianne Birthler
Personal details
Born (1953-07-14) 14 July 1953 (age 63)
Jena, East Germany[1]
Political party Independent[2]

Roland Jahn (born 14 July 1953) is a German journalist and former East German dissident who took office as Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records in March 2011.

Education and activism[edit]

Born in Jena, Jahn began to study economics in 1975 but was forced to end his studies in 1977 after he criticized the extradition of singer-activist Wolf Biermann from East Germany to West Germany. He then worked as a transport worker at the VEB Carl Zeiss Jena.[3] Jahn became active in protests opposing militarization and censorship in East Germany, resulting in multiple arrests until he was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment in 1982 for displaying a flag of the forbidden Polish non-communist trade union Solidarity.[4] He was released after several weeks following international protests, formed an activist group and continued to demonstrate.[5] Jahn was arrested and forcibly extradited to West Germany via train on 8 June 1983 under order of the Minister of State Security Erich Mielke. Jahn's East German lawyer Wolfgang Schnur was later revealed to have worked for the Ministry for State Security (Stasi).[3]

Jahn's East German citizenship was revoked in 1983 and he began to work as a journalist in West Berlin. Jahn continued to support East German dissidents, smuggled cameras to them, and relayed their activities to West German media. His reports were broadcast on West Berlin television and illegally picked up by East Germans; a smuggled camera allowed broadcasting footage of the Monday demonstrations in East Germany.[1][5] Jahn was politically active in West Germany and demonstrated against rearmament, resulting in a 30-day prison sentence in West Berlin in December 1985.[2] Jahn remained a target of Stasi spying until the German reunification in 1990 and he documented the following downfall of the former East German government and social change as a journalist. He has been employed as a journalist for the public Berlin-Brandenburg Broadcasting program Kontraste since 1991 and received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1998.[4]

Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records, 2010–present[edit]

In 2010, Jahn was nominated as Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records by the Christian Democratic Union in the Federal Diet of Germany.[2] His nomination was approved on 28 January 2011 by a majority of the Federal Diet.[6] Jahn's term of office will last five years and he will be charged with public access and administration of the Stasi Records Agency. Jahn stated that he does not intend to use his position for retribution and instead "want[s] justice".[5]

Other activities[edit]

  • German Institute for Human Rights (DIMR), Member of the Board of Trustees[7]


  1. ^ a b "Der rbb-Journalist Roland Jahn" (in German). Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Kellerhoff, Sven Felix (2 December 2010). "Roland Jahn – Freigeist und ein wenig Anarchist" [Roland Jahn – Free spirit and a bit of an anarchist]. Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Meisner, Matthias; Matthias, Schlegel (23 January 2011). "Wer ist Roland Jahn?" [Who is Roland Jahn?]. Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Pfauth, Sarina (28 October 2010). "Unverwüstlich für die Freiheit" [Resilient for freedom]. Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c Bolsover, Catherine (28 January 2011). "Former East German dissident takes over as head of the Stasi files". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Birthler-Behörde wird zur Jahn-Behörde" [Birthler-agency becomes Jahn-agency]. Dorstener Zeitung (in German). 28 January 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Board of Trustees German Institute for Human Rights (DIMR).

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Marianne Birthler
Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records