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Germany: Berlin mayor seeks dismissal of official with Stasi past

The ministry is now run by the Left Party, which has roots in the East's communist party.

By: AP | Berlin |
January 14, 2017 10:49:20 pm
Berlin deputy construction minister Andrej Holm. (AP/File) Berlin deputy construction minister Andrej Holm. (AP/File)

Berlin’s mayor on Saturday sought the dismissal of an official who has faced increasing pressure over his former ties with communist East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi, an affair that has marred the new city government’s start. Andrej Holm was appointed Berlin’s deputy construction minister last month after a left-wing coalition government took power in the German capital. The ministry is now run by the Left Party, which has roots in the East’s communist party.

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Holm said years ago that he trained with the Stasi in 1989 and 1990 as communist rule crumbled. But it emerged recently that he wrongly stated to an employer in 2005 that he had never been a full-time Stasi employee _ a statement Holm says he thought at the time was correct.

The Stasi used a network of agents and informers to collect details on East German citizens to quash dissent. Holm has faced increasing resistance from members of Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller’s Social Democrats and the Greens, the other two coalition partners, but the Left Party has stood by him.

Weeks of wrangling have reflected poorly on a coalition viewed by some as a blueprint for a possible left-wing alliance that could oust conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel in a national election expected in September. On Saturday, Mueller asked construction minister Katrin Lompscher to dismiss Holm, a 46-year-old sociologist. Mueller said officials in the capital, which was divided for 28 years by the Berlin Wall, could not afford to raise any “doubt about their honest handling of their own history _ in past years and today.”

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