Berliner Zeitung Staffers Admit Secret Past: Top Berlin Journalists Outed as Stasi Spies
The dark past of two senior journalists at one of Berlin's biggest newspapers has come to light after one of them was outed as a former Stasi collaborator and his colleague chose to come forward and talk about his past voluntarily.
Berliner Zeitung newspaper wants to know more about its employees.
He decided to reveal he cooperated with the Stasi after a colleague of his, Thomas Leinkauf, who is responsible for the paper's magazine and third-page feature, had admitted his involvement with the former East German secret police.
Depenbrock announced Monday that all of the paper's approximately 120 editorial staff members would have their backgrounds checked by an independent, external body. "We want to make sure that we don't lose our journalistic integrity," he told German news agency DPA.
Leinkauf was outed as a civilian Stasi spy on Saturday after a file detailing his involvement surfaced. As a philosopy student, Leinkauf worked for the Stasi for two years in the 1970s, snitching on fellow students and teaching staff. He was dropped by the Stasi in the summer of 1977 because it deemed him politically unreliable, as he had allegedly shown too much sympathy for Trotskyist ideas.
The paper is now checking the legal requirements for looking into the history of its staff. The two outed former Stasi informants have been relieved of their duties.
Founded in 1945, the Berliner Zeitung was the daily paper of Communist East Berlin. Today, it sells around 185,000 copies a day in Berlin and the state of Brandenburg.
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