Eppelmann: For me those are unacceptable statements, unacceptable because I’ve heard them only in recent weeks, only since the Minister President of Brandenburg, Manfred Stolpe, whom I otherwise highly esteem, came into the crosshairs, under observation. For those who spoke out within the SPD, it was apparently not a problem when the issue was Lothar de Maizière or Wolfgang Schnur, or the many – down to the kitchen helpers – who today can no longer work in the public sector in the state of Brandenburg because they cooperated with the Stasi. I mean there’s a law – the Stasi Files Law – which all Bundestag members more or less knew was also going to be a risk, because we were moving into new territory. We have never done anything like it. But it was a law that was passed with the overwhelming majority of the entire chamber. We said: It’s clear to us that we are venturing into new territory, that there will be amendments to this law. But we’re all of the political intent – even the PDS voted, I think, only by abstaining – that this part of GDR history must also be worked through. To suddenly arrive at a completely different opinion because a symbolic SPD figure and integration advocate has come under suspicion. [ . . . ] Not because of the Gauck files, but rather because of his own conduct. It’s my sense that if one wants to criticize something, one should criticize Manfred Stolpe and not the files. Of course, the files must also be seen for what they are. That’s something Mr. Gauck repeatedly points out. They’re not the Bible; they’re not the eternal truth. Instead, they’re reports from a very specific perspective about incidents, events, conversations, meetings that took place. From everything we’ve seen so far, one must be extremely careful when it comes to assessing these files or to the assessment that is in the files, because it was of course always biased. But I know my file. There’s not a single example where it was claimed that such and such happened, when nothing actually happened in reality; instead, it’s always accurate. There would be a matter, an event, that I felt was very good, very successful, and very helpful for many people, and the file would say something like: attack against the state, counterrevolutionary affair. But it would never say that on this or that day an event took place that did not in fact take place.
[ . . . ]
Source: “Interview mit Rainer Eppelmann (MdB/CDU), Vorsitzender der Enquete Kommission des deutschen Bundestages ‘Aufarbeitung der Geschichte und Folgen der SED-Diktatur in Deutschland’” [“Interview with Rainer Eppelmann (MdB/CDU), Chairman of the Enquete Commission for the ‘Reappraisal of the History and Consequenes oft he SED Dictatorship’”], Deutschland Archiv 25, no. 8 (1992), pp. 668-671.
Translation: Thomas Dunlap