The Headquarters of the Office for National Security (formerly of the Ministry for State Security) in the East Berlin Neighborhood of Lichtenberg (December 15, 1989)
The Office for National Security [Amt für Nationale Sicherheit, AfNS] was created by a decision of the East German Volkskammer on November 17, 1989. It was the successor organization to the Ministry for State Security [Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS] and was headed by Wolfgang Schwanitz, who had been Deputy Minister for State Security up to that point. The virtual continuation of the Stasi under the guise of the new organization – in addition to indications that evidence was being destroyed – elicited strong public protest, which finally culminated in the occupation of the AfNS district administrations in Erfurt, Leipzig, and Rostock, among other cities, on December 4, 1989. On December 14, the Council of Ministers, yielding to pressure from the “Round Table,” decided to disband the AfNS and replace it with an office for the defense of the constitution and an intelligence service. This never came to pass, however. The central office of the AfNS (formerly of the Ministry for State Security) in the East Berlin neighborhood of Lichtenberg (below) was finally occupied by citizens on January 15, 1990. Photo: Wolfgang Kumm.