The Rosenholz files are a collection of 381 CD-ROMs containing 280,000 files with information on employees of the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA), one of the intelligence agencies of the former GDR/DDR. They mostly contain the real names of agents who worked for the HVA in former West Germany.
The files somehow ended up in the hands of the CIA during the German reunification process under unclear circumstances. They were initially analyzed exclusively by agencies of the USA, but were finally returned to the German government in 2003, after long negotiations. The exact reason for the duration of the negotiations is still debated among scholars.
After being returned to Germany, the files were checked for mistranslation and other errors by the BStU (Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik) - Office of the Federal Commissioner Preserving the Records of the Ministry for State Security of the GDR/DDR.
Since March 2004, the files have been open to the general public and can be viewed following an appropriate request (Antrag auf persönliche Akteneinsicht).
According to the annals of the former Moscow CIA station chief Milton Bearden, the Rosenholz files were not seized on January 15, 1990, when demonstrators stormed the Ministry of State Security (GDR/DDR) in Berlin, but instead only when former US president George H. W. Bush personally contacted the chief of the Berlin CIA station and inquired about them.
Years later, while serving as CIA station chief in Bonn, Bearden successfully lobbied for the return of the Rosenholz files to Germany, and received the Bundesverdienstkreuz for his efforts on Germany's behalf.
In Finland, the files have caused quite a scandal, having been unexpectedly classified by the Finnish security police (Suojelupoliisi) and described by the press as including the names of some of today's top politicians in Finland.
Related Pages on this Wiki:
- Free University of Berlin’s “Research Association on the SED State” (Forschungsverbund SED-Staat der FU Berlin)
- Federal Commissioner for Stasi Files - (BStU) - Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik