Mission of the Citizens Committee of Leipzig, custodian of the “Runde Ecke“ Memorial Museum and the Stasi Bunker Museum
The Citizens Committee originated during the Peaceful Revolution in 1989 and is still committed to its central call for freedom and democracy. It formed spontaneously on 4th Dec. 1989 after a loose group of citizens occupied the Leipzig district headquarters of the Stasi, the secret service of former GDR. The Committee kept watch over the remaining Stasi records to prevent their destruction, and it organised the dissolution of the Stasi. After the German reunification the Citizens Committee finally handed over the responsibility for the Stasi files to the newly appointed Federal Commissioner for the Records of State Security Service of the former GDR.
In August 1990 the Committee opened the exhibition “Stasi – Power and Banality” in the authentic premises of the former district headquarters of the Stasi. During the subsequent years it has become a significant and continuing contributor to the process of reappraisal of the past in Germany.
Today the association seeks especially to inform about the history, structure and methods of the Stasi and is actively involved in the social debate about dictatorships and their consequences as well as on civil and human rights. It also advises victims of the socialist dictatorship. In this way it wants to sharpen awareness of the dangers of dictatorship, to further democratic thinking and action, and to promote an anti-totalitarian consensus within society. Moreover, the authentic preservation of places where the communist state exercised its power is a vital concern, especially in Leipzig, the city of peaceful revolution. It thus contributes to the reappraisal of the GDR past, but to continue to do so requires the engagement of citizens.
The Citizens Committee is custodian of the “Runde Ecke” Memorial Museum and the Stasi Bunker Museum. The museums are located in the original premises of the former Stasi district headquarters of Leipzig and in the associated emergency command centre at Machern. Such a combination exists only in the Leipzig area and accurately represents the nationwide system of surveillance. The memorial collects, preserves and presents testimonies of the activity of the Stasi supporting the communist dictatorship. It also documents the dissolution of this secret service, as well as the reappraisal of its activities.
Political education is conducted through guided tours, events and publications. The specialized museum draws upon results of historical research and works closely with other related institutions and initiatives. It models itself on the directives of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The memorial is directed at citizens of Leipzig, as well as visitors from all parts of Germany – especially the younger generation that has no personal experience of life in the GDR – and abroad. The museums in Leipzig and Machern are places of remembrance and commemoration as well as learning and discussion; places of mourning over the victims of despotism and tyranny, as well as of joy about the peaceful self-liberation of the people from dictatorship.