Lightning-Rod W. German Cop Unmasked as Stasi Spy

Revelation likened to discovering Kent State shooters were KGB agents
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2009 8:17 AM CDT
The head of an office of Germany's Stasi Archives presents the file of one of the East German spy agency's informers.   (AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The West German cop whose shooting of an unarmed protester in 1967 changed the country forever has been unmasked as an East German spy by historians going through Stasi files, the New York Times reports. The shooting sparked a wide, sometimes violent left-wing protest movement many believe spawned Germany's current liberal disposition. The revelation that the "fascist cop" was a socialist spy has rocked the country.

Many now ask whether the policeman was ordered to shoot a protester by Stasi agents hoping to spark dissent. "The biggest milestone on the road toward violence was not what people thought it was,” said a former editor of Der Spiegel. "The pure fact that he was an agent from the East changes a lot, whether he acted on orders or not." The policeman, now 81, acknowledges belonging to the East German Communist Party but maintains the shooting was accidental.