Marianne Birthler is a well-known German politician and former GDR civil rights activist who played a committed role in shaping the German reunification in autumn 1989. As the Federal Commissioner for Stasi Records, she played a decisive role in shaping the agency for coming to terms with the MfS past from 2000 to 2011.
Marianne Birthler (*1948) studied foreign trade economics before training as a catechist and parish worker and switching to children's and youth work in the Protestant church in the 1980s. She joined the Peace and Human Rights Initiative, became involved as a civil rights activist in the peaceful revolution in autumn 1989 and became a member of the first freely elected GDR People's Chamber. After German reunification, Marianne Birthler was Minister of Education and Youth in Brandenburg, spokeswoman for the federal executive committee of the newly founded Bündnis90/Die Grünen party and later on head of the Berlin office of the party’s Bundestag parliamentary group. In September 2000, the Bundestag elected Marianne Birthler as Federal Commissioner for Stasi Records. "Remembrance for the sake of the future" is her guiding principle while in the office until 2011.
In October 1995, Marianne Birthler was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class, and in March 2011 she received the Grand Cross of Merit with Star.
Marianne Birthler is a member of the Green Academy of the Heinrich Böll Foundation and holds several honorary offices and functions: she is a member of the Foundation Council of the Körber Foundation, on the Advisory Board of the Berlin Wall Memorial, on the Board of Trustees of the Freiherr-vom-Stein Prize for Social Innovation and on the Board of Trustees of Aktion Courage - to name but a few.