‘Puzzle Women’: Piecing together the files destroyed by East Germany’s secret police

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a team of archivists has been tirelessly sorting, pasting and reassembling documents that were destroyed by the Stasi, the East German secret police. Nicknamed the “Puzzle Women”, these heroines of collective memory face the Herculean task of piecing together these files: the paper fragments are tiny, and the number of archivists is only a fraction of what would be required to complete the job without recourse to new technology. Meanwhile, the Stasi’s victims are getting older, and time is running out. Niagara Tonolli reports.

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