Feeds

Shredded Stasi documents could be pieced together in five years

Jigsaw puzzle

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

The last secrets of the East German State Security Service (Stasi), torn into shreds and stored in 16,000 brown sacks, may soon be pieced together by a software program developed by the Fraunhofer Institute.

On Monday, the Institute said it would take five years to solve the world's biggest jigsaw puzzle electronically. If done by hand, the operation would take several hundred years.

After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Stasi agents at the Magdeburg archives were ordered by their chief Erich Mielke to destroy tens of thousands of files about (former) Stasi informants and their victims. But the agents were unable to find the transport needed to take away the shredded documents and create a huge bonfire.

When East Germans stormed the Stasi buildings, they managed to rescue 16,000 brown paper sacks with shredded documents. Then civil servants, armed with adhesive tape and endless patience, began to reassemble thousands of files.

The program developed by the Berlin Frauhofer Institute, along with Design Technology (IPK) and Lufthansa Systems, will speed up this procedure significantly, by matching the paper fragments and order them correctly.

To do so, all shreds need to be scanned in full colour first. Fortunately, that’s a no-brainer for Lufthansa Systems.
One of the biggest providers of outsourcing solutions for electronic document processing and archiving in Europe, Lufhthans processes up to 100 million documents each year.

The major problem with the Stasi fragments, however, is that they are very small and have no square corners, Gunter Küchler, managing director of Lufthansa Systems Group GmbH, explained. This means that each shred needs to be inserted into plastic pockets so that the automatic scanning equipment can accept them.

It is not clear when the operation will actually begin. On Monday the Fraunhofer Institute and Lufthansa merely presented a feasibility study. ®

Best practices for enterprise data

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations
Fix coming for bug that makes Kerberos croak when you run two domain controllers
Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere
Another sign of strain in the Borg/VMware relationship?
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?