Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Cold War help Did the Swiss help communist East Germany?

The Berlin Wall fell 26 years ago, paving the way for German reunification. A recently released book based on secret documents looks at Switzerland’s relationship with East Germany. (SRF/

The fall of the wall in 1989 was the end of the repressive East German communist regime, an authority that Switzerland helped prop up, according to Swiss historian Ricardo Tarli.

In his book, “Operationsgebiet Schweiz” (Operational area Switzerland), Tarli claims that the rogue regime would have collapsed earlier were it not for Swiss assistance. He says the German Democratic Republic (GDR) received financial help and technical know-how from Switzerland that enabled it to develop surveillance devices and export weapons.

The Swiss government was allegedly made aware of these deals, but did not intervene. During the Cold War, Switzerland was officially anti-communist, and socialist sympathisers were tracked by the Swiss authorities.

Tarli’s claims are based on "top secret" documents from the archives of the Stasi, East Germany’s secret police.

Neuer Inhalt

Horizontal Line

WEF 2018

WEF Teaser 2018

Why Switzerland struggles with dirty gold

subscription form

Form for signing up for free newsletter.

Sign up for our free newsletters and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.

Click here to see more newsletters