„[…] sind im Zusammenhang mit der Verwertung der Schließfachinhalte keine Beschwerden aus der Bevölkerung gekommen.“

Die Tresorverwaltung im Ministerium der Finanzen der DDR als Wegbereiter und „Verwertungsstelle“ der Aktion „Licht“

  • Janine Kersten (Autor/in)

Identifier (Artikel)


During the ‘Aktion Licht’ operation in January 1962, the Ministry for State Security of the German Democratic Republic (1949-1990) searched safes of banks and former financial institutions throughout the republic. The action took place in all districts of the GDR simultaneously and under utmost secrecy. Thousands of safe deposit boxes, which had remained untouched since the Second World War, were opened and the contents were confiscated. Valuables including antiques, jewelry, artworks, porcelain, cutlery, precious metals and coins, as well as documents and savings books, documents of private individuals, of companies and authorities were taken for the purpose of political evaluation and for generating foreign currency. After the end of ‘Aktion Licht’, the Ministry for State Security handed over the confiscated objects to the Tresorverwaltung (treasury) at the Ministry of Finance of the GDR for sale. This top-secret action is one of various unlawful accessions in the Soviet occupation zone and the GDR. Research has not yet been able to clarify the details of the sale and the whereabouts of the confiscated objects, nor has the question why the choice fell on the Tresorverwaltung for selling the objects been pursued so far. Through her research on the Tresorverwaltung, the author of this article was able to clarify the circumstances of the sale, to identify the buyers of the objects, and to reconstruct the years of preparations for this secret action.

Keywords: Aktion ‘Licht’; GDR; Tresorverwaltung; bank safes; Ministry for State Security


Aktion ‘Licht’, GDR, Tresorverwaltung, bank safes, Ministry for State Security