EAST BERLIN — East Germany's Parliament decided today to go out of business in a blaze of candor by revealing the names of lawmakers who worked for the Communist secret police.
Soon afterward, Construction Minister Axel Viehweger resigned from the Cabinet of Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere and admitted he had contacts to the former secret police under the old regime.
Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to instruct a commission investigating the former security apparatus to disclose the names of former agents it has compiled.
Before releasing the names, the lawmakers gave officials on the list a chance to address the allegations before Parliament.
Viehweger did and promptly resigned. He said he had contacts with the secret police while he was on the energy council in the city of Dresden during the former regime.
Other lawmakers trooped to the microphone to describe what they said were contacts with the secret police that they said were required under the old regime.
Eberhard Schiffner, a Christian Democrat, said he was the head of a state veterinarian practice in 1963 and had to give information about his practice to the secret police.
A member of the secret police committee, lawmaker Peter Hildebrand, said 56 lawmakers or ministers in the current government were informally employed by the secret police unit, known as the Stasi.
The meeting of the 400-member Parliament was the second-to-last before the nation unites with West Germany on Tuesday and East Germany's government ceases to exist.
"This Parliament must not go down in history as the Stasi Parliament," said lawmaker Marianne Birthler, calling for full disclosure of information gathered by the committee.