The Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office


View of the stacks

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© dwd.de

The Political Archive is the “memory” of the German foreign service. The archive contains 26 linear kilometres of material, which can be consulted for research purposes in line with the legal regulations. This website will tell you more about the services provided by the Political Archive.

Important information

Use of the Reading Room of the Political Archive under COVID-19 health and safety regulations as of 19 October 2020

Dear user of the Political Archive,

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we, like many archives in Germany and abroad, had to close the Reading Room back in spring. We switched to answering your queries in writing and, where possible, by sending out copies of texts. We realise that this service does not really meet your expectations.

We are pleased to offer you a new service: when working from home or when out and about, you now have the option of searching electronically in our finding aids and accessing scanned files (where available) using invenio, a Federal Archives application.

We thank the Federal Archives for allowing us to use the invenio search engine and ordering application. Please note that it is not possible to search in the holdings of more than one archive at a time; if you wish to search in various archives, you will have to register more than once. In some cases it was necessary, for technical or organisational reasons, to allocate new record group designations.

Under the Federal Foreign Office’s current protective measures, visits to the Reading Room of the Political Archive are only possible in exceptional cases by prior agreement.

An exceptional case might be one where a research query cannot be answered with the aid of digitised documents (the priority method) but requires you to consult paper files.

The procedure:

  1. The archivist will decide, on the basis of his or her knowledge of the holdings, whether exceptional approval for a visit can be granted or whether digital copies can be provided in response to your query.
  2. The archivist will inform both you and the Reading Room if exceptional permission for a personal visit has been granted. In keeping with the existing procedure, the Reading Room staff will arrange your appointment and allocate your work station. Reservations for mornings (9.00 am – noon) and afternoons (1.00 – 4.00 pm) need to be made separately.
  3. Visitors are required to wear a face mask covering their mouth and nose at all times throughout the Federal Foreign Office building, including the Reading Room.
  4. Disinfectant is available for your use just outside the Reading Room.
  5. Disposable gloves are provided in the Reading Room.
  6. Visitors have no access to the Archive’s reference library or computer terminals.
  7. You will therefore need your own laptop/tablet/smartphone to order items.
  8. Files (max. 20) must as a rule be ordered three days in advance using the invenio search engine.
  9. When you have finished consulting the files, please place them on a trolley.
  10. We cannot offer any personal consultations. A list of the archivists’ phone numbers is available in the consulting room, should you have any questions. Inquiries can also be made by email.


Please note that the regulations may change at short notice in response to the current COVID‑19 Situation.

Contact and opening hours


Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office



Postal code



+49 (30) 1817-2179


+49 (30) 1817-5-2179


Kurstraße 36

Opening hours

Mon.-Thu.         8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday                8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


Pull times for records

Mon.-Thu.         10:00 a.m. and  2:00 p.m.
Friday                10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

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