rome - Angela Merkel commemorated her old CDU mentor Helmut Kohl in a speech in Rome, where the German Chancellor has an interview with Pope Franciscus on Saturday. 'The Germans were very lucky with Kohl,' said Merkel. She also praises him as a big European.
'The message of the death of Helmut Kohl makes us quiet and fulfills us with deep mourning. My sympathy goes first and foremost to his wife Maike, who I have condoned by telephone, and to his family. I wish for their consolation and strength. '
'But at the moment, I am also thinking with great respect and gratitude to the life and work of Chancellor Kohl. The image of a big man in every respect, his performance, is his role as a statesman in German historical hour: All of this is immediately apparent to us. It will take some time before we really realize what we have lost with him. '
Merkel eerde Kohl expanded for his commitment to the CDU and Europe, but especially for the German reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall. 'Helmut Kohl has also changed my path of life decisively. With millions of others, I could transition from a life of dictatorship in the GDR to a life of freedom without fear. '
Read the necrology of our correspondent Rob Savelberg here.