By B. John Zavrel
This historical photo of the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on his 80th birthday on April 3, 2010. It was taken by a master-photographer of dpa. The photo shows the 'Old Chancellor' with his wife Maike Kohl-Richter, whom he married seven years afther the death of his first wife Hannelore.
Berlin/Ludwigshafen(bpb) The 80. birthday of Helmut Kohl on April 3, 2010 became in Germany the "Celebration of the Year". As they say in Germany, "God and the whole world" congratulated the great statesman. Beside politicians and the public, the people of Germany have shown that Helmut Kohl is the "Chancellor of the Hearts". In addition to the mountains of mail, the number of well-wishers over the Internet surpassed 10,000 already several days before the birthday.
To try to explain who is Helmut Kohl and what are his achievements, would be superfluous. But we can point out this: the personality whom we celebrate today has known both high and low points in his political career. But he always acted as a supporter and defender of the democratic order. He has always been a loyal ally of the United States, a tireless fighter for freedom, peace and justice. In this way, he became a guarantor of the continuity of the politics of Konrad Adenauer, with his reconcilliation with France and the Jewish people.
Because of health reasons, Kohl wanted to spend his 80th birthday with a small circle of friends at his house in Rheinland-Pfalz. But in the end he was forced to invite a line of 'official personalities'. The lady who is now the head of the German government and one of the successors of Kohl in his high office was not present. A celebration with some 1,000 invited guests is to take place in Ludwigshafen at the beginning of May.
Already on his birthday, some 1,000 admirers and curious people have surrounded Kohl's house in Oggersheim. Hunting trumpets and some 600 members of the Junge Union from all over Germany have come to greet him, under the baton of the popular conductor Gotthilf Fischer. The old Chancellor was brought to the door in his wheelchair by his wife, in order to thank the visitors with smiles and sparks in his eyes. All these people, and especially the young people, appeared unexpectedly, but were "sincerely welcome".
EKS: Still many, many more good years
The European Art Foundation Berlin (EKS) belonged to the politically independent well-wishers. "Our private foundation is based on the Europe-wide political ideas of Konrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl. "We are proud that we can continue to work on this foundation to support your ideas, Dr. Kohl, even if without governmental support. Also this is a proof that your political seeds have took root, and will bear good fruits in the people, for an Europe in peace and freedom", according to the message made public in Berlin.
And further: "Though all the times of your political life, Mr. CHancellor, you had the great fortune to have in your wife Hannelore Kohl an intelligent and socially involved lady. She had always stood by your side, and in this way completed the public image of you as a statesman as well as a family man.
Today you have the great fortune to have the economist Mrs. Maike Richter, by your side as your wife, as chosen by fate. Our best wishes to you both for the coming years! The EKS honored Kohl for being "a mighty rock in Europe. The silent majority of Germans were, are and always will stand on your side". The President of the EKS, John G. Bodenstein, wished the CHancellor and his wife Maike "still many, many more good years".
A photo document from the time of the joint German-American fight against communism. The US President Ronald Reagan in front of the Brandenburger Gate in Berlin with the challenge: Mr. Gorbatchev, bring down this wall!" Next to him (on the right) is the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Both political visionaries were right. The communist wall was finally torn down by the people, and the 'Cold War' with the Soviet Union ended.
© PROMETHEUS 154/2010
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin - News, Politics, Art and Science. Nr. 154, April 2010