Germany Authority continues to mourn the nations longest serving post-war leader Helmut Kohl, the father of national reunification and an architect of European integration who died Friday at the age of 87.
Kohl helped a Germany that was split during the Cold War between a capitalist west and a communist east make the traumatic transition to a unified democracy.
The towering figure of European contemporary history also worked with France’s Francois Mitterrand to shape the European project and pushed Germans to part with their cherished Deutschmarks in favour of the single European currency, the euro.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a moving tribute to her mentor, declaring that “Kohl changed her life decisively”.
Born into a Catholic family on April 3, 1930 in the industrial city of Ludwigshafen, Kohl studied history and political science and rose quickly through the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, his ever-smiling first wife Hannelore, with whom he had two sons, by his side.