Berlin / Ludwigshafen – CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has honored the former chancellor and party chairman Helmut Kohl on his 90th birthday as a pioneer for European values. «He has always fought for a European Union that is linked by common values. We should be guided by this compass today, »she said to the German Press Agency in Berlin. Kohl would have turned 90 on April 3. He was born on April 3, 1930, in Ludwigshafen and died on June 16, 2017, after a long illness in his house in the Oggersheim district in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Against the background of the corona pandemic, Kramp-Karrenbauer emphasized: «Today our continent is facing a historical challenge. We should also think of what Helmut Kohl directed. Europe was the guarantee of peace, freedom, and prosperity for the Christian Democrat Kohl. » The CDU leader said: “The great European Kohl would have been absolutely convinced today that we should face the challenges of the future together, help each other and not be separated.”
In a letter to the party members, Kramp-Karrenbauer wrote that the CDU leadership had decided to name the large Federal Executive Hall at the party headquarters in Berlin, the Konrad-Adenauer-Haus, after Kohl. When the hall will be renamed depends on when the measures against the coronavirus are changed – in other words, meetings in a larger group are possible again there. The CDU has also commissioned a bust of Kohl, which is to find a permanent place there. The work of art is designed by French sculptor Serge Mangin. Mangin has been working on the cabbage bust since September 2019.
In the membership letter, Kramp-Karrenbauer wrote: “Today, let us thank Helmut Kohl gratefully and honor him and his life’s work as a role model for us.” The CDU put a digital birthday book on the Internet in which citizens can write memories and thoughts. This should be a gesture of gratitude to the chancellor of the unit, the CDU said.
In a foreword for the memorial book signed jointly by Kramp-Karrenbauer, Secretary-General Paul Ziemiak and Kohl’s widow Maike Kohl-Richter, it says: “”Kohl’s life was life for Germany, for Europe and for the CDU, a life for peace and freedom.”
Ziemiak emphasized Kohl’s European policy as exemplary. “We should all remember Helmut Kohl’s words:” Europe is our future. Europe is our fate »,» said Ziemiak of the TEH in Berlin. The CDU is working to continue this work. “We owe it not only to Helmut Kohl but above all to our children and grandchildren, who should grow up in a Europe that continues to stand for peace, freedom, security, and prosperity.” The fight against the coronavirus “shows more than ever that Europe has to stick together,” emphasized Ziemiak.
The chairman of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, which is close to the CDU, and former Bundestag president Norbert Lammert told the TEH: “Helmut Kohl was a stroke of luck for Germany and for Europe.” Especially this year, in which Germany celebrates the 30th anniversary of the unit and commemorates Kohl’s 90th birthday, Kohl’s historical size as chancellor of the unit becomes clear. “Especially in these weeks, his outstanding role in the European unification process, which urgently needs common orientations beyond the respective national interests, is becoming even clearer.”
In Rhineland-Palatinate, the home state of Kohl, a large commemoration in honor of Kohl in the heart of Ludwigshafen, where he was born, fell victim to the coronavirus. The CDU head of state and Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klockner and CDU parliamentary group leader Christian Baldauf wanted to honor Kohl in videos.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, Kohl, a doctor of political science, became prime minister in 1969 before moving to federal politics in 1976. He was in office as a “record chancellor” for 16 years until 1998, and he led the CDU for 25 years. At the end of 1999, Kohl admitted that donations to the CDU in a total volume of more than two million Deutschmarks were not included in the report. He refused to give the names of the donors because he had given them his word of honor. This ultimately cost him the CDU honorary chair.