Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl dies aged 87

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Kohl in 1989
Image: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Helmut Kohl, who served as German chancellor from 1982 to 1988, died on Friday in his home town of Oggersheim, near Ludwigshafen at the age of 87. He is well known for his role in reunifying Germany after 45 years of Cold War.

Kohl was born on April 3, 1930 in Ludwigshafen, Germany. He was the youngest of three children of Cäcilie E. and Hans Kohl. His father, Hans Kohl was a civil servant, tax expert and served as a soldier in the World War I.

Kohl served as the Chancellor of West Germany from 1982 to 1990 and of the reunified Germany from 1990 to 1998. He was also the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1973 to 1988 and was Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Helmut Kohl were conservartive politicians opposed to the Soviet Union. They participated, practically and ideologically, in the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989, and consequently in the end of the Cold War in Europe which started in 1945. Kohl wrote a ten-point plan for "Overcoming the Division of Germany and Europe", ignoring the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, the main western wartime powers.

Kohl was married twice. His first wife Hannelore Khole suffered from a rare allergy to light who had only night social activities. She commited suicide in 2001 due to a scandal involving Kohl. In 2008, he married Maike Richter, his former economic adviser in the chancellery, whom was 35 years younger than Kohl.

Kohl was involved in a scandal over CDU party financing using secret bank accounts. He hid illegal money donations to his party. Mr Kohl never revealed the names of the donors, even after a parlament inquiry in progress. He paid a fine of US$100,000 for the criminal case against him. In 2002, he retired from public life .

Several politicians gave their condolences, including current German chancellor Angela Merkel: "It will take some time before we realize what we have truly lost."

Despite Kohl doesn't want a state funeral the European Union is preparing a special state funeral, Jean-Claude Juncker push for a "European act of state" for Kohl but he didn't give more details. In an interview given to Sunday's Bild am Sonntag newspaper said that the existence of euro is thanks to Kohl, and also said "us Europeans to get to know each other better and work more closely together.". The funeral will be two weaks ago on European Parliament on Strasbourg, France, next the funeral mass will be in Speyer cathedral, Germany. The travel of the Kohl's coffin between two places will be along Rhine river. Finally, using the Rhine river, the cofin will travel since Cologne catherdral to a cemetery in Rhöndorf.