Helmut Kohl, father of reunified Germany, dies at 87

Alvin Kelly
June 27, 2017

FILE - The April 5, 2013 file photo shows former German chancellor Helmut Kohl on the shore of Lake Tegernsee in Bad Wiessee, southern Germany. Guests from politics, church and society attended the event to honour Kohl on the 30th anniversary of Kohl becoming chancellor.

Helmut Kohl, the German chancellor credited with reuniting a nation divided by the Cold War and reestablishing Germany as leader of a united Europe, died on Friday at his home in Ludwigshafen.

Kohl, who presided as chancellor over both German reunification and the creation of the eurozone, died aged 87, The Guardian reported.

As head of the Christian Democratic Union between 1973 and 1998, he was initially chancellor of West Germany before later becoming the first leader of the unified state. But in 1999, when it emerged Kohl had been misusing funds to give his friends kickbacks, Merkel stunned Germany by denouncing him in a front page article for a top conservative newspaper.

"The 21st century in Europe really began on his watch", Mr Clinton said, describing Mr Kohl as "a man who was big in more than physical stature".

"I am personally very grateful that he was there", Merkel added, emphasizing the role he played helping her into front-line politics.

Kohl had always shown "a great and deep interest in Russia", he said in a statement on the website of his Gorbachev Foundation.

Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt also mourned the death of Kohl.

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The following year, Kohl plunged his party into crisis when he admitted accepting undeclared donations during his time as chancellor.

The plan to make Germany whole again, a prospect that alarmed British and French leaders with lingering memories of Nazi Germany, nevertheless eventually earned the support of the USA and the Soviet Union.

In July 2001, Hannelore killed herself at age 68 in despair over an incurable allergy to light.

Former Luxembourg's prime minister and European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker mourned the great leader of Germany on Twitter. Mr Kohl mentored Ms Merkel early in her career, appointing her to her first ministerial post. During his term in office, the Berlin Wall fell and the German reunification was completed peacefully after over four decades of division.

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush says he is mourning "the loss of a true friend of freedom" in former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, remembering how they worked together to help bring an end to the Cold War.

Kohl was survived by his wife Maike Richter and his two children Walter Kohl and Peter Kohl.

He was a proud European and was at the forefront of closer integration through what became the European Union.

Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR, said Kohl was an "outstanding person" whose impact on world history would stand the test of time.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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