Germany bids farewell to Helmut Kohl


Many mourned in the last few days of Helmut Kohl, not only in Germany but in the whole of Europe. His final resting place, the former Chancellor in the Palatinate homeland. Nina Niebergall from Speyer.

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Requiem for Helmut Kohl in Speyer







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Requiem for Helmut Kohl in Speyer

In front of the Imperial Cathedral of Speyer, the European, the German and the Rhineland-Palatinate flag – one of the many symbols that remind you of this evening to the legacy of Helmut Kohl in labor. Here, in the idyllic city on the Rhine, to commemorate family members, friends and political allies for the last Time of the deceased’s former Chancellor. You say goodbye with a funeral mass in the Cathedral, a place with the cabbage much Association.

In the Interior of the medieval Church, in which eight German kings and emperors are buried, to fill the benches. Incense is in the air. In front of the Altar, the coffin is laid out, covered with a German flag. Before the funeral mass begins, it is silent for a Moment. Altar boys walk through the arcades of the medieval Church, followed by Speyer, Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann, opened the worship service.

During the mourning fair in the vaults of the Cathedral were illuminated in the colours of the EU

The Palatinate, German and Europeans

“We bid farewell to a statesman who loved his Palatinate home, and his German Fatherland,” says Wiesemann. Like so many in the past few days, he, too, was that Helmut Kohl was German only, and the Palatinate. He was always also Europeans and citizens of the world.

And so German politicians such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, but also the President of the Commission of the European Union, Jean-Claude Junker, and the former US President Bill Clinton are among the roughly 1500 guests in the Speyer Cathedral. That so many “high-ranking guests from all over the world” have come to show how outstanding the merits of Helmut Kohl, stressed, Bishop Wiesemann.

Bill Clinton with Kohl’s widow, Maike

Between Juncker and Clinton, the widow of the late former Chancellor, Maike Kohl-Richter is sitting. Whether intention or not – the choice of location symbolises the wrangling of the past few days. Because Kohl-Richter had rejected a German state funeral for her deceased husband, and instead for a European Trauerakt argues that the German Chancellor should not talk. This had left many German politicians for a lack of understanding.

Family strife in times of grief

Also, the family strife of the cabbage seems these hours do not forget. So the sons of Helmut Kohl, Walter and Peter were seen at the mass for the dead. The dispute was overshadowed in the past few days, the commemorative events for the Chancellor, sometimes tragic trains. Walter Kohl had been in front of the cameras access to his father’s house in Ludwigshafen-Oggersheim denied. That this is buried in Speyer and not him in the family tomb with his first wife, Hannelore, had Walter Kohl refused – in vain. With the decision of the political life’s work of his father separated from his mother, he said at last.

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Bishop Wiesemann speaks to this scramble directly. Only a hint of criticism in his sermon. Because of the spiritual over Helmut Kohl says: “He knew by its corners and edges. The fact that he has achieved a lot, but some things came up short.” Whether he meant the family, which seemed to have for the cabbage never quite the priority that had to be a political Act?

But it is the symbolism of the place, the Imperial Cathedral, the man pointed to remind. Because here Helmut Kohl in 1943 fled from the bombs of the allies. Here he was adopted in 1998 as Chancellor. Three years later, he bid farewell to his first wife Hannelore, who had taken after a long illness the life. And here, after Speyer, he brought numerous international guests of state, led the French President Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and also the last President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, through the porticos of the Cathedral.

A military Honor guard for Helmut Kohl in front of the Speyer Cathedral

Farewell in blue and yellow

Cabbage’ve made Speyer the “world stage,” says Bishop Wiesemann, “a Symbol and a real, tangible place for what was important in life”. This was especially the spiritual and cultural unity of Europe. As for Kohl, the Chancellor of German unity, be Patriotic and Europeans have been “two sides of the same coin”.

At the end of the mass for the dead, it is still in the Church, the guests for a few minutes. Outside, a crowd of people waiting with umbrellas under the black rain. Soldiers of the Bundeswehr walk in the Church, a wreath of red roses in front of hertragend. While you escort the coffin to the outside, Shine the vaults of the Cathedral of Speyer in blue and yellow – the colors of the European Union.

On Saturday evening, finally, cabbage has been added, after a military Honor guard in the Cathedral square – in the closest circle to the cemetery of the Cathedral Chapter.