Ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel (68) was granted a unique dignity on April 17th. She was the first woman in the history of the Federal Republic to be awarded the “Grand Cross in a Special Design”. Only two people received this honor before her: Germany’s first Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) and the Chancellor of German Unity, Helmut Kohl (1930-2017).

At the beginning of the ceremony, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (67) gave a speech in honor of Merkel. He recalled December 2, 2021, when the chancellor was farewelled with a tattoo after 16 years in office. As the first female chancellor, she helped ensure that this “will be a matter of course in our country” in the future. However, she never put herself in the center and recently showed the strength “for self-correction” during the corona pandemic. With her sentence “We can do it,” she took away worries from people in the refugee crisis and gave them hope at the same time.

After this speech, which lasted almost half an hour, Merkel finally entered the stage and was presented with a certificate and a medal. In her acceptance speech, she addressed warm words to the companions present. She also thanked her successor on site, Olaf Scholz (64), because: “I vaguely remember that time is a rare commodity” as chancellor.

An unusual name was also mentioned: Chancellor A.D. thanked ex-soccer player Jürgen Klinsmann (58), who was one of the few people outside of politics to be present at the ceremony. She has had a close friendship with the former coach of the German national team for years, said Merkel. Finally, she thanked her husband Joachim Sauer (73), who “had to endure a lot, to endure a lot”.

In contrast to Steinmeier, Merkel was much shorter in her thanks: After almost five minutes, she stepped off the stage to applause, and did not say a word about the Russia conflict.