Tattoo for Merkel: Farewell with roses

Status: 02.12.2021 09:29 a.m.

The powerful, the crisis chancellor – but in future only a pensioner: On the way to retirement, the German Armed Forces are blowing Angela Merkel’s farewell march today. Merkel relies on musical accents.

By Anja Günther, ARD capital studio

Red roses for Angela Merkel – there are those today, at least musically. Traditionally, a departing Chancellor can ask for three music tracks for the Great Zapfenstreich. And for Merkel, the staff music corps of the Bundeswehr has also rehearsed a Hildegard Knef classic over the past nine days.

Merkel has achieved quite a lot in her political life: for 16 years she was the most powerful woman in Germany. The crisis chancellor, to the end: financial crisis, refugee crisis, corona crisis.

Merkel is not a woman of grand appearance and grand gestures, unlike her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder. The Basta Chancellor, who fought back tears 16 years ago in November 2005 during his great tattoo for Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”.

Private restraint

“I Did it My Way” (I did it my way) – so did Merkel. Unpretentious, down-to-earth, highly recognized abroad as a mediator, but domestically often rather hesitantly rather than quickly determined. Merkel, the thoroughbred politician, of whom there is no homestory and of whom hardly any private information is known, except that she enjoys hiking, reading and cooking. And: “When I’m at home, I really enjoy listening to the radio. Mostly classical music.”

Classical music for Merkel is above all Richard Wagner and the Bayreuth Festival, which she visits every year. And these are also hymns for the pastor’s daughter. They are part of the traditional repertoire of the Großer Zapfenstreich. “Great God, we praise you” Merkel chose.

The GDR past

Surprising for the staff music corps of the German Armed Forces, or so the conductor says, was Merkel’s wish to play an old GDR hit from 1974 – performed by Nina Hagen, who was described as a “cheeky pop brat”: “You have forget the color film “.

Merkel, who grew up in Templin in Brandenburg, could certainly sing along if she wanted to. She knows what the song alludes to: The shortage economy in the former GDR, black and white film instead of color vacation photos. Just recently, in her October 3rd speech, Merkel said: “For me personally, the end of division and democracy are still and time after time something special.”

Not a fan of large receptions

The color film, the roses, the church classics: In the Great Zapfenstreich, the selected pieces of music are the rather relaxed part of an otherwise strict military ceremony. With marches, torch-bearers and established commands on the premises of the Federal Ministry of Defense.

Because of the corona pandemic, there are only a few invited guests this time and, according to government spokesman Steffen Seibert, no subsequent evening reception: “The Chancellor will be leaving the Ministry of Defense immediately after the big tattoo.” Merkel should be more convenient. Because big receptions, at which she is the focus, were never one of her favorite events.

Merkel will be politically retired in a few days. What then follows? Let’s just say it with Hildegard Knef: “Don’t be alone, and yet be free.”

Big tattoo for Angela Merkel

Anja Günther, ARD Berlin, December 2nd, 2021 8:40 am

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