Chancellor Angela Merkel

These were the ones chosen from the congregation, the leaders of their ancestral tribes, the heads of the divisions of Israel. (Numbers 1:15)

Good leadership matters. Great leaders make life much better for people they’ll never meet. I consider Angela Merkel such a leader. I’m a little behind in my reading so I’ve just finished the December Time article about Angela Merkel: Chancellor of the Free World. Time selected her Person of the Year for 2015.

I’ve always been fascinated with all things German. My grandfather came to the United States from Germany, as a teenager, traveling with his three brothers in the late 1800’s. My grandmother came as a small child with her parents and siblings. I have no memories of Grandpa as he died when I was young. I spent a week or more with my grandmother each summer. I remember her speaking to my parents in German when they didn’t want the children to know what they were discussing.

I joined the Lutheran church when I married into a large German Lutheran  family in my early twenties. I’ve traveled to Germany a couple of times and hope to do so again.

So I found Merkel’s write-up fascinating. Among other facts I’d never bothered to learn:

  • She was raised in East Germany behind the Berlin wall which came down when she was thirty-six.
  • She was raised at a Lutheran seminary, because her father managed the seminary.
  • The place also served as a home and workshop for mentally disabled adults.
  • According to the Time article interview with one of Merkel’s childhood teachers, Merkel preferred to be in the back of the class-where she could observe what was happening all around her.
  • She was a research scientists before she got into politics.

It appears the combination of Germany’s history with the Holocaust and her own childhood growing in sealed-off Eastern Germany has shaped her determination to have Germany host as many desperate refugees as possible. Not surprisingly, she has been strongly criticized for her open-border policies. It remains to be seen if the critics prove right in predicting an unhappy ending to her decisions.

Perhaps her humanitarian philosophy and policies will encourage other neighbors to help her help resettle immigrants.

Who knows? I certainly don’t. But regardless, I admire her spunk, attitude, and willingness to try to make life better for people who have suffered tremendously.

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