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Remembering Helmut Kohl (1930-2017)

The American Academy in Berlin mourns the passing of Helmut Kohl, a longstanding friend and transatlanticist of the highest order. Chancellor Kohl received the 2011 Henry A. Kissinger Prize.

The following statements have been given to the American Academy on this sad occasion:

Henry A. Kissinger

Helmut Kohl was a historic figure who contributed decisively to German unification, European unity and the Atlantic partnership.  I have lost a close and trusted personal friend.

President George H.W. Bush

Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true friend of freedom, and the man I consider one of the greatest leaders in post-War Europe. Helmut Kohl came of age as an uncertain Germany rose from the ashes of war. Like so many who bore witness to the unspeakable depravity and hardships of that time, Helmut hated war — but he detested totalitarianism even more. And so he would devote his public life to strengthening the institutions of democracy in his homeland, and beyond. Working closely with my very good friend to help achieve a peaceful end to the Cold War and the unification of Germany within NATO will remain one of the great joys of my life. Throughout our endeavors, Helmut was a rock — both steady and strong. We mourn his loss today, even as we know his remarkable life will inspire future generations of leaders to dare and achieve greatly. May Almighty God bless Helmut Kohl and the freedom he helped to secure.

President Bill Clinton

I am deeply saddened by the passing of my dear friend, Helmut Kohl, whose visionary leadership prepared Germany and all of Europe for the 21st century.

He was called upon to answer some of the most monumental questions of his time, and in answering them correctly he made possible the reunification of a strong, prosperous Germany and the creation of the European Union. I will never forget walking with him through the Brandenburg Gate in 1994 for a large rally on the eastern side, and seeing genuine hope in the eyes of tens of thousands of young people. I knew at that moment that Helmut Kohl was the man who could help them realize their dreams. History continues to prove that he delivered.

As the world remembers a leader who was strong in more than stature, Hillary and I send our thoughts and prayers to Maike, Helmut’s sons, Walter and Peter, and the people of Germany.

Secretary James A. Baker, III

Germany has lost one of its greatest leaders, the United States has lost one of its best friends, and the world has lost a ringing voice for freedom. More than anyone at the end of the Cold War, Chancellor Helmut Kohl was the architect of the reunification of Germany, a historic event that brought freedom to millions and has helped make Europe safer and more prosperous. Together with his close personal friend, president George H.W. Bush, they convinced the world to put East and West Germany back together as a member of NATO almost a half century after the division of Europe following World War II. The world can be extremely grateful that this visionary leader and great man has walked among us.

Picture above: Helmut Kohl receiving the 2011 Henry A. Kissinger Prize at the American Academy. Photo: Annette Hornischer

Henry A. Kissinger on Helmut Kohl

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