Laudation (extract) by Richard von Weizsäcker

Laudation (extract)

Speaker Richard von Weizsäcker on the laureates:

‘Both of them feel deeply obliged to history. Both of them have been shaped by the destiny of their homelands. Both of them draw European conclusions from this. In 1948, the same year that François Mitterrand revealed himself at the Haager Congress as a convinced European, Helmut Kohl, in his last year of high school at the time, participated in removing boundary posts in the passage between Pfalz and Alsace and making personal friendships with the French. […] Since then the French president and the German Chancellor have met six times. Their most unforgettable encounter was in September 1984 on the battlefield of Verdun; where the Chancellor’s father was deployed in the First World War and where the French President was wounded as a young soldier in the Second World War. It was a symbol of great nostalgia.’

Photo François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl

François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl