Merkel gives farewell speech as CDU leader: a brief biography

Updated: Mar 29, 2020

By Amy Nicholas


Aufwiedersehen Mutti: In light of Angela Merkel’s farewell speech after serving 18 years as CDU party leader, we cast a quick glance over her earlier years.

A quick biograhpy:


Angela Dorothea Kasner, was born in Hamburg, West Germany, on July 17, 1954. In 1957 her father moved the family to a rural area north of Berlin in East Germany.

Merkel became an active member of the SED youth organization "Freie Deutsche Jugend" (FDJ) in 1968.


She studied physics at the University of Leipzig, earning a doctorate in 1978, and later worked as a chemist at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry.


After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Merkel first joined "Demokratischer Aufbruch" (DA) and then the Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands (CDU).


She served as the Minister of Family Affairs and the Minister of the Environment in Kohl's cabinets in 1990-1998, as well as CDU Secretary General (1998-2000), contributing to the 1995 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and publishing a book on the “Future Challenges of Environmental Policy" (1997).


In 2000 she became CDU party leader.

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