Joachim Gauck

Last updated

Joachim Gauck
2016-10-03 Joachim Gauck (Tag der Deutschen Einheit 2016 in Dresden) by Sandro Halank.jpg
President of Germany
In office
18 March 2012 18 March 2017
Chancellor Angela Merkel
Preceded by Christian Wulff
Succeeded by Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records
In office
4 October 1990 10 October 2000
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by Marianne Birthler
Member of the Bundestag
for East Germany
In office
3 October 1990 4 October 1990
Member of the Volkskammer
for Rostock
In office
18 March 1990 2 October 1990
Constituency Alliance 90 List
Personal details
Born (1940-01-24) 24 January 1940 (age 79)
Rostock, Mecklenburg, Germany
Political party Independent (1990–present)
Other political
affiliations
New Forum/Alliance 90 (1989–1990)
Spouse(s)Gerhild Radtke (1959–1991, separated)
Domestic partner Daniela Schadt (2000–present)
Children4
Signature Joachim Gaucks signature.svg

Joachim Wilhelm Gauck (German: [joˈʔaxiːm ɡaʊ̯k] ; born 24 January 1940) is a German politician and civil rights activist who served as President of Germany from 2012 to 2017. A former Lutheran pastor, he came to prominence as an anti-communist civil rights activist in East Germany. [1] [2] [3] [4]

President of Germany Head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany

The President of Germany, officially the Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany, is the head of state of Germany.

Lutheranism form of Protestantism commonly associated with the teachings of Martin Luther

Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the teaching of Martin Luther, a 16th century German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation. The reaction of the government and church authorities to the international spread of his writings, beginning with the 95 Theses, divided Western Christianity.

A pastor is an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. A pastor also gives advice and counsel to people from the community or congregation.

Contents

During the Peaceful Revolution in 1989, he was a co-founder of the New Forum opposition movement in East Germany, which contributed to the downfall of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) and later with two other movements formed the electoral list Alliance 90. In 1990 he was a member of the only freely elected East German People's Chamber in the Alliance 90/The Greens faction. Following German reunification, he was elected as a member of the Bundestag by the People's Chamber in 1990 but resigned after a single day chosen by the Bundestag to be the first Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records, serving from 1990 to 2000. He earned recognition in this position as a "Stasi hunter" and "tireless pro-democracy advocate", exposing the crimes of the communist secret police. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Peaceful Revolution 1989-1990 process disestablishing the GDR

The Peaceful Revolution was the process of sociopolitical change that led to the end of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) in the German Democratic Republic and the transition to a parliamentary democracy which enabled the reunification of Germany. This turning point was wholly created through the violence-free initiatives, protests, and successful demonstrations, which decisively occurred between the local elections held in May 1989 and the GDR's first free parliamentary election in March 1990.

New Forum

New Forum was a political movement in East Germany formed in the months leading up to the collapse of the East German state. It was founded on 9 September 1989 and was the first independent political movement to be recognised by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany-led state on 8 November 1989. In February 1990 it formed Alliance 90 with Democracy Now (DJ) and the Initiative for Peace and Human Rights (IFM).

Socialist Unity Party of Germany Marxist-Leninist political party and ruling state party of the GDR

The Socialist Unity Party of Germany, established in April 1946, was the governing Marxist–Leninist political party of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from the country's foundation in October 1949 until its dissolution after the Peaceful Revolution in 1989.

He was nominated as the candidate of the SPD and the Greens for President of Germany in the 2010 election, but lost in the third draw to Christian Wulff, the candidate of the government coalition. His candidacy was met by significant approval of the population and the media; Der Spiegel described him as "the better President" [9] and the Bild called him "the president of hearts." [10] [11] [12] Later, after Christian Wulff stepped down, Gauck was elected as President with 991 of 1228 votes in the Federal Convention in the 2012 election, as a nonpartisan consensus candidate of the CDU, the CSU, the FDP, the SPD and the Greens.

Social Democratic Party of Germany Social-democratic political party in Germany

The Social Democratic Party of Germany, is a social-democratic political party in Germany.

2010 German presidential election

An indirect presidential election was held in Germany on 30 June 2010 following the resignation of Horst Köhler as President of Germany on 31 May 2010. Christian Wulff, the candidate nominated by the three governing parties, the Christian Democratic Union, the Christian Social Union of Bavaria and the Free Democratic Party, was elected President in the third ballot. His main contender was the candidate of two opposition parties, the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance '90/The Greens, independent anti-communist human rights activist Joachim Gauck.

Christian Wulff 10th President of Germany

Christian Wilhelm Walter Wulff is a German politician and lawyer. He served as President of Germany from 2010 to 2012. A member of the Christian Democratic Union, he served as Prime Minister of the state of Lower Saxony from 2003 to 2010. He was elected President in the 30 June 2010 presidential election, defeating opposition candidate Joachim Gauck and taking office immediately, although he was not sworn in until 2 July.

A son of a survivor of a Soviet Gulag, [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] Gauck's political life was formed by his own family's experiences with totalitarianism. Gauck was a founding signatory of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, together with Václav Havel and other statesmen, and of the Declaration on Crimes of Communism. He has called for increased awareness of communist crimes in Europe, and for the necessity of delegitimizing the communist era. [1] As President he was a proponent of "an enlightened anti-communism" [18] and he has underlined the illegitimacy of communist rule in East Germany. [19] He is the author and co-author of several books, including The Black Book of Communism . His 2012 book Freedom: A Plea calls for the defense of freedom and human rights around the globe. [20] [21] He has been described by Chancellor Angela Merkel as a "true teacher of democracy" and a "tireless advocate of freedom, democracy, and justice." [22] The Wall Street Journal has described him as "the last of a breed: the leaders of protest movements behind the Iron Curtain who went on to lead their countries after 1989." [23] He has received numerous honours, including the 1997 Hannah Arendt Prize.

Gulag government agency in charge of the Soviet forced labor camp system

The Gulag was the government agency in charge of the Soviet forced-labour camp-system that was set up under Vladimir Lenin and reached its peak during Joseph Stalin's rule from the 1930s to the early 1950s. English-language speakers also use the word gulag to refer to any forced-labor camp in the Soviet Union, including camps which existed in post-Stalin times. The camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners. Large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as by NKVD troikas or by other instruments of extrajudicial punishment. The Gulag is recognized by many as a major instrument of political repression in the Soviet Union.

Totalitarianism political system in which the state holds total authority

Totalitarianism is a political concept of a mode of government that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism. Political power in totalitarian states has often been held by rule by one leader which employ all-encompassing propaganda campaigns broadcast by state-controlled mass media. Totalitarian regimes are often marked by political repression, personality cultism, control over the economy, restriction of speech, mass surveillance and widespread use of state terrorism. Historian Robert Conquest describes a "totalitarian" state as one recognizing no limits to its authority in any sphere of public or private life and which extends that authority to whatever length feasible.

Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism

The Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, which was signed on 3 June 2008, was a declaration initiated by the Czech government and signed by prominent European politicians, former political prisoners and historians, among them former Czech President Václav Havel and future German President Joachim Gauck, which called for "Europe-wide condemnation of, and education about, the crimes of communism."

Childhood and life in East Germany (1940–1989)

Joachim Gauck was born into a family of sailors in Rostock, the son of Olga (née Warremann; born 1910) and Joachim Gauck, Sr. (born 1907). His father was an experienced ship's captain and distinguished naval officer ( Kapitän zur See – captain at sea), who after World War II worked as an inspector at the Neptun Werft shipbuilding company. Both parents were members of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). [24] Following the Soviet occupation at the end of World War II, the communists were installed into power in what became the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). When Joachim Gauck was eleven years old, in 1951, his father was arrested by Soviet occupation forces; he was not to return until 1955. [25] He was convicted by a Russian military tribunal of espionage for receiving a letter from the West and also of anti-Soviet demagogy for being in the possession of a western journal on naval affairs, and deported to a Gulag in Siberia, [26] where he was mistreated to the extent that he was considered physically disabled after one year, according to his son. [27] For nearly three years, the family knew nothing about what had happened to him and whether he was still alive. He was freed in 1955, following the state visit of Konrad Adenauer to Moscow. Adenauer negotiated the release of thousands of German prisoners of war and civilians who had been deported. [28]

Rostock Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Rostock is a city in the north German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Rostock is on the Warnow river; the district of Warnemünde, 12 kilometres north of the city centre, is directly on the Baltic Sea coast. Rostock is the largest city in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, as well as its only regiopolis.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Neptun Werft German shipbuilding company

Neptun Werft is a German shipbuilding company, headquartered in Rostock. Since 1997 it has been part of the Meyer Neptun Group together with Meyer Werft in Papenburg.

Gauck graduated with an Abitur from Innerstädtisches Gymnasium in Rostock. According to Gauck, his political activities were inspired by the ordeal of his father, [29] and he stated that he grew up with a "well-founded anti-communism". [30] Already in school in East Germany, he made no secret of his anti-communist position, and he steadfastly refused to join the communist youth movement, the Free German Youth. He wanted to study German and become a journalist, but because he wasn't a communist, he wasn't allowed to do so. [10] Instead he chose to study theology and become a pastor in the Protestant church in Mecklenburg. He has stated that his primary intention was not to become a pastor, but the theology studies offered an opportunity to study philosophy and the church was one of the few institutions in East Germany where communist ideology was not dominant. [31] Nevertheless, he did eventually become a pastor. His work as a pastor in East Germany was very difficult due to the hostility of the communist regime towards the church, and for many years he was under constant observation and was harassed by the Stasi (the secret police). [32] [33] The Stasi described Gauck in their file on him as an "incorrigible anti-communist" ("unverbesserlicher Antikommunist"). [34] He has said that "at the age of nine, I knew socialism was an unjust system." [10]

Abitur is a qualification granted by university-preparatory schools in Germany, Lithuania, and Estonia. It is conferred on students who pass their final exams at the end of their secondary education, usually after twelve or thirteen years of schooling. In German, the term Abitur has roots in the archaic word Abiturium, which in turn was derived from the Latin abiturus.

Free German Youth political youth organization

The Free German Youth, also known as the FDJ, is a youth movement in Germany. Formerly it was the official youth movement of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Socialist Unity Party of Germany.

Theology Study of the nature of deities and religious belief

Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine, and more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also especially with epistemology, and asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

In his memoirs, he writes that "the fate of our father was like an educational cudgel. It led to a sense of unconditional loyalty towards the family which excluded any sort of idea of fraternisation with the system." [35]

Career during and after the Peaceful Revolution of 1989

Joachim Gauck (1990) Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1990-1218-302, Joachim Gauck.jpg
Joachim Gauck (1990)

During the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, he became a member of the New Forum, a democratic opposition movement, and was elected as its spokesman. He also took part in major demonstrations against the communist regime of GDR. In the free elections on 18 March 1990, he was elected to the People's Chamber of the GDR, representing the Alliance 90 (that consisted of the New Forum, Democracy Now and the Initiative for Peace and Human Rights), where he served until the dissolution of the GDR in October 1990.

Joachim Gauck as a member of the East German People's Chamber in 1990 Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1990-0928-019, Berlin, 37. Volkskammertagung, Diestel, Gauck.jpg
Joachim Gauck as a member of the East German People's Chamber in 1990

On 2 October 1990, the day before the dissolution of the GDR, the People's Chamber elected him Special Representative for the Stasi Records. After the dissolution of the GDR the following day, he was appointed Special Representative of the Federal Government for the Stasi Records by President Richard von Weizsäcker and Chancellor Helmut Kohl. As such, he was in charge of the archives of the Stasi and tasked with investigating communist crimes. In 1992, his office became known as the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records. He served in this position until 2000, when he was succeeded by Marianne Birthler.

Gauck served as a member of the Bundestag, the Parliament of Germany, from 3 to 4 October 1990 (the 1990 People's Chamber was granted the right to nominate a certain number of MPs as part of the reunification process). He stepped down following his appointment as Special Representative of the Federal Government. As such, he was the shortest serving Member of Parliament of Germany ever.

Joachim Gauck attending a press conference of the International Society for Human Rights, where he lectured about the Stasi campaign to discredit the Society Joachim Gauck IGFM 01.jpg
Joachim Gauck attending a press conference of the International Society for Human Rights, where he lectured about the Stasi campaign to discredit the Society

He refused the position of President of the Federal Agency for Civic Education as well as offers to be nominated as a candidate for parliament by the SPD. Voices inside the CSU proposed him as a possible conservative presidential candidate (against SPD career politician Johannes Rau) in 1999, [36] and his name was also mentioned as a possible candidate for CDU/CSU and Free Democratic Party in subsequent years. For instance the Saxon FDP state party proposed him as a liberal-conservative candidate in 2004, before the leaders of the parties agreed on Horst Köhler. [37]

Since 2003, he has been chairman of the association Gegen Vergessen – Für Demokratie ("Against Forgetting – For Democracy"), and he served on the Management Board of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia 2001–2004. [38]

Political views and reception

He has written on Soviet-era concentration camps such as the NKVD Special Camp No. 1, the crimes of communism, and political repression in East Germany, and contributed to the German edition of The Black Book of Communism .

Joachim Gauck (2008) Joachim Gauck 2.jpg
Joachim Gauck (2008)

In 2007, Joachim Gauck was invited to deliver the main speech during a commemoration ceremony at the Landtag of Saxony in memory of the Reunification of Germany and the fall of the communist government. [39] All parties participated, except The Left (the successor of the communist Socialist Unity Party (SED)), whose members walked out in protest against Gauck's delivering the speech. [40] Gauck supports the observation of The Left by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the corresponding state authorities. [41] Gauck has lauded the SPD for distancing itself from The Left. [42]

Joachim Gauck is a founding signatory of both the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism (2008), [43] with Václav Havel, and the Declaration on Crimes of Communism (2010), [44] both calling for the condemnation of communism, education about communist crimes and punishment of communist criminals. The Prague Declaration proposed the establishment of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, that was subsequently designated by the European Parliament. In 2010, Gauck criticized the political left of ignoring communist crimes. [45]

Gauck is a supporter of the idea to establish a Centre Against Expulsions in Berlin. [46]

On the occasion of his 70th birthday in 2010, Gauck was praised by Chancellor Angela Merkel as a "true teacher of democracy" and a "tireless advocate of freedom, democracy and justice". [22]

Joachim Gauck (2010) 2010-11-29 JoachimGauck 198.JPG
Joachim Gauck (2010)

The Independent has described Joachim Gauck as "Germany's answer to Nelson Mandela". [47] The Wall Street Journal has described him as "the last of a breed: the leaders of protest movements behind the Iron Curtain who went on to lead their countries after 1989," comparing him to Lech Wałęsa and Václav Havel. [23] Corriere della Sera has referred to him as the "German Havel." [48]

Gauck is a member of Atlantik-Brücke, an organisation promoting German-American friendship. Gauck supported the economic reforms initiated by the red-green government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. He also supported the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, to end Yugoslav atrocities in Kosovo. He also supports the German military presence in Afghanistan. Gauck is a proponent of market economy, and is sceptical towards the occupy movement. In 2010, he said SPD politician Thilo Sarrazin had "demonstrated courage" in opening a debate on immigration. [49] However, he criticized several of Sarrazin's views. [50]

In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in 2007, Gauck said that "we have to delegitimatize [the communist era] not only because of the many victims and criminal acts, but [also because] modern politics in the entire Soviet empire was basically taken backward." [1] According to The Wall Street Journal , he "has dedicated his life to showing that the Soviet system's evils were no less than the Third Reich's." [23] In his 2012 book Freedom. A Plea , he outlines his thoughts on freedom, democracy, human rights and tolerance.

In 2012, Gauck said that "Muslims who are living here are a part of Germany", but refused to say whether Islam was a part of Germany, as asserted by previous president Christian Wulff. The Central Council of Muslims in Germany welcomed the remarks. [51]

In May 2015, Gauck urged Germans to openly acknowledge that "millions of soldiers of the Red Army lost their lives during Nazi internment." [52]

2010 presidential candidate

"Citizens for Gauck," a demonstration in support of Gauck in front of the Brandenburger Tor in 2010 "Burger fur Gauck".jpg
"Citizens for Gauck," a demonstration in support of Gauck in front of the Brandenburger Tor in 2010

On 3 June 2010, Joachim Gauck was nominated for President of Germany in the 2010 election by the SPD and the Greens. [53] Gauck is not a member of either the SPD or the Greens (although his former party in East Germany eventually merged with the Greens after reunification), [54] and has stated that he would have accepted a nomination by the CDU as well. [55] Gauck once described himself as a "leftist, liberal conservative" [54] and after his nomination, stated: "I'm neither red nor green, I'm Joachim Gauck". [56] The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described him as a liberal conservative. [57]

Gauck is widely respected across the political spectrum, [58] and is very popular also among CDU/CSU and FDP politicians due to his record as an upstanding, moral person during the communist dictatorship as well as his record as a "Stasi hunter" in the 1990s. [59] His main contender, Christian Wulff, and politicians of all the government parties, stated that they greatly respected Gauck and his life and work. [60] Jörg Schönbohm, former Chairman of the CDU of Brandenburg, also supported Gauck. [61]

The only party that in principle rejected Gauck as a possible president was the legal successor of the East German communist party, Die Linke, which interpreted the nomination of the SPD and Greens as a refusal to cooperate with Die Linke. [62] CSU politician Philipp Freiherr von Brandenstein argued that the election of Joachim Gauck would prevent any cooperation between SPD/Greens and the party Die Linke for years to come: "Gauck has likely made it perfectly clear to [Sigmar] Gabriel that he will never appoint any of the apologists of the communist tyranny as government members". [61] Die Linke nominated their own candidate, former journalist Luc Jochimsen, [63] and chose to abstain in the third ballot. [64] [65] Die Linke's refusal to support Gauck drew strong criticism from the SPD and Greens. [66] [67] Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD chairman, described Die Linke's position as "bizarre and embarrassing," stating that he was "shocked" that the party would declare Joachim Gauck their main enemy due to his investigation of communist injustice. [68] According to Gabriel, Die Linke had manifested itself once again as the successor of the East German communist party. [66] A politician of Die Linke compared the choice between Gauck and Wulff to the choice between Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, drawing strong condemnation from the SPD and Greens. [69]

In the election on 30 June 2010, Gauck was defeated by Christian Wulff in the third ballot, with a margin of 624 to 490. [70]

Gauck was originally proposed as a presidential candidate for the Greens by Andreas Schulze, then communications adviser to the Greens in the Bundestag. Schulze was appointed as Gauck's spokesman in 2010, and again in 2012. [71]

President of Germany

Election

Joachim Gauck (2012) Joachim Gauck (2012) a.jpg
Joachim Gauck (2012)

Following the resignation of President Christian Wulff on 17 February 2012, Joachim Gauck was nominated on 19 February as the joint candidate for President of Germany by the government parties CDU, CSU and FDP, and the opposition SPD and the Alliance '90/The Greens. This happened after the FDP, the SPD and the Greens had strongly supported Gauck and urged the conservatives to support him. [72] The SPD chairman, Sigmar Gabriel, said Gauck was his party's preferred candidate already on 17 February, citing Gauck's "great confidence among the citizens." [73] Reportedly, Chancellor Merkel gave in to FDP chairman (and Vice-Chancellor) Philipp Rösler's staunch support for Gauck; the agreement was announced after the FDP presidium had unanimously voted for Gauck earlier on 19 February. [74] [75] He was thus supported by all major parties represented in the Federal Convention, except Die Linke, the successor party to the former East German communist party. [1]

According to a poll conducted for Stern , the nomination of Gauck was met with high approval. The majority of the voters of all political parties represented in the Bundestag approved of his nomination, with the Green voters being most enthusiastic (84% approval) and Die Linke's voters least (55% approval); overall, 69% support him, while 15% oppose him. [76] His nomination was "broadly welcomed" by the German media, [77] which were described as "jubilant." [78] However, his candidacy was criticized by Die Linke, and met with some other individual criticism; he was criticized by individual CSU members for not being married to the woman he lives with, [79] [80] and by individual politicians of the Greens, notably for his earlier statements on Thilo Sarrazin and the occupy movement. [79] The SPD chairman, Sigmar Gabriel, however, stated that the reason that Die Linke was the only party that did not support Gauck was its "sympathy for the German Democratic Republic." [81] [82]

David Gill was appointed head of Gauck's transition team, [83] and later became head of the Bundespräsidialamt. [84]

On 18 March 2012, Gauck was elected President of Germany with 991 of 1228 votes in the Federal Convention. [85] Upon accepting his election, he assumed the presidency immediately. [86] The new President took the oath of office required by article 56 of Germany's Constitution on Friday 23 March 2012 in the presence of the assembled members of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. [87] [88] [89] On 6 June 2016, President Gauck announced he would not stand for re-election in 2017, citing his age as the reason. [90]

Presidential visits to foreign countries

He has visited a significant number of countries as President. In 2014, he boycotted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in order to make a statement against human rights violations in Russia. [91] [92]

On 3 August 2014, he joined French President François Hollande to mark the outbreak of the war between Germany and France in 1914 during World War I by laying the first stone of a memorial in Hartmannswillerkopf, for French and German soldiers killed in the war. [93]

State receptions

Gauck with Queen Elizabeth II at Romer, Frankfurt, during the 2015 royal visit to Germany. 25.Jun.2015 Queen Elizabeth II. and Prince Philip's visit to Frankfurt (18964921388).jpg
Gauck with Queen Elizabeth II at Römer, Frankfurt, during the 2015 royal visit to Germany.

Gauck regularly welcomed state officials in different parts of Germany, especially for remarkable events in history.

On 18 September 2014, Gauck welcomed the heads of states of (partly) German-speaking countries Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein to his home region of Mecklenburg. It was the first time Belgium and Luxembourg participated in the annual event. They met in Bad Doberan, Warnemünde and the city of Rostock to address the challenges of demographic change in Europe and to commemorate the peaceful revolution of 1989. [94]

Personal life

Gauck married Gerhild "Hansi" Gauck (née Radtke), his childhood sweetheart whom he met at age ten, [95] but the couple has been separated since 1991. [96] They were married in 1959, at 19, despite his father's opposition, and have four children: sons Christian (born 1960) and Martin (born 1962), and daughters Gesine (born 1966) and Katharina (born 1979). Christian, Martin and Gesine were able to leave East Germany and emigrate to West Germany in the late 1980s, while Katharina, still a child, remained with her parents. His children were discriminated against and denied the right to education by the communist regime because their father was a pastor. [97] His son Christian, who along with his brother decided to leave the GDR in early 1984 and was able to do so in 1987, studied medicine in West Germany and became a physician. [98]

Since 2000, his domestic partner has been Daniela Schadt, a journalist. [99]

Gauck is a member of the Evangelical Church in Germany, and served as a pastor for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mecklenburg—a member church of that federation. [100]

Selected publications

Honours

National honour

Foreign honours

Related Research Articles

Alliance 90/The Greens Political party in Germany

Alliance 90/The Greens, often simply Greens, is a green political party in Germany that was formed in 1993 from the merger of the German Green Party and Alliance 90. The party focuses on ecological, economic, and social sustainability. Since January 2018 Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck have co-led the party. In the 2017 federal elections the Greens came sixth with 8.9% of the votes and 67 out of 709 seats in the Bundestag.

Christian Democratic Union of Germany political party in Germany

The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian-democratic, liberal-conservative political party in Germany. It is the major catch-all party of the centre-right in German politics. The CDU forms the CDU/CSU grouping, also known as the Union, in the Bundestag with its Bavarian counterpart the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU). Founded in 1945 as an interdenominational Christian party, the CDU effectively replaced the pre-war Catholic Centre Party, but also included politicians of other, liberal and conservative backgrounds. The party therefore claims to represent "Christian-social, liberal and conservative" elements.

Beate Klarsfeld French journalist, Nazi hunter, and historian

Beate Auguste Klarsfeld is a Franco-German journalist who, along with her French husband, Serge, became famous for their investigation and documentation of numerous Nazi war criminals, including Kurt Lischka, Alois Brunner, Klaus Barbie, Ernst Ehlers, Kurt Asche, and others. In March 2012, she was a candidate for The Left in the 2012 election for the German Federal President against Joachim Gauck, which she lost by 126 to 991 votes.

Norbert Lammert German politician, president of the Bundestag

Norbert Lammert is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He served as the 12th President of the Bundestag from 2005 to 2017.

The Left (Germany) political party in Germany

The Left, also commonly referred to as the Left Party, is a democratic socialist political party in Germany. It is considered to be left-wing populist by some researchers. The party was founded in 2007 as the result of the merger of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG). Through the PDS, the party is the direct descendant of the ruling party of the former East Germany (GDR), the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED).

David McAllister German Politician (CDU)

David James "Mac" McAllister is a German politician and member of the European Parliament from Germany. He is a member of the Christian Democratic Union, part of the European People's Party. He is the current Vice President of the European People's Party and he is also Vice Chairman of the International Democrat Union. He was appointed Chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee in February 2017.

Philipp Rösler German centrist politician and combat-trained medic

Philipp Rösler, is a German medical doctor and former politician who served as Federal Minister of Economics and Technology and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2011 to 2013.

Second Merkel cabinet cabinet in the German federal government headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel (2009-2013)

The second Merkel cabinet was the Government of Germany during the 17th legislative session of the Bundestag following the 2009 federal election, and left office on 17 December 2013. It was preceded in office by the first Merkel cabinet. Led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, it was supported by a coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), and the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

Marianne Birthler German politician

Marianne Birthler is a German human rights advocate and politician of the Alliance '90/The Greens. From 2000 to 2011, she served as the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records, responsible for investigating the past crimes of the Stasi, the former communist secret police of East Germany. In 2016 she was offered the nomination of the CDU/CSU and her own party for President of Germany, but after some time decided not to run; the parties would have had a majority in the Federal Convention, securing her the election.

2010 North Rhine-Westphalia state election election

The North Rhine-Westphalia state election, 2010, was an election held on 9 May 2010, to elect members to the Landtag of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The incumbent government at the election was the Christian Democrat (CDU)–FDP administration of Minister-President Jürgen Rüttgers. The biggest opposition party was the Social Democratic Party, led by Hannelore Kraft since 2005.

2011 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election election

The Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election was conducted on 4 September 2011, to elect members to the Landtag of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The State Landtag was controlled by a grand coalition of the Social Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic Union prior to the election.

2012 German presidential election

An early indirect presidential election was held in Germany on 18 March 2012, the last possible day following the resignation of Christian Wulff as President of Germany on 17 February 2012. Joachim Gauck was elected on the first ballot by a Federal Convention, consisting of the 620 members of the Bundestag and an equal number of members selected by the states of Germany based on proportional representation.

Andreas Schulze is a German political consultant for the Alliance '90/The Greens, and the designated Press Secretary of the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck.

2017 German federal election General election to the 19th German Bundestag

Federal elections were held in Germany on 24 September 2017 to elect the members of the 19th Bundestag. At stake were all 598 seats in the Bundestag, as well as 111 overhang and leveling seats determined thereafter.

Third Merkel cabinet third government of Germany under Angela Merkel

The third cabinet of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel was sworn in on 17 December 2013. Led by Merkel, the government was supported by a coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), and the Social Democrats (SPD).

2016 Baden-Württemberg state election 2016 state election in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

The Baden-Württemberg state election 2016 was held on 13 March 2016 to elect members to Baden-Württemberg's State diet, the Landtag of Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart. It was the 15th state election since the foundation of Baden-Württemberg in 1952. Going into the election, Winfried Kretschmann of Alliance '90/The Greens led a coalition government of his party with the Social Democrats. After the election, Kretschman was confirmed in May 2016 leading a coalition with the CDU, the first time the Greens have led such a coalition in Germany.

2016 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election

The Mecklenburg-Vorpommern State Elections, 2016 were held on 4 September 2016, to elect members to the 7th Landtag of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. All 71 seats in the Landtag were contested and around 1.3 million voters were eligible to cast ballots. Postal voting began in August ahead of the September 4 polling day. State elections in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern use the Hare-Niemeyer method of proportional representation to allocate seats in the Landtag.

2017 German presidential election

The 2017 German presidential election was held on 12 February 2017 to elect the 12th President of Germany. Incumbent President Joachim Gauck announced on 6 June 2016 that he would not stand for re-election, citing his advancing age.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Robert Coalson, Longtime Anticommunist Activist To Become Germany's Next President, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 20 February 2012
  2. "German Presidential Nominee’s Background Seen as an Asset", The New York Times , 20 February 2012
  3. "A crucial test for Angela Merkel". FRANCE 24. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  4. "Gauck's civic engagement wins him wide support". DW.DE. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  5. "German media roundup: Little excitement for Wulff presidency". thelocal.de. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  6. "Politik Inland : Joachim Gauck, der Stasi-Jäger – Archiv – Westfälische Nachrichten" (in German). Wn.de. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  7. "Germany's Next President: 'I'm No Superman' – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International". Spiegel.de. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  8. "Merkel Names Gauck as Unity Candidate for German Presidency". Businessweek. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  9. "DER SPIEGEL 23/2010 – Inhaltsverzeichnis". Spiegel.de. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  10. 1 2 3 "Profile: Joachim Gauck, Germany's 'President of Hearts' – The Local". Thelocal.de. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  11. "Joachim Gauck: Der "Kandidat der Herzen" – Politik Inland" (in German). Bild.de. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  12. "Vom Sieger der Herzen zum Bundespräsidenten?". MDR.DE. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  13. Online, FOCUS. "Das Geheimnis um den Onkel" . Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  14. "Joachim Gauck: Anti-communist pastor who could turn out to be Angela Merkel's nemesis – World news, News". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  15. Connolly, Kate (20 June 2010). "Joachim Gauck: the dissident hero who holds the destiny of Germany in his hands". The Guardian. London.
  16. "Eastern Inspiration: Gauck the Therapist Wants to Put Germany On the Couch – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International". Spiegel.de. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  17. "Rival candidate for president new headache for Merkel". Reuters. 6 June 2010.
  18. Sturm, Daniel Friedrich (14 June 2013). "Gedenken: Gauck wirbt für "aufgeklärten Antikommunismus"" via www.welt.de.
  19. "German president slams communism in provocative speech to Shanghai students on his China visit".
  20. "Gauck-Buch: Plädoyer für Freiheit und Menschenrechte". Volksstimme.de. Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  21. "Angela Merkel backs 'German Nelson Mandela' for president". Globalpost.com. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  22. 1 2 "Presidential Vote 'Could Turn into a Disaster for Merkel'". Der Spiegel . 7 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  23. 1 2 3 The Gauck File, The Wall Street Journal , 22 February 2012, p. 14
  24. "Das Geheimnis um den Onkel". Focus Online . 28 June 2010.
  25. "Der Herr der Akten erzählt sein Leben". ZDF (in German). 16 October 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  26. "Profile: Joachim Gauck, Germany's 'President of Hearts' – The Local". Thelocal.de. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  27. Gauck 2009, p. 37
  28. Witt, Jan. "Joachim Gauck – Oppositionskandidat für das Amt des Bundespräsidenten". randomhouse.de (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  29. „Wir Deutsche können Freiheit", Interview, Ostseezeitung Rostock, 23/24 January 2010
  30. Eckhard Jesse, Eine Revolution und ihre Folgen: 14 Bürgerrechtler ziehen Bilanz, 2000
  31. "Joachim Gauck: Vom Bürgerrechtler zum Staatsoberhaupt". otz.de. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  32. Baring, Arnulf (8 November 2009). "Unbelehrbarer Antikommunist". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  33. Cammann, Alexander (24 January 2010). "Joachim Gauck: Eine Freiheitslehre". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  34. Nachrichten. "Joachim Gauck – eine patriotische Ich-AG". News.de.msn.com. Retrieved 30 June 2010.[ dead link ]
  35. Kate Connolly, Joachim Gauck: the dissident hero who holds the destiny of Germany in his hands, The Guardian, 20 June 2010
  36. "Bundespräsidenten-Kandidat Gauck: "Ich kann zählen"". taz . 5 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  37. Das Gupta, Oliver (8 June 2010). "FDP-Politiker Zastrow – "Gauck ist ein Liberaler wie wir"". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  38. Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection in Poland, Government of Poland, 2008
  39. "Sächsischer Landtag feiert Tag der Deutschen Einheit – Festredner Joachim Gauck: "Freiheit wagen – Verantwortung leben"". Landtag of Saxony (in German). 3 October 2007. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  40. "Kandidaten für das Amt des Bundespräsidenten: Warum "Die Linke" Joachim Gauck nicht wählt". Bild (in German). 4 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  41. "Bundespräsident – Warum die Linke Joachim Gauck ablehnt – Politik – Berliner Morgenpost – Berlin". Morgenpost.de. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  42. Nachrichtenfernsehen, n-tv. "Distanzierung von Linkspartei: Gauck begrüßt Haltung der SPD" . Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  43. "Prague Declaration – Declaration Text". praguedeclaration.org. 3 June 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  44. "Declaration on Crimes of Communism". crimesofcommunism.eu. 25 February 2010. Archived from the original on 21 May 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  45. Schneibergová, Martina (3 June 2008). "Gauck in Prag: Auch Linke im Westen brauchen Nachhilfeunterricht – Radio Prag". Radio Prague (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  46. "Zentrum gegen Vertreibungen". z-g-v.de. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  47. Paterson, Tony (30 June 2010). "Anti-communist pastor who could turn out to be Merkel's nemesis". The Independent . Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  48. "Merkel sceglie Gauck Un pastore luterano a prova di scandali". Archiviostorico.corriere.it. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  49. "Leserdebatte: Als Gauck Sarrazin "Mut" attestierte – Politik – Tagesspiegel" (in German). Tagesspiegel.de. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  50. "Designierter Bundespräsident: Das Internet-Märchen vom bösen Joachim Gauck – Nachrichten Politik – Deutschland – WELT ONLINE" (in German). Welt.de. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  51. "German president sparks debate with Islam comments". 1 June 2012.
  52. "Nazis 'merciless' toward wartime Soviets, says Gauck". Deutsche Welle . 6 May 2015.
  53. "Koalition präsentiert Wulff als ihren Kandidaten". tagesschau (in German). 7 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  54. 1 2 Siebert, Sven (4 June 2010). "Rot-Grün setzt auf Joachim Gauck". Sächsische Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  55. Kleine, Rolf (4 June 2010). "Kandidat Joachim Gauck: Für die CDU würde ich auch antreten!". Bild . Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  56. "Auftritt des Kandidaten: "Ich bin weder rot noch grün, sondern Joachim Gauck"". Die Welt (in German). 4 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  57. Carstens, Peter (5 June 2010). "Die FDP hatte keine Wahl". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  58. "Merkel nominates Wulff for president". Thelocal.de. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  59. Solms-Laubach, Franz (4 June 2010). "Kandidaten-Poker um das Präsidenten-Amt: Wackelt Wulffs Mehrheit?". Bild . Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  60. Draxler, Alfred; Baldauf, Angi (4 June 2010). "Kandidatfür das Amt des Bundespräsidenten Christian Wulff: Ich will Mut und Optimismus verbreiten!". Bild (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  61. 1 2 "Der Krimi um die Präsidentenwahl". Die Welt (in German). 6 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  62. "Die Linke sieht ein Signal gegen Rot-Rot-Grün". Die Welt (in German). 5 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  63. ""DDR war kein Unrechtsstaat": Jochimsen definiert Unrecht" (in German). n-tv.de. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  64. Linke verhindert Gauck, Wulff wird Präsident, Manager Magazin.
  65. "Bundespräsidentenwahl: Linke Jochimsen zieht Kandidatur zurück". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  66. 1 2 Gauck-Boykott vertieft die Gräben, n24.de.
  67. Causa Gauck entlarvt Rot-Rot-Grün als Illusion, Die Welt.
  68. "Bundespräsident: Gabriel: Lafontaine-Kritik an Gauck peinlich – Deutschland – FOCUS Online – Nachrichten". Focus.de. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  69. Opposition streitet über Gauck, n-tv.de.
  70. "Merkel candidate Wulff wins presidency on third attempt". BBC News . 30 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  71. Der Gauck-Macher, Bild.
  72. "German government, opposition agree on Joachim Gauck as candidate for the country's presidency". Newsday.com. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  73. Gauck Favorit der SPD für Wulff-Nachfolge Archived 23 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine , DTS, 18 February 2012
  74. sueddeutsche.de GmbH, Munich, Germany. "FDP beharrt auf Gauck: Rösler feiert gefährlichen Sieg – Politik". sueddeutsche.de. Retrieved 20 February 2012.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  75. "Gauck-Nominierung: Union wirft FDP "gewaltigen Vertrauensbruch" vor – Nachrichten Politik – Deutschland – WELT ONLINE" (in German). Welt.de. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  76. Applaus für Joachim Gauck, stern.de
  77. "German press hails Joachim Gauck presidency nomination". 20 February 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2017 via www.bbc.co.uk.
  78. "Germany's 'president of hearts' seeks to restore the faith". Expatica.com. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  79. 1 2 Gauck in der Kritik, news.at
  80. "Joachim Gaucks "wilde Ehe" irritiert die CSU". Morgenpost.de. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  81. Gabriel greift Linke an: Betonköpfe, die Stasi-Aufklärung unanständig finden, Focus, 26 February 2012
  82. Gabriel: Linke lehnt Gauck wegen Sympathie für DDR ab, Agence France-Presse, 26 February 2012
  83. David Gill – Gaucks Vertrauter fürs Schloss Bellevue, Die Welt vom 25. Februar 2012
  84. Bingener, Reinhard (19 March 2012). "David Gill: Gaucks zielstrebiger Vertrauter" . Retrieved 10 January 2017 via FAZ.NET.
  85. Entscheidung in Berlin, Der Spiegel, 18 March 2012
  86. "Gauck ist neuer deutscher Bundespräsident «". Diepresse.com. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  87. "www.bundespraesident.de: Der Bundespräsident / Startseite" . Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  88. "www.bundespraesident.de: Der Bundespräsident / Terminkalender / Vereidigung von Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck" . Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  89. Article on the Bundestag's website with information on the election and on the swearing-in scheduled for 23 March 2012. Retrieved on 19 March 2012. Archived 9 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  90. Kate Connolly (6 June 2016). "Headache for Angela Merkel as German president Joachim Gauck steps down". The Guardian . Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  91. Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg. "Kritik an Russland: Gauck boykottiert Olympische Spiele in Sotschi – SPIEGEL ONLINE – Politik" . Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  92. Oltermann, Philip (8 December 2013). "German president boycotts Sochi Winter Olympics" . Retrieved 10 January 2017 via The Guardian.
  93. "French, German Presidents Mark World War I Anniversary". France News.Net. Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  94. "Joachim Gauck welcomes presidents to Mecklenburg to address demographic change and commemorate the Wende". Official Presidential Website. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  95. "Hansi Gauck versteht Trauschein-Debatte nicht – Politik Inland" (in German). Bild.de. 22 February 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  96. Hansi Gauck will von Scheidung nichts wissen, Die Welt, 22 February 2012, retrieved 16 November 2015
  97. "Vater-Sohn-Verhältnis – Bruchstellen – Christian Gauck über seinen Vater – Deutschland – Politik – Hamburger Abendblatt". Abendblatt.de. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  98. "Joachim Gauck: Wenn Vater sagt "Gesine, steh doch mal auf!" – Nachrichten Politik – Deutschland – WELT ONLINE" (in German). Welt.de. 25 February 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  99. "Joachim Gauck: Sein Liebespfad nach Nürnberg". Nürnberger Nachrichten (in German). 7 June 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.[ permanent dead link ]
  100. Gessat, Michael (19 February 2012), Gauck's civic engagement wins him wide support, DW, retrieved 28 February 2012
  101. Nomination by Sovereign Ordonnance n° 3839 of 9 July 2012 (French)
  102. "Nederland eert Duitse president Gauck met Grootkruis en eredoctoraat".
  103. "Iohannis i-a decorat pe preşedintele Germaniei şi pe partenera sa" (in Romanian). Mediafax. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
Civic offices
New office Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records
1990–2000
Succeeded by
Marianne Birthler
Political offices
Preceded by
Christian Wulff
President of Germany
2012–2017
Succeeded by
Frank-Walter Steinmeier