Angela Merkel’s Polish roots revealed

New biographer discovers a grandfather of the German leader was born in Poznan

German chancellor Angela Merkel: the new biography suggests her grandfather was illegitimate. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images

German chancellor Angela Merkel: the new biography suggests her grandfather was illegitimate. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images

Fri, Mar 15, 2013, 06:30


A new biography of Angela Merkel published yesterday has revealed that the German chancellor is one-quarter Polish, with a grandfather from Poznan.

Ludwig Kazmierczak was born in 1896 and grew up in what was then the eastern German city of Posen which, throughout its history, has gone back and forth between Poland and Germany.

When the city was handed back to Poland after the first World War, Kazmierczak moved to Berlin, according to Merkel biographer Stefan Cornelius. Dr Merkel’s late father Horst was born in Berlin in 1926 with the old family name, Kazmierczak. His father Germanicised the family name to Kasner in 1930.

The new biography, Angela Merkel – The Chancellor and Her World , suggests that her Polish grandfather was an illegitimate child.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported yesterday that Dr Merkel’s father’s original name had not previously been known, although she had mentioned that her family had a Polish element.

Yesterday Dr Merkel’s spokesman confirmed the leader’s Polish family background.

The politician spoke only once on the record about her Polish grandfather, at a church event in 1995 in Hamburg, where she was born in 1954. Shortly after her birth, her parents moved to the East German town of Templin, north of Berlin.

The German leader was Angela Kasner until she she married her first husband, Ulrich Merkel. They were married for seven years and she kept his name after they divorced and she married her second husband, Joachim Sauer.