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'In Their Own Words' Continues With Angela Merkel on PBS

Angela Merkel - Reception for members of the PEN Congress at Federal Chancellery, May 24, 2006, Berlin-Tiergarten
Angela Merkel - Reception for members of the PEN Congress at Federal Chancellery, May 24, 2006, Berlin-Tiergarten (Image credit: Courtesy of 360b / ALAMY Stock Photo)

In Their Own Words continues with the premiere of a profile of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Dec. 28. Merkel, who will step down as Chancellor at the end of 2021, is Germany’s first female Chancellor. 

The documentary will show how she got to that position and will feature interviews with Hilary Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Her episode airs Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS, the PBS Video App and PBS.org. 

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Merkel was born in West Germany and moved to East Germany when her father, a Lutheran pastor, was asked to serve there. She saw the rise of the Berlin Wall in 1961 while her family was stuck in East Germany. In 1989 the Berlin Wall came down and Merkel became a minister to women and children by the Christian Democratic Party-run by Helmut Kohl in an effort to rebuild Germany. 

Merkel became secretary to the Christian Democratic Union in 1998. She then turned on Kohl after allegations surfaced in 1999 that the CDU had accepted illegal donations and held covert bank accounts under Kohl’s leadership. Merkel publicly blamed Kohl for damaging the party. 

“She, in effect, committed patricide,” said author and journalist Kati Marton. “The boldest political act was committed by Merkel when she turned on her mentor [Helmut Kohl]. And she positioned herself as the heir to the CDU.”

Merkel became the first woman Chancellor of Germany in 2005 and will step down after 16 years. 

"No one laughs anymore if a girl says she wants to be chancellor," said Merkel.

In Their Own Words is co-produced by Dalaklis Media and Prospero Media and Lower Canada Productions Inc. Executive producers are Chuck Dalaklis, Martin Katz, Matt Hanna and Karen Wookey. Bill Margol is executive in charge for PBS. Rive Gauche Television, an Aftershock Media Company, is the international distributor of the series.

No future profiles have been announced at this time. ■