TV documentary about Gerhard Schröder: “I don’t need the approval of the SPD leadership for my life’s work” | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Er drives up in a black VW van. On the golf course, in fact, the place a state pensioner hangs out when he thinks he has made it to some extent. Open the trunk lid, put the golf equipment out, proceed teeing off. “Well, he could actually do it,” says Gerhard Schröder, however ultimately he messes it up. When placing, he pushes the small ball previous the outlet twice. “You see,” says the previous Chancellor and, accompanied as all the time and in all places by his spouse Soyeon Schröder-Kim, strikes to the subsequent gap.

additionally learn

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD)

“Off-duty? – The Gerhard Schröder Story” is the title of a documentary film that ARD is putting in its media library this Wednesday and will be broadcast on Das Erste next Monday at 8:15 p.m. Author Lucas Stratmann – who won the Axel Springer Prize for Young Journalism for his Kevin Kühnert documentary series – accompanied the former Chancellor for six months. The result is a 60-minute portrait that confirms every impression one has gained of Schröder over the past few years. Self-righteous, self-assured, arrogant, artificial, pitiful. A documentary as a tragedy.

“It’s no use if you start moralizing,” says Schröder

Author Stratmann actually gave the soon-to-be 80-year-old former chancellor many good opportunities for correction and polish. In the questions he asks Schröder in the film, he repeatedly invites him to reflect on his own role, his own positions, his relationship with Vladimir Putin, and also his status as a pariah in German politics. Vain. Schröder doesn't even think about it in most parts of the conversation. He prefers to interrupt the questioner right away, denies, evades, trivializes, insists, outplays, and is consistently right. Excerpts:

Stratmann: “Do these war crimes in Ukraine leave a mark on your friendship with Mr. Putin?”

Schröder: “What do traces of friendship mean? I have made it clear what I think of this war. Public. I don't have to do that every week and every day. Even though I'm always being held out with a stick that I'm supposed to jump over. I don’t.”

additionally learn

Stratmann: “Did you ask him (Putin, note) why he started this (the war, note) in the first place?”

Schröder: “Listen, we’re not making a fairy tale. That's not how you conduct negotiations at the level. So, sorry, it's not a moral question. It's about ending a conflict. It’s no use at all if you start moralizing.”

Reporter Lucas Stratmann (r) speaks with former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his wife Soyeon Schröder-Kim on the sidelines of the ceremony for German unity in Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie

Reporter Lucas Stratmann (r) speaks with former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his wife Soyeon Schröder-Kim on the sidelines of the ceremony for German unity in Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie

Source: dpa/-

Stratmann also asks Schröder about the Federal President's criticism of the former Chancellor's professional commitment to Russia's gas industry.

Schröder: “Oh God, everyone has to figure that out for themselves. I have lived with criticism in politics all my life and will continue to do so. And if you think you have to rub yourself, then you should do it.”

Stratmann: “Does that also apply to the Federal Chancellor? He also said publicly that you should resign from your positions.”

Schröder: “That also applies to him. I decide for myself what I think is right, together with my wife.”

Schröder and the church window

This goes on again and again, right up to perhaps the most remarkable passage in this filmic portrait of Schröder, a scene in the Hanover market church. Last fall, after much back and forth, a new church window was inaugurated there, initiated by Schröder and designed by his artist friend Markus Lüpertz.

The parish passed the money raised by Schröder on to the victims of the war in Ukraine, but ultimately had the window made and installed. Both Schröder and Lüpertz sit in the front row at the inauguration. In her speech, the pastor of the market church used clear words to recall the massacres carried out by the Russian army in Bucha, Ukraine. She criticizes the dictator Putin and says, referring to his friend Schröder: “It is part of the truth of this window that not wanting to perceive is also part of the history of this picture.”

Here you’ll find content material from third events

In order to display embedded content, your revocable consent to the transmission and processing of personal data is necessary, as the providers of the embedded content require this consent as third party providers [In diesem Zusammenhang können auch Nutzungsprofile (u.a. auf Basis von Cookie-IDs) gebildet und angereichert werden, auch außerhalb des EWR]. By setting the switch to “on”, you agree to this (revocable at any time). This also includes your consent to the transfer of certain personal data to third countries, including the USA, in accordance with Art. 49 (1) (a) GDPR. You can find more information about this. You can revoke your consent at any time using the switch and privacy at the bottom of the page.

Stratmann later speaks to Schröder about this scene and asks him: “That doesn’t bother you?”

Schröder: “No. That doesn't bother me at all. Because I'm a member there, not a particularly active one. But I will remain that way. And as I said, this is a church that feels it has to say this on this point, also on this occasion. But it also has good reason to examine its own attitude, including in the First or Second World War. It wasn’t just angels at work.”

Schröder criticizes Baerbock's China policy

With Schröder, at least in this documentary, it's the others who should take offense, not so much himself. This applies to the pastor in the market church. This is especially true for politicians who criticize Schröder because of his Russia lobbying.

Kevin Kühnert, the incumbent SPD general secretary, is an “important” for him. He describes the SPD parliamentary group, which no longer wants to let him finance his office, as “poor people”. He dedicated the sentence to the current leadership of the party, which he himself chaired for five years: “I don’t need the approval of the current SPD leadership for my life’s work, if you will.”

additionally learn

Leipzig, end of November 2023: Anti-America protest near the US Consulate General - on the banner at the top right is the logo of the right-wing extremist magazine “Compact”

In the marginally too lengthy passage wherein the movie accompanies Schröder on a visit to China, the ex-chancellor additionally harshly criticizes the federal authorities's China coverage, particularly Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. He considers their coverage to be a “terrible undesirable development” that can shatter quite a lot of international coverage china.

In the summer, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder spends time on a golf course near Hanover

In the summer, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder spends time on a golf course near Hanover

Source: dpa/Lucas Stratmann

“And not just in German-Chinese relations, but in general.” It is a question “that also has to do with professionalism and that is obviously rather underdeveloped in the Foreign Office. “It wasn’t always like that at the moment,” says Schröder, happily admitting that he is still a welcome guest in China today. “Of course people here still see me as someone who played an important role in Germany. That was just the way it was. In this respect, you are – and always have to pay a little attention to – the representative of your own country.”

A representative of the Federal Republic who turns 80 next Sunday, who likes to play golf, who, despite all the debates of the past two years, feels “in no way” isolated in the SPD, but who feels treated quite unfairly – “at the very least that!” One , who likes to journey and even prefers to be proper. And on the finish of those 60 minutes, the nation must be fairly ashamed of its stubbornness.