There was a Christian hymn – little surprise, for the daughter of a Protestant pastor – and a fairly conventional cabaret song by German actress and singer Hildegard Knef.
It was Merkel’s third choice that set the German Twittersphere on fire. The Chancellor chose ‘Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen’ or ‘You forgot the color film’, a 1970s hit from Communist East by Nina Hagen, who later emigrated to the West and became the idol German punk rock from the 1980s.
Until recently, Merkel had rarely spoken of her East German origins. But she was more open on Thursday when asked about the song, which tells the story of a couple going on vacation to an island in the Baltic Sea.
“The song was a highlight of my youth, which as everyone knows took place in the GDR,” said Merkel, referring to the German Democratic Republic, the official name of Germany’s Communist East. “The song was from the GDR, and it also happens to be in an area that was in my old constituency. And so everything fits together. “
Compared to her predecessors, Merkel has invited relatively few guests, due to the pandemic. Mr Scholz was in the crowd, as were many of the 52 ministers who served in his governments for four terms.