BERLIN (AP) — Roman Herzog, who as president pressed Germany to embrace financial reform within the Nineteen Nineties and in addition careworn the significance of remembering the Nazi Holocaust, has died. He was eighty two.
Present President Joachim Gauck introduced Herzog’s demise on Tuesday, with out giving particulars. In a message to Herzog’s widow, he described the previous head of state as “a particular character” who “advocated readiness for reform and on the similar time stood for preserving the tried and examined.”
Herzog, a jovial Bavarian, served because the chief justice of Germany’s highest courtroom earlier than profitable the presidency in 1994, 4 years after reunification.
He was one of many first leaders to deal with Germany’s resistance to reform and its rising financial stagnation at a time when veteran conservative Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s sixteen-yr tenure was coming to an in depth. Germany was battling double-digit unemployment, amid worries that its labor market was too rigid.
Herzog drew an unfavorable comparability between the dynamism of Asia and the stagnation in Germany, pointing to issues with paperwork and regulation, and a resistance to vary.
“Germany should really feel a jolt,” Herzog stated in a 1997 speech, urging Germans to put aside greed and pull collectively to beat “a way of paralysis.”
“Pessimism has develop into a traditional mindset in our nation,” he stated. “Those that need to delay or forestall main reforms must be conscious that our nation can pay a excessive worth for this.”
Nevertheless, the president, whereas seen because the nation’s ethical conscience, has a largely ceremonial job and reform was sluggish to return.
The next yr, middle-left Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder got here to energy saying that one in every of his authorities’s duties can be to modernize the nation and cope with a “reform backlog.” However it might nonetheless be a number of extra years earlier than Germany embarked in earnest on painful reform of the welfare state.
The reforms that Schroeder lastly carried out have been unpopular on the time, however they’ve been extensively credited with placing Germany in fine condition to climate financial crises.
Herzog — who succeeded Richard von Weizsaecker, remembered for urging his nation to confront its darkish previous — additionally instituted an annual day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust, setting it on Jan. 27, the anniversary of the Auschwitz demise camp’s liberation.
Saying the choice in 1996, he stated remembrance should “remind future generations to be…