Postcard from... Berlin
It took many west Germans some time to accept that their first female leader was once a citizen of the despised former communist East Germany. Angela Merkel, neé Kasner, was born in West German Hamburg but her Protestant vicar father opted to go east with his family in the late-1950s to take up a church post.
But after German reunification in 1990, there were suggestions that instead of opposing communism, the young Angela had actively played along with the system.
Now more details about her family's past have emerged which complicate the Merkel story further. A new biography has revealed that the German Chancellor has Polish roots. Her grandfather was a Pole called Kazmierczack who moved to Berlin with his family after the Great War. Merkel's Polish roots have not aroused much interest in Germany, where attitudes to the neighbours can be condescending. But in Poland the news has been treated as a sensation: "At last we know why Angela Merkel speaks in such a heartfelt way about Poland," wrote the liberal Warsaw daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
But Angela Merkel was highly regarded in Poland before this latest revelation – a poll last year found she was Poland's most liked foreign politician.
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...