Friends, family and companions said goodbye to former SPD chairman Hans-Jochen Vogel in Munich. His current successor in the party leadership, SPD leader Norbert Walter-Borjans, hailed Vogel as one of the “greats of social democracy”. “His life was entirely at the service of the people,” he said Monday during Vogel’s funeral at the Gasteig Philharmonic. “He illustrated what it’s worth having an attitude.”
Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) called his predecessor “an exceptional phenomenon” and “a model of accuracy and candor”. “He was a visionary and incredibly energetic advocate for citizens.” Vogel died on July 26 at the age of 94. The funeral took place in the family circle on Friday.
Among the guests at Monday’s memorial service were Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, former Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) and Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD).
Vogel was born in Göttingen in 1926. At 34, the professor’s son became mayor of Munich – and thus the youngest mayor of a large German city. He later became Federal Minister for Construction and Justice, for nearly four months mayor of Berlin, leader of the SPD party and a parliamentary group – and candidate for chancellor.
In the SPD, Vogel was seen as a good conscience with unshakeable moral principles throughout his life. The bird, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, spent his old age in a retirement home in Munich.
The last word of the funeral was due to him. His widow Liselotte read a statement – because: “Hans-Jochen Vogel would not have been himself if he had left this world without an orderly farewell,” she said. “When my husband heard that his ailments were incurable and his days were numbered, he made an effort to dictate to his son an explanation.”
From this statement, she quoted: “To my regret, I am compelled to inform my party and the public” that he can no longer perform his honorary political duties and political work, he said. . He named SPD legends Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt and Herbert Wehner as political role models and concluded with the phrase: “Make sure Germany remains what we fought for.”