Home Events Goethe Institut at Massey: An interview with Ralph Bollmann on Angela Merkel’s time in power in Germany

Goethe Institut at Massey: An interview with Ralph Bollmann on Angela Merkel’s time in power in Germany

Electoral politics are on the minds of Canadians and Germans alike this month. Senior Fellow Dr. Jennifer Jenkins will interview author Ralph Bollmann to discuss his recently published book – an authoritative account of Angela Merkel’s time in power in Germany.

Massey is co-hosting the event with the Goethe Institut. Join in person (refreshments to be provided) or virtually.

Ralph Bollmann's book cover on Angela Merkel

In 2005, Angela Merkel became the first woman and former citizen of the GDR to occupy the chancellor’s office. The “Kohl’s girl,” the minister and secretary general of the CDU, became the most popular German politician and one of the most powerful women in the world. In his essential biography, Ralph Bollmann traces Merkel’s life and tells the story of her chancellorship with critical sympathy, which was to place enormous demands on her, from the financial crisis to the refugee crisis to the Covid 19 pandemic. His brilliantly written book shows us an extraordinary woman at the center of power, whose policies decisively shaped an entire age.

During Angela Merkel’s reign, certainties began to dissolve. The familiar world order of the postwar period disappeared, and a new uncertainty took its place, most recently in the Corona Crisis even reaching into people’s everyday lives. Thanks to her experience of the systemic breakdown of 1989/90, the East German politician was better prepared for this than many of her colleagues. She became so popular not least because she consistently kept all impositions away from Germans who were reluctant to change. But this harmony ended with the refugee debate. Merkel could no longer and would no longer shield Germany from the course of the world and polarized herself in the conflict between national defensiveness and cosmopolitanism. Ralph Bollmann’s biography is not only a captivating read, but also an impressive history of Germany and Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

If this event has sold out, please click the button below to complete a waitlist request.


Sep 21 2021


9:30 am - 10:30 am


  • Dr. Jennifer Jenkins
    Senior Fellow, Associate Professor of German and European history
    Jennifer L. Jenkins is Associate Professor of German and European history at the University of Toronto, where she held a Canada Research Chair in Modern German History. She is the author of Provincial Modernity: Local Culture and Liberal Politics in Fin-de-Siècle Hamburg (Cornell University Press, 2003) and the co-editor, with Geoff Eley and Tracie Matysik, of German Modernities from Wilhelm to Weimar: The Contest of Futures (London: Bloomsbury, 2016). She is finishing The Persian Question: Germany and Iran in the Age of Empire on German diplomacy in the Middle East before 1914. She writes on German domestic politics and foreign policy, on orientalism, Islamophobia and archaeology. She had held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard University, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She was an Associate at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin (2017-2018) and a Senior Associate Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University (2013-2014). In December 2019 she was an Eva and Victor Klemperer Fellow at the TU Dresden. She has been a Senior Fellow at Massey College since 2008 and is a member of its Governing Board. Dr. Jenkins has written on Angela Merkel for Open Canada and has appeared numerous times on both CTV and CBC news as a commentator on German politics. She was an invited participant in the upcoming documentary on Angela Merkel in the PBS series “In Their Own Words,” which is scheduled to air on North American public television in October 2021.
  • Ralph Bollmann
    Ralph Bollmann
    Ralph Bollmann studied history, politics and public law in Tübingen, Bologna and at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He has written for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit and the tageszeitung (taz). Since 2011, he has been the economic policy correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in Berlin. In 2013, with his book Die Deutsche: Angela Merkel und wir, Bollmann became an internationally sought-after expert on the person and politics of the German chancellor and his recently published book only furthers that reputation.​

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