German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the harvest festival in Germany's Lauterbach on September 23. Photograph:( Reuters )
By Padma Rao Sundarji, Sr Foreign Editor, WION
Many details of the life of German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been in the public domain for years. That she belongs to the Uckermark -- a region in Germany's Brandenburg which was formerly the German Democratic Republic or East Germany -- but was born in the west German harbour town Hamburg. We also know that she graduated in physics and worked as a research scientist before she entered politics.
Today, she is known as the most powerful woman in the world. Angela Merkel is slated to win a record fourth term and remains -- a likeable, humble personality endowed with sharp political prowess.
WION's Padma Rao Sundarji compiles some not so well-known facts and some of the Powerfrau’s softer sides.
The Legend of Paul and Paula, a 1973 German movie in which the heroine dies, leaving behind her lover and three children, is her favourite film.
She is partly of Polish descent -- her maiden name was Angela Kazmierczak -- which, after the family moved to Germany, became Kasner.
She bought her first Beatles record in Moscow, lived in a crumbling apartment in communist East Berlin and even had a job as a barwoman in a discotheque.
Six books including one titled “50 Shades of Angela Merkel” have attempted - not very successfully - to unveil her fiercely guarded private life and earlier one as an East German.
Angela Merkel is a member of the Communist Youth Movement, during which she is said to have been in charge of propaganda at an academy of sciences.
Italy is a favourite holiday destination and she vacationed there recently with her grandchildren.
The "Iron Chancellor" is known to possess mean baking skills: her plum cake, meatloaf and potato soup are renowned for their perfection.
She goes shopping for groceries herself whenever she can, even queuing up at check-out counters.
The Chancellor is frightened of dogs since she suffered a dog-bite in the mid-Nineties.
She was originally married to a fellow student of physics, Ulrich Merkel. The couple divorced in 1983. A year later, she married Joachim Sauer, a notoriously shy theoretical chemist. The couple have two sons from Mr Sauer's earlier marriage.
Chancellor Merkel's characteristic steepling of her hands, known as the "Merkel-Raute is seen on many pictures. It even has its own emoticon.
It may have started as a dig by her political opponents but the term ‘’Mutti” (mummy) is often used affectionately by Germans when they speak of their Chancellor.