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08.02.2006 General News

German Embassy in Accra mourns Johannes Rau


Accra, Feb 8, GNA - Staff of the German Embassy in Accra on Tuesday were joined by other nationals from all walks of life to mourn the death of former President Johannes Rau.

Described as Germany's most popular former Federal President, died on Friday.

He served as President from July 1, 1999 until June 30, 2004. According to a statement issued by the Embassy in Accra, said, "The 75-year-old underwent two operations, from which he never fully recovered".

A devout Christian known affectionately as Brother Johannes, he would be remembered for trying to make Germany, which was deeply traumatized by its Nazi past, to be a more tolerant nation respected on the world stage.

Mr Rau was one of the Social Democratic Party's leading lights and dedicated nearly 50 years as a public and political leader. For more than two decades he served as the Premier of Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, before becoming the country's eighth President.

During his five years in office, Rau won the respect of a large majority of his countrymen when he made himself the moral and ethical voice of the country in times of heated political discussion.

Born on January 16, 1931 in Wuppertal-Barmen, the son of a preacher, his first job was in 1954 in a theological publishing house and eventually became head of the company before entering politics. A committed politician, Rau did not marry until the age of 51, in 1984, taking the hand of Christina Delius, a granddaughter of former West German President Gustav Heinemann and had three children. In February 2000, he delivered a historic apology to the Israeli parliament for Nazi crimes and was a frequent critic of human rights violations around the world, famously taking Chinese leaders to task on a state visit in 2003.

"The goal of my political career is to make human beings' lives in the course of their years a bit more humane," he once said. Rau was succeeded as president by the former head of the International Monetary Fund, Horst Kohler on June 30, 2004. The official ceremony is to take place on February 7, 2006 in Berlin Biography 1931

Born on 16 January in Wuppertal-Barmen 1949-1967

Worked in the publishing trade 1952 Joined the All-German People's Party (Gesamtdeutsche Volkspartei - GVP), which was disbanded in 1957 1957 Joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 1964-1978 Member of Wuppertal Town Council 1970-1978 Minister of Science and Research of Land North-Rhine/Westphalia 1973-1998 Member of the SPD Executive Committee of Land North-Rhine/Westphalia 1977-1998 Chairman of the SPD Executive Committee of Land North-Rhine /Westphalia 1978-1999 Member of the SPD Federal Executive Committee 1978-1998 Minister-President of Land North-Rhine/Westphalia 1982-1983 President of the Bundesrat 1982-1999 Deputy Chairman of the SPD 1987 SPD Chancellor candidate at the Bundestag elections 1994-1995 President of the Bundesrat 23 May 1994 Defeated in the election for the office of Federal President by Professor Roman Herzog

27 May 1998 Resigned as Minister-President

2 November 1998 Nominated as candidate for the office of Federal President by the SPD Federal Executive Committee

23 May 1999 Elected as Federal President by the Federal Convention in Berlin 1999-2004 Federal President

Johannes Rau is Protestant. He has been married to Christina Delius since 1982 and has three children. 27 January 2006 Johannes Rau passes away