If you’ve been following us over the past couple of days you’ll know that South Korea has gone mad about photos purporting to be Angela Merkel nude, with over 16,000 page views from S.Korea alone yesterday.
The Huffington Post reported these same photos in 2013, and says they’ve been doing the rounds since 2009. It’s fairly clear that they’re a hoax, an April Fool’s joke, according to some.
What’s less likely to be a hoax is the following photograph.
From 1972, it shows a then 17 year old Angela Kasner taking part in a civil defence exercise under the watchful eye of an East German officer.
This photograph surfaced a couple of years ago and apparently did not meet with the approval of the German chancellor, who has always denied links to East Germany’s communist past.
Personally, I don’t see this photograph as anything ominous. To be able to attend university, it was necessary to be part of these exercises, regardless of one’s personal ideologies, so there’s nothing particularly sinister about this, bearing the time and the divisions in eastern Europe.
What I’ve said before, and maintain now, is that -also within the time and the ideologies involved- I’d be wholly surprised if Mrs. Merkel hadn’t observed or participated in naturism as a part of normal, everyday life. Prior to the Berlin Wall and the communist bloc collapsing in 1989, east Germans were strong advocates of naturism.
After the war, naturism didn’t gain popularity in the capitalist west as it did in East Germany, where it took on more social significance. By the 1960s, it had become a mass movement, said historian Hans Bergemann, who in 2000 organized a touring exhibition in Germany on the FKK movement.
“FKK became so popular that in principle no one noticed whether people were naked or dressed*,” Weinreich said of people’s casual attitude toward nudists.
With this mindset, can we really believe that the Chancellor never participated in naturism in her youth? I find that hard to believe.
One thing I would say is that if real photos ever were to surface of her participating in the naturist lifestyle, it would be an enormous fillip to the lifestyle not just in Germany, but right across Europe. Furthermore, I believe those photographs would be a enormous boost to Mrs. Merkel’s personal popularity. If such photos exist, there’s currently no evidence of them likely to appear. Naturism, it seems, is rather more of a skeleton in the cupboard of public figures than the political taboo of the past couple of decades: ‘I smoked a joint but didn’t inhale’.
(above: the young Angela Kasner)
Angela Kasner camping at Himmelpfort, 1973. Yes, there are facilities for naturism at Himmelpfort (although this is true for many locations in Germany)
*in naturism, this remains true, even now.