Coronavirus

Merkel’s Husband Calls German No-Vaxxers “Lazy” And “Irrational”

The unusual public remarks by Germany's First Husband comes as the country faces a new wave of COVID-19 infections and trails European neighbors in vaccination rates.

A sheet at a protest that says VAXXED

An anti-Vaxx protest in Munich

Irene Caselli

TURIN — As Germany faces a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Angela Merkel has warned of a "highly dramatic" situation "that will surpass anything we have had before."

The sense of urgency of the German leader, who remains the country's Chancellor for a few more weeks, is apparently shared at home: In highly unusual public remarks, Merkel's husband, the acclaimed scientist Joachim Sauer, has lashed out at his fellow Germans who have refused to get vaccinated.

"It disturbs me greatly, more than anything else, that one-third of the German population are not open to the successes of science," he said in an interview published Tuesday in Italian daily La Stampa.


Having avoided the limelight for the past 15 years — he watched his wife's inauguration in 2005 on TV — Sauer has continued his work as a professor of physical and theoretical chemistry; and was in Italy for his appointment to the prestigious Turin Academy of Sciences.

Joachim Sauer, Merkel's husband, is a renowned chemist

Medium cose up of Joachim Sauer in a suit

Joachim Sauer, 72, has been married to Merkel since 1998

es.m.wikipedia.org

An imaginary "dictatorship"

When asked why he thought that Germans didn't want to get vaccinated, he said: "A small portion are lazy and indolent, too comfortable. Then there are those who don't do it because of ideology, for irrational reasons: as if a dictatorship were trying to demolish our free will."

Sauer also praised Italy's performance vis-a-vis the pandemic, saying that the stark images of death from the first wave may have motivated people. "In the United States there were governors of states that have denied COVID. This did not happen with us, we did not have a Bolsonaro, and yet we are in the same situation."

Germany is behind other EU states in the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, with only 67% of the total population now fully vaccinated, compared to 81% in Portugal, 74% in Spain and 72% in Italy. It is still ahead of the average EU vaccine rate thanks also to countries with very low rates such as Bulgaria (24%) and Romania (35%).

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

The Barber Of Amsterdam? Dutch Culture Sector's Hair-Razing COVID Protest

Theaters, museums and cinemas welcomed "essential services" on their stage floors to make a point about the industry's struggles during the latest COVID lockdown.

Theater Hairdresser a peaceful protest against Netherlands' continued nationwide lockdown in the arts sector

It’s an unusual sight even in these unusual times: in the Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam's prestigious concert hall, a man sits on stage getting his hair cut. Behind him, an orchestra plays Charles Ives' Symphony no. 2. In front of him, dozens of people are watching — both the orchestra, and to see when it's their turn for the next haircut.

Keep reading... Show less
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ