Where is Germany now and where does it want to go? It's a question being asked by our partners and allies abroad. We have to return - urgently - to our old dependability. We have to make clear for others what we stand for, where we're headed, and that we know where we belong.
As a child, I personally didn't really get to know any Jews. I was eight years old when the Night of Broken Glass happened. And Ludwigshafen was purely a workers' city, so we didn't have a very big Jewish community. What I did know about the Jews, I heard from my mother. My mother was very much pro-Jewish.
Europe has, to put it mildly, been in a poor state since the transition to the 21st century. This is down to national issues, European missteps, and an economic and financial crisis that crashed down on us with enough force to dislodge the essential European idea.
Gorbachev's legacy is that he called time on communism, partially against his will, but in fact, he finished it off. Without violence. Without bloodshed. Beyond that, I am struggling to think of much else in terms of real legacy.
Isolated decisions, however well-founded they might seem to the individual, and national go-it-alone moves must belong to the past. They should not be the 21st-century method of choice, particularly because the consequences of the European community's actions must often be carried collectively.
If a Chancellor is trying to push something through, he must be a man of power. And if he's smart, he knows when the time is ripe. In one case - the euro - I was like a dictator... The euro is a synonym for Europe.
Political life is like this - elections go back and forth. Representative democracy can only be successful if one sits down and says, 'That's it. I will connect myself,' - as I did - 'connect my existence to a political project.' Then you automatically have in your party a lot of people who say, 'If that fails, so do I'.
People in Tel Aviv can not imagine, but in 1990, here in Leipzig or Dresden, whoever wanted to buy a car had to wait 14 years. The East Germans worked like people in the West, but the fruits of their labor were harvested by a criminal regime.
As a German, in view of the history of World War II and the terrible deeds of the Nazi period, I feel a special obligation to help as much as I can to develop European-Israeli relations and thus contribute to ensuring Israel's future and existence.
We all need Europe, not just those of us in Europe. And we Germans need Europe more than the others. Germany is the country with the longest border, the most neighbours, and is, by population and economic strength, the number one in Europe.