Unifier of Germany, integrator of Europe, Helmut Kohl dead (Lead, Changing dateline)

Helmut Kohl the former German chancellor credited with forging the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 has died at age 87

He was the leader of the Christian Democratic Union Party, and he has the honor of the long-lasting time period of 16 years after the Otto Von Bismarck.

Helmut Kohl died on Friday at the age of 87, having served as Chancellor from 1982 to 1998.

The second transformation was the introduction of the Deustche mark into East Germany in July 1990.

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has passed away.

"Helmut Kohl's efforts brought about the two greatest achievements in German politics of recent decades - German reunification and European unity", she said.

Born on April 3, 1930, in Ludwigshafen, a western industrial city on the Rhine, Kohl joined the Hitler Youth but missed service in the Nazi army.

Kohl was helped in securing German unity by his friendships with French President Francois Mitterrand and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who approved North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership for a united Germany and agreed to pull Soviet troops out of East Germany. As a 15-year-old, he was about to be pressed into service in an anti-aircraft gun unit when the war ended.

"When a new spirit began to stir in eastern Europe in the 1980s, when, starting in Poland freedom was seized, when fearless people in Leipzig, East Berlin and elsewhere in East Germany began a peaceful revolution, then Helmut Kohl was the right man at the right time", added Merkel, wearing black.

Kohl's legacy includes the common euro currency that bound Europe more closely together than ever before.

"Helmut Kohl filled the European house with life - not only because he built bridges to the west as well as to the east, but also because he never ceased to design even better blueprints for the future of Europe", Juncker said.

On Saturday, the daily Tageszeitung's headline was "Blooming Landscapes", an allusion to Kohl's promise of an economically flourishing eastern Germany, over a picture of wreaths.

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