“The Driven”, ARD: How Imogen Kogge turned into Angela Merkel

“I got a hiccup. I was not surprised that I was asked. But I wasn’t really sure whether I should do that. ”We’re talking about Imogen Kogge, 63, a Berlin actress who shone in the ensemble of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg as well as from 1985 to 1997 at the Berlin Schaubühne, later in Bochum and Dusseldorf.

For eight years she was chief inspector Johanna Herz in the ARD “police call”. Kogge shot under Andreas Dresen and Hans-Christian Schmid, but this time there was no casting, just the call to her agency whether she wanted to play Angela Merkel.


“The Driven” on ARD: A complex documentary drama

EIt could also have been a “dawn of the gods”. The downfall of a politician. Beginning of the end. And we keep hearing an exciting Ostinato motif, which is no coincidence that it resembles the stormy beginning of the “Valkyrie”.

Incidentally, the only authentic filming location in these two TV hours is the Bayreuth Festival Hall with its attached restaurant. And on the stage, we are in the summer of 2015, correctly given Richard Wagner’s “Tristan and Isolde” in the bitter, emotionally staged production of great granddaughter Katharina. But Angela Merkel, who loves opera and Wagner’s musical drama in particular, and her Christian partner Horst Seehofer, who come together in a verbally foaming manner, are certainly not lovers.

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Lively calls before September 13, 2015: Angela Merkel agrees with her ministers Peter Altmaier, Sigmar Gabriel, Thomas de Maizière and Frank-Walter Steinmeier as well as with Bavaria's Prime Minister Horst Seehofer to check the border again and to contain the influx

“The Driven” – template for the ARD film

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With the conclusion of the EU-Turkey deal, the problems for Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) in the refugee crisis were far from over. This was mainly ensured by CSU boss Horst Seehofer (right), but also by the then SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel

However, the Chancellor has long survived the Bavarian Prime Minister. Five years later she is still sitting on the armchair, but in Munich the lion Markus Söder roars, who is warming up here. And in real Berlin, of course, there is currently government in crisis mode again. With a white and blue Prime Minister Söder, who has gone through an astonishing evolution since then.

Finance minister Schäuble is played by Rüdiger Vogler

Finance minister Schäuble is played by Rüdiger Vogler

Source: rbb / carte blanche / Volker Roloff

Corona is governed at a distance and much more moderately than the hectic, breathless, but skillfully distributed political mosaic over the split screen as a chronicle of the current events of the escalation of the refugee crisis in 2015, which Robin Alexander researched and published in 2017 in the bestseller “Die Driven “prepared. In 2019, the book by the deputy editor-in-chief of WELT had become a screenplay by Florian Oeller, and on April 15 this “Report from the Inside of Power” will be broadcast on ARD.

It has become an impressively complex documentary drama that swings from Berlin to Brussels, Munich, the Altmühl valley, the competitive Heidenau reception location to Vienna and Budapest, which will surely have happened in many moments. With many of the best German drama, from Rüdiger Vogler to Sepp Bierbichler to Wolfgang Pregler, with Messrs. Bierbichler as Horst Seehofer and Vogler as Schwäbelenden Wolfgang Schäuble being far too strong in personality to play bad political actors as good actors. The Bierbichler-Horst is much more grandiose than the original.

Angela Merkel, who has already been played by Iris Berben and Katharina Thalbach, is far better balanced with Imogen Kogge. The former Schaubühnen actress and “police call” commissioner slips into a role, but is so translucent, reserved and yet strong that you can easily short-circuit her with the real Angela Merkel, but never forget the actor. A tightrope walk that gets better and better the longer the film jumps and meanders in these hastily ticked off months. To do this, she does not have to use the well-known Merkel trademarks from her hairstyle, jacket, chain, gear. Of course, they unobtrusively set the frame.

Sometimes she doesn’t seem to do anything, and then there is a lot of Angela, not Imogen Merkel: “The scene where she hugs the refugee child in Rostock during this encounter was difficult,” says Imogen Kogge. “This is documented in detail in picture and sound, but one should not reproduce the verifiable, go into the trap of the copy.” At that time Angela Merkel was accused of lacking empathy, two months later she opened the German borders to all those who worked on the Budapest The station was very deliberately kept in check by the Hungarian security forces in inhumane conditions until they moved on the highway.

Private matters will be invented

On the other hand, the film can and must find something private, invent the ambience. Where the book remains factual, facts are prepared, the film dramaturgy, which is often emotive and emotionally demanding, also requires a Thomas de Maizière feverishly shaken in bed, Peter Altmaier (Tristan Seith) as a stoic long-time mamper, Seehofer and Merkel at home drinking beer in front of the TV screen.

In the end, Uwe Preuss, the otherwise silent chancellor’s husband, Joachim Sauer, who is now able to express the unease at Merkel’s present postulate “We can do it” in the people’s home on the couch, was also a success.

Chancellor-in-Office Peter Altmaier (Tristan Seith, right) confronts Federal Interior Minister de Maizière (Wolfgang Pregler) with an error by the BAMF

Chancellor Peter Altmaier (Tristan Seith, right) confronts Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière (Wolfgang Pregler) with a mistake made by the BAMF

Source: rbb / carte blanche / Volker Roloff

What makes the TV chancellor tearful at least once. Did she really become that? We do not know, that’s what makes the strange tension in this condensed TV editing. But in any case, however stricken: Angela Merkel still rules and reacts. Probably because she always sits everything out, remains silent and then makes an analytical, scientific and sober decision. This also shows – once again – this film.

At first Imogen Kogge had doubts: “I thought I could only fail, not overdraw and at the same time not disappear behind Angela Merkel. But then I thought I wasn’t up to her, but at least I try. The self-confidence that it could be something, this appointment is needed, even if there may be a nervous breakdown afterwards. ”It doesn’t need it, the cog is sovereign.

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Timothy Garton Ash's research focus is the contemporary history of Europe since 1945

“The Driven” is not “House of Cards”, but this summer 2015 the usual coalition negotiations will be tougher and more Machiavellian, although not even Merkel Nemesis, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Radu Banzaru), will really come up in Shakespeare-like villain format .

Of course, it is fueled on one side by Horst Seehofer, who is in turn driven by Söder’s hoofed hooves, and on the other by government partner SPD with the possible chancellor candidate and Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel (Timo Dierkes) and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Walter Sittler ), who of course all cook their own party-political soup; including the alleged patriots from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. At the beginning of the film, the chancellor only averted Greece’s financial failure and the EU crisis.

Is “The Driven” Still Relevant? Naturally. We are away from 2015, but it is still close. It shows us better where we are now that the refugee movement and the war in Syria are still not over, even if, for example, the strengthening of the AfD as a result of this cannot yet play a role.

This is also possible because the game scenes are very successfully embedded in the authentic images of the Syrian war, the riots in Heidenau, the masses in Budapest and at Munich Central Station, and the endless Armada for conferences of politicians’ limousines. As scriptwriter Florian Oeller repeatedly affirms on behalf of director Stephan Wagner: “We did not want to celebrate and condemn, but to make neutrality transparent as the highest requirement in the presentation of political decisions, because these 63 days in summer 2015 in particular are the origin of the present . “

And at the same time Oeller says: “We never wanted to imitate the historical models, that drifts into the grotesque, we seek the truthfulness of the personality. In contrast to the template, we have made the facts of the journalistic report accessible and dramatized, in close exchange with Robin Alexander, who has personally experienced all those involved. His report starts earlier and ends later, we have brought it to a head again: what is the essence of the story, the Merkel path from the euro crisis as a successful chancellor to the opening of the border. We no longer needed the November party conference of the CSU as a resonance room. ”

“I’m now happy again about Merkel as Chancellor”

What he needed was the extended time frame of two non-stop hours, because “the pace of the decision-making steps cannot be divided”. The script, which summarized and added so much, was well prepared, however, hardly any changes need to be made in the editing room to show what political responsibility means, for better or for worse.

And then Florian Oeller says very quietly in view of the current situation: “Right now I’m happy again about Angela Merkel as Chancellor, who wanted to sell many in this country at the end of 2015.”


Chancellor’s body: Interview with Imogen Kogge on “Die Driebenen” on ARD

“I got a hiccup. I was not surprised that I was asked. But I wasn’t really sure whether I should do that. ”We’re talking about Imogen Kogge, 63, a Berlin actress who shone in the ensemble of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg as well as from 1985 to 1997 at the Berlin Schaubühne, later in Bochum and Dusseldorf.

For eight years she was chief inspector Johanna Herz in the ARD “police call”. Kogge shot under Andreas Dresen and Hans-Christian Schmid, but this time there was no casting, just the call to her agency whether she wanted to play Angela Merkel.


The Corona time bomb is ticking in the Greek migrant camps

Athens The northeast wind drove dark clouds on Friday from the Turkish coast over the island of Lesbos. Showers fell. As always, when it rains, the trails in the Moria refugee camp turned into mud deserts. The water flushes the garbage down into the valley, seeps into the tents, soaks blankets and mattresses. “We have to act before it is too late,” says Fotini Kokkinaki from the aid organization “HumanRights360”.

For years, helpers have drawn attention to the terrible conditions in which tens of thousands of people have to live in the migrant camps on the Greek Aegean Islands. Doctors kept warning about the risk of epidemics. The fear of the corona virus is now widespread in the camps. “If the virus arrives in the crowded camps, the consequences will be devastating,” Kokkinaki warns.
Curfews, closed schools, shops and restaurants: For weeks the Greek government has been fighting against the spread of the corona virus with new bans. However, the authorities initially paid little attention to the situation in the overcrowded migrant camps. The contagion drive there is particularly great because of the large spatial confinement in which people live.

So far, according to the government’s official statement in Athens, there are no known cases of infection in the migrant camps on the islands. But that says little, because there are no systematic tests at all.

The temperature is only measured for newcomers. According to official information from the end of this week, 40 703 residents live in the five so-called hotspots, the initial reception centers on the Aegean islands of Samos, Lesbos, Leros, Chios and Kos – crammed into camps that are designed to accommodate 8896 people.


19 283 migrants live in the notorious Moria camp on Lesvos, with space for 2757 residents. Because the official warehouse built from residential containers has been overcrowded for years, an estimated 15,000 people, including many families with children, live in the adjacent olive groves. They pitched camping tents there or made slats, cardboard and plastic tarpaulins.

Experts fear that the virus has long been rampant in Moria and the other camps, even if it has not yet been detected. The Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum is trying to ban the impending danger with a twelve-point plan.

Visits to the camps

This includes bans on visits to the camps. They also apply to employees of non-governmental organizations that used to play an important role in the care of people. The freedom of movement of the camp residents is also restricted.

So far, they could move freely on the islands. Now they are only allowed to leave the camps in small groups for shopping between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., but only one person per family.

Sports events and school lessons in the camps are discontinued. The sanitary facilities and common areas should be disinfected regularly. It is also planned to set up isolation stations. But it is difficult to imagine how this should be implemented in the chaotic camps.

With multilingual leaflets and loudspeaker announcements, the camp residents are informed about the precautions they can take to reduce the risk of infection. But the recommendation to keep your distance and avoid crowds of people must sound like a mockery to the camp residents.

You cannot avoid each other. Camp Vathy on Samos was built for 648 residents, but currently houses 7264 people. There are 816 places in the camp on Kos, but 2969 residents. The camp on Chios is five times overcrowded with 5363 residents.

Experts warn of uncontrollable conditions if the virus spreads in the camps. “Given the circumstances, it would be impossible to control the outbreak of the epidemic in the hotspots – thousands of lives would be in danger,” says Antigone Lyberaki of the aid organization Solidarity Now. “There is a time window to deal with the situation, but this window closes quickly.”

Government refuses to close camps

The human rights organization Human Rights Watch appealed to the government this week to immediately evacuate the island camps. The EU Commission asked Greece to take at least particularly vulnerable people, such as the elderly, the sick and families with children, from the overcrowded camps and to place them elsewhere on the islands.

The aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which tries to provide at least minimal medical care, especially for children, in the camps on Chios, Samos and Lesbos, demands a complete eviction: “The horrific living conditions are in the crowded hotspots on the islands an ideal breeding ground for Covid-19, ”says the MSF call.

The government has so far refused to close the camps and move migrants to the mainland. The reason: The virus is already rampant on the mainland. On the other hand, migrants are safer on the islands, as there have been almost no proven infections there, except for two cases on Lesbos, outside the camp.

Another reason why the government is hesitant to evacuate: Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis faces a problem that can hardly be solved. He doesn’t know what to do with the more than 40,000 migrants on the islands.

Because the 28 migrant camps on the mainland have long been overcrowded. The planned construction of new warehouses mostly meets with strong resistance from the population and local politicians in the affected communities.

Refugees Greece

Refugee women from the Moria migrant camp in Greece sew respirators.

(Photo: AFP)

There have also been local protests in the past against the accommodation of migrants in hotels and pensions that are now empty. The fear of the epidemic is likely to further fuel the resentment against migrants that is felt in many places.

The government in Athens has been calling for redistribution of asylum seekers to other EU countries for years – to no avail. In view of the corona epidemic, there is probably even less to think about than now.

After all, there is a small ray of hope: the reluctant transfer of 1,600 unaccompanied minors from the camps for weeks could finally get going, despite Corona. EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson hopes the move can begin next week.

Seven EU countries have agreed to accept the minors, including Germany. A total of around 5500 unaccompanied migrants under the age of 18 live in Greece. According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, around 2,000 of these are on the islands.

Regardless of the corona crisis, the federal government is in favor of quickly receiving minors from the refugee camps on the Greek islands. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer stand by his promise, said ministry spokesman Steve Alter on Friday in Berlin.

Looking at the organization of the EU Commission, he said: “According to our knowledge, there is movement in there.” He could not say exactly when it will happen, but “we also see progress”.

Whether Germany will eventually accept 250 or 400 minors is still as unanswered as the question of when they will leave Greece. “The Federal Government is in intensive exchange with the European partners to ensure prompt takeovers from the Greek islands,” said the Interior Ministry.

More: Greeks flee to the islands for fear of the virus: More and more Greeks are taking refuge on one of the islands. But the townspeople are not welcome there.


Fear of spreading coronavirus in Greek refugee camps NOW

Médecins Sans Frontières relief organization is concerned that the corona virus will spread in Greek refugee camps. On Sunday it turned out that a resident of the Greek island of Lesbos, where several refugee camps are located, was infected with the COVID-19 virus.

MSF is particularly concerned about the Moria refugee camp. More than twenty thousand migrants currently live here.

Because there is actually room for three thousand people in Moria, there is a great lack of sanitary facilities and limited medical care. “All viruses and bacteria feel at home in such an environment,” says doctor Marit van Lenthe of the aid organization. “If we don’t offer those people decent living and living conditions, things will go wrong.”

MSF says it is impossible to contain the corona virus in a refugee camp like Moria and there is no emergency plan in place. Therefore, the organization calls on the authorities to immediately close Moria and to take measures as soon as possible, such as infection prevention and health education.

Last week decided MSF has yet to cease operations on the Greek island of Lesbos because the situations for aid workers are not safe there. Médecins Sans Frontières staff have been intimidated because a number of islanders are upset about the Greek government’s plan to build new refugee camps.

EU offers refugees 2,000 euros to leave Lesbos

On Thursday, the European Union announced a refugee on the Greek islands compensation of 2,000 euros if they voluntarily leave for their home country. In this way, the EU aims to improve “totally unacceptable” living conditions in the camps.

The scheme is intended for migrants who landed on a Greek island off the Turkish coast before 1 January 2020. These are mainly migrants in Samos, Lesbos and Chios.

EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson (Migration) said on Thursday that the decision was taken in consultation with the Greek government. Migrants who want to receive the compensation must report within a month.

Follow the latest developments around the virus in us live blog.

The coronavirus in short

  • The virus spreads mainly through cough and sneeze drops that hang in the air for a short time.
  • An infected person infects two to three others on average. This number can decrease with good precautions.
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  • Read here what the most important precautions are.


Coalition agrees to accept refugee children from Greece

Syrian refugee children

Germany wants to take in refugee children who have fled Syria to Greece.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The leaders of the black-red coalition have agreed to take in particularly vulnerable children and adolescents from the overcrowded refugee camps in Greece. Germany is ready to take on an “appropriate share” in a “coalition of the willing” at European level, according to a decision by the black-red coalition committee early Monday morning.

“That is why we want to support Greece in the difficult humanitarian situation of around 1,000 to 1,500 children on the Greek islands,” the paper continues. These are children who either need urgent treatment because of a serious illness or are unaccompanied and younger than 14 years old, most of them girls.

In addition to Merkel, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the party and parliamentary leaders of the CDU, CSU and SPD, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) also took part in the consultations.

“Europe must not allow Erdogan to blackmail it”

The CDU presidential candidate Friedrich Merz called in the migration dispute a hard line of the European Union towards the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “You have to influence Erdogan so that he ends his cynical game there,” said Merz on Sunday in ZDF’s “heute journal” with a view to the situation on the Greek-Turkish border. “And the European Union as a whole must do that, not just Germany.” Europe should not be blackmailed, “and Europe will not be blackmailed by Mr. Erdogan either”. The closer Europe appears, the faster the problem at the Greek-Turkish border can be solved.

Erdogan will travel to Brussels on Monday to defuse the migration dispute with the EU. Turkey declared the border to the EU open on February 29th, and thousands of migrants then set out for the EU. Greece severely rejected them.

With regard to the situation on the Greek border, Merz spoke of a “really big humanitarian task”. “We have to do everything we can to help the people there and above all the children. I’m personally very moved by these images, ”said the former leader of the Union faction.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tied further conditions for refugee aid to Turkey. The EU will not refuse to talk if there are funding gaps in humanitarian aid for refugees, Maas told the Funke media group. “But that presupposes that Turkey adheres to its part of the agreements.” The EU stands for a fair burden sharing. “But we don’t accept that people who are already in a desperate situation are also being used as political pledges.”

More: Because of the tense situation on the Greek-Turkish border, the parties to the conflict are meeting today for negotiations. The focus is on the EU-Turkey Refugee Pact.