Angela Kasner, at age one and a half.
Angela Kasner, at age one and a half.Ossenbrink Media/Sygma/Corbis
Angela Kasner, at age one and a half.
Angela Kasner as a child with a stroller.
Angela Kasner at age 3.
Angela Kasner prepares a meal on a campfire while camping with friends in Himmelpfort, German Democratic Republic in July 1973.
Angela Kasner plays volleyball during a school outing in Wandlitz near Berlin in 1972.
Angela Kasner (center, second row) in a class photo from 1971 of the 10th class of the Advanced High School (EOS) in Templin, Germany.
Angela Kasner with friends at a party on New Year's Eve in 1972.
Angela Kasner dances with a young man at a New Year's Eve party in Berlin in 1972.
Angela Kasner with a friend at a New Year's Eve party in Berlin in 1972.
Angela Kasner, at age one and a half.
Ossenbrink Media/Sygma/Corbis
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See Vintage Photos of a Young Angela Merkel

Dec 09, 2015

Born Angela Kasner (Merkel is the name of her first husband) in West Germany in 1954, her father, an official in the Lutheran Church, moved the family to socialist East Germany just a few weeks after her birth—an unusual move, since most Germans who could were fleeing toward the freedom of West Germany. Merkel was the oldest of three children, and grew up on the outskirts of Templin, a small town near the Brandenburg forest. She had an early interest in politics—at fourteen, she secretly listened to radio broadcasts from West German elections—but pursued science instead, getting a degree in physics and then a doctorate in quantum chemistry. Her East German upbringing, tendency toward caution and scientific training may have shaped her leadership approach as the most powerful woman in Europe.

Read More: TIME's 2015 Person of the Year Is Angela Merkel

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