German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder confirmed on Wednesday that he and his wife Doris had adopted a child, but gave no details and urged media to respect his privacy.
For the second day running top-selling daily Bild, arguably the country’s most influential newspaper, dedicated its front page and large parts inside to the story of 3-year-old Victoria from Russia finding a new home with the Schroeders in Hanover.
“I can confirm we have adopted a child,” Schroeder told reporters at a briefing after his summer vacation. “I am quite certain that you understand that I do not want to elaborate.”
Schroeder, 60, has no children himself and would have trouble adopting a child in Germany because of his age. His fourth wife Doris Schroeder-Koepf, 41, has a 13-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.
Schroeder’s wife has been involved in a charity that cares for young people in St. Petersburg, where Bild said the couple had adopted Victoria from a children’s home.
Bild, Germany’s best-selling newspaper, carried the story of the adoption on its front page on Tuesday, describing it as “the most moving story of the year.”
For Schroeder it provides respite from a public relations debacle over his welfare reforms, which have caused weeks of negative headlines amid confusion about the impact of jobless benefit cuts coming into force next January.
Last Friday, Schroeder made headlines when he paid his first visit to the grave of his soldier father in a small Romanian village.
Schroeder never knew his father Fritz who was killed in 1944 as the Soviet Red Army advanced on German positions towards the end of World War Two.