Actor: Ulrich Matisse honored with the Cross of Merit – Culture

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (left) next to award winner Ulrich Mattis. Photo: Britta Pedersen / dpa


Actor Ulrich Matthes was awarded the Order of Merit at Bellevue Palace. As Mattis talks about his tension, his democracy and his war of aggression in Ukraine, the former chancellor sits in the front row.

BERLIN – For years, photos of Angela Merkel have been so normal that you can almost ignore them when reading the news. Everyday life.

But things have changed since the fall – the appearance of the former chancellor has become a rarity. On Tuesday she came to Bellevue Palace in Berlin, where actor Ulrich Matisse was awarded the Federal Order of Merit. Some know him from the theater and many from television.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised him as a committed citizen and a wonderful actor. Steinmeier talked about Thomas Bernhard’s “Der Theatremacher”, about his acting career – and about meatballs. Because, he said, they were in the canteen of the German theater when they met there.

Merkel also watched Mattis there on stage. The 62-year-old once described her as an avid theatergoer. “You ask then about the details of the theater or the fun details and think out loud what just happened,” he wrote in the anthology “The High Art of Politics. The Angela Merkel Era.”

On Tuesday, Merkel sat quietly next to other guests in the front row. Mattis said in his acceptance speech that he “was very moved, and I’m embarrassed and nervous anyway.” When in the winter he received news of his award, he was very happy. However, this prediction was overshadowed by an aggressive war of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. “The news and photos are doing something for all of us,” Mattis said. “It’s a war in Europe and it’s horrific.”



Russia attacked Ukraine in February, and millions of people have since fled. Questions about Merkel’s reign have also surfaced since then. The CDU politician held the position of chancellor from 2005 to 2021. Recently, there were also discussions about Steinmeier’s planned visit to Kyiv – he already wanted to go there in April, but was refused in a short time.

Mattis finally made a plea for social commitment in a few minutes. Democracy is a fragile structure. Politicians have to work on it at scale and “each of us” have to work on their own little microcosm to keep it alive. He described his job as a privilege — exploring the abyss in a game, for example, but also “all our splendor, all our ability to imagine, to empathize.”

Matisse belongs to the troupe of the German Theater in Berlin. But he is always in front of the camera. Recently, he was seen in the thriller “Munich – Facing War” on Netflix. He served as President of the German Film Academy for three years.

He wrote in the anthology during the years that he and Merkel arranged to meet occasionally outside the German theater. He remembers a restaurant appointment in January 2020. “As soon as I greeted her, she said, ‘Well, you look a little gray, aren’t you all right?’” His mental state was a bit shaky at the time and it took the first three-quarters of an hour to talk about it.

Merkel did not say anything official during Tuesday’s ceremony. I smiled at the group photo. This time she did not make a diamond with her own hands. The cameras clicked. “Good,” Steinmeier said at one point and the guests pulled out behind closed doors. A new photo of Angela Merkel has emerged as of at least Tuesday.

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