West Germans don’t believe in Merkel’s childhood because they think it’s too much like a fairytale. She grew up in a small town East Germany. Her father was a pastor. They lived in a complex of residential and farm buildings called the Waldhof – that alone makes West Germans think her story is straight out of the Grimms: Waldhof means “courtyard of the forest”. It was populated by curates and pastors, who came there for seminars, and by people with mental disabilities, who worked the vegetable garden, the forge, and worked at crafts. A utopia, of sorts. Just outside her town there was the reality West Germans recognise: a Soviet garrison, the second largest Soviet military base outside the USSR, but all Merkel’s childhood memories “are of security and intimacy”.