Europe How an activist who helped transform postwar Germany views its newest challenges

Gesine Schwan ran for president of Germany, led the German-Polish Viadrina University, and  is one of the few remaining political activists of the generation whose lifespan parallels that of democratic Germany. Now, she keeps a keen eye on the crises that have blown up in both the European Union and Germany.

Tobias Schwarz/Reuters/FILE

In American terms, you might best think of Gesine Schwan as a German Eleanor Roosevelt.