Merkel did not make a mistake in showing compassion and opening the borders to those who were fleeing from war and danger: most German families would have done the same. Merkel’s great mistake was she abandoned her primary responsibility of caring for her people first.
Once this error was made she had no choice but to circle the wagons and make everyone co-complicit (press, police, politicians) in a nationwide cover-up that was meant solely to mask the decade of danger she had introduced. I was there at the height of this crisis; saw the immigrant streams up close and personal; and watched a highly organized plan of deception come directly from the Chancellery. Even the church was co-complicit; assuring families, and encouraging them to open their doors to take in migrants, because “these people are just like us.” In many cases, tragically they weren’t.
Merkel’s migrants were not going to be deported, not going to be accurately charged with crimes, nor were they going to be forced to assimilate as good German speakers, becoming technologically useful to an existing German engineering society. Her legacy will not be a lack of compassion or even common sense. Her legacy is that for a brief moment she forgot her overarching priority, from God, was not for all people, but a specific and particular people, first and foremost.
Now, a decade long mess to clean up; and a German people no less free from identity confusion after 2015 than before. An opportunity wasted. She could have grasped the moral high ground and still brought the nation along with her.