The German Embassy in Washington declined to comment Monday on a nude photograph that some online have claimed depict a younger Chancellor Angela Merkel, while the nudist blogger who first posted the image said he does not believe it is Merkel.
The black-and-white image depicts three young women at a beach; a series of European news outlets have suggested that Merkel is the woman on the far left.
The image appears to have been posted online in 2009 on a nudist lifestyle blog called "Nudiarist," although the picture it circulated in recent days on Reddit and in various publications, including Digital Journal and the Spanish Vanity Fair. "Nudiarist" is protected, but the man who runs the blog, Chet Kresiak, confirmed in an email that the photo appeared on his website in a November 11, 2009 post.
Kresiak said he believes the photograph appeared originally in a Swedish nudist magazine called HELIOS that published in the 1950s and 1960s. Although he was unable to identify the issue that published the picture, it's his opinion that the woman it depicts is not Angela Merkel.
"She was born in 1954," he wrote in an email to BuzzFeed. "This appears to be an April Fool's joke."
(Images from the post in question appear to have been archived on a Romanian blog called "Good Naked.")
People who believe the photograph does depict Merkel point to the "Freikörperkultur" or "Free Body Culture" movement, which encouraged public nudity as a way to embrace nature and was a popular form of rebellion among her generation of East Germans.
Karl-Matthias Klause, the spokesman for the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. responded to an inquiry about the image: "I am sorry but we do not have any comments."