Roman Herzog was born in Landshut, Bavaria, Nazi Germany on 5 April 1934 to a Protestant family, and he completed his doctoral studies in Munich in 1958 to become an educator. He worked as a professor in Munich and Berlin until 1973, when he became involved in politics as a representatie of the Rhineland-Palatinate in the government of West Germany as a member of the Christian Democratic Union. In 1978, he was appointed State Minister for Culture and Sports in Baden-Wurttemberg, and he became a well-known Christian activist. In 1993, Chancellor Helmut Kohl named Herzog as the CDU party's candidate for the 1994 election, and he won the support of the Free Democratic Party of Germany in the third round of voting, allowing for him to win the presidency.
As president, he apologized for the quelling of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and took part in the 50th anniversary remembrance of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1995, and he named "27 January" (the date of the discovery) as Holocaust Remembrance Day in Germany. In 1997, he claimed that Germany was falling behind in economic development, and he moved his office from Bonn to Berlin in 1998, redesignating Berlin as the capital of Germany. He did not seek re-election in 1999, and Johannes Rau replaced him as president. Herzog remained politically active post-presidency, arguing that a ban on embryonic stem cell research would be too excessive, and he also supported social welfare reform. He died in January 2017 at the age of 82.