70 YEARS OF GAMC
Friday, 08 January 2017
70 Years German-American Men's Club Munich e.V.
Text Prof. Dr. Dieter Anselm
Fotos Hans-Georg Augustinowski and Mike Pilewski
Anniversary Celebration at the Westin Grand Hotel Munich on September 8, 2017
When the Vice President of the German-American Men’s Club (DAHC) Hans-Georg Augustinowski as emcee asked the members and guests at the Westin Grand Hotel ballroom to rise for the national anthems of the United States of American and Germany, the moment had come: the celebration of the 70th anniversary had begun. 150 ladies and gentlemen in evening dress / black tie had gathered to celebrate the occasion in a befitting manner. Uli Dornseifer, the current President of the Club, welcomed everybody present and, by name the guests of honor. In his review he brought up the highlights in the Club life of the last 70 years. He formed an arc from the oldest member present, Alfred Stejskal, who joined the Club in 1950, being able to look back at 67 years of Club life, to the American exchange student Alexandra Challenger from Florida, who was also present. He opined that as a “patchwork family” the Club is really something special.
The U.S. Consul General, Ms. Jennifer Gavito, in her laudation, recognized the good work of the DAHC in the past 70 years. A former exchange student, Ms. Gavito, delivering her address in German, accentuated the friendship between Germany and the United States. International connections fostered by youth and student exchange give young people a perspective. From 1957 onwards, 2500 supported exchanges produced emissaries and carriers of goodwill in the USA and, vice versa, in Germany, thus contributing to international understanding. By their year-long sojourn in a country that is foreign to them, they get acquainted with a different culture and a different way of life.
The President of the Federation of German-American Clubs in Germany, Sigrid Behnke-Dewath congenially pointed out in her greetings that “German-American understanding is set from head to toe towards friendship. We are united in the belief that a free and democratic public order is right for us. In a globalized world we do not only have the same moral concept but also the same problems which can only be solved together”. She emphasized that it was Lucius D. Clay, by his political approach in post-war Germany, who made the friendship between our two peoples possible.
City Councilor Dr. Evelyne Menges, herself a member of the German-American Women’s Club Munich, appreciated the voluntary commitment of the DAHC. In her witty speech she not only commemorated two great American Presidents, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan with their storied slogans “Ich bin ein Berliner” and “Mr. Gorbatschow, tear down this wall!” but also pointed to the partnership of the cities of Cincinnati and Munich. She wound up her speech with the words: “We are friends and we stay friends.”
Markus Blume, Deputy Secretary General of the CSU, gave his speech as member of the Atlantik-Brücke. He particularly stressed the values of the West in his speech. Democracy, freedom and prosperity are the keystones of our society. They were literally implanted into us by the Americans in post-war Germany and they are still valid to this day. However, they have to be lived by and revived again and again. The German-American partnership developed into a highly valued friendship. The Federal Republic is and remains solidly anchored in the Western World.