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History of the German - American Women's Club

In 1945, after 6 years of devastating war, it was time to move on and try to get the people who had been enemies together again. At that time, the American non-fraternization policy made this goal impossible. Gradually the regulations were relaxed and German-American discussion groups sprang up in various towns. German and American women helped with the organization of GYA (German Youth Activities) and worked together on the Youth Committee. They were active in procuring money and materials for lessons in handicrafts as well as arranging holiday camps for the young Germans.

These first informal meetings may well be considered as the beginning of the club whose formal founding took place on October 1, 1948. It was of particular significance as Heidelberg was the headquarters of the military command in Europe.

In post-war Germany, there was much hardship and poverty so the club decided that some kind of money-making project was necessary to help alleviate some of the misery. For a number of years, the club held a Christmas Bazaar in the Heidelberg Stadthalle, organized the renting of floor space for the various vendors and our club received a percentage of their takings. Americans were our primary customers and of course the money went to charity.

Gradually this idea lost its attraction and we had to consider new ways of making money. Mrs. Gladys Fischer, one of our GAWC Heidelberg founding members as well as frequent past president, changed this idea completely by bringing up the idea of a sort of ''rummage sale'' to raise funds.

From this idea, emerged the Penny Bazaar, the first of which took place in the town hall of Heidelberg on April 11 and 12, 1960. Today the Bazaar has become an annual institution in Heidelberg. The funds raised still go towards supporting both German and American charities.

Brochure for the 60th Club Anniversary (in pdf format)