Ceremony 50 years OWWF Bayern
"Josef Döllner, founding member of the OstWestWirtschaftsClub, was presented with "A Lion for the Lion" by OWWF President Eberhard Sinner. The white porcelain lion of the Nymphenburger Porzellanmanufaktur symbolized 50 years of support, accompaniment, support and inspiration, Sinner said.
The 50th anniversary of the OstWestWirtschaftsForum with its predecessor organisations OWWC and DOM was celebrated throughout the afternoon and evening with a top-class cast. As usual, OWWF President Eberhard Sinner eloquently led through the programme. The speech was delivered by the former Bavarian Prime Minister Dr. Günter Beckstein, greetings were given by the host of the city of Weiden, Lord Mayor Kurt Seggewiß, and by the Czech Consul Mgr. Jan Kreuter. OWWF Managing Director Hermann Pönisch took the audience on a journey back in time to the founding impulse of the OWWClub.
Thus the audience learned that in the year of the opening of the border a broken down car in the no man's land between Bavaria and Czechoslovakia led to first conversations between the border stations and that the then District Administrator of Cham, Dr. Max Fischer, wanted to create a civil society forum with the OstWestWirtschaftsClub outside the big politics in order to bring East and West together in dialogue.
The desired "small border traffic" would have made waves all the way to Bonn, Dr. Günter Beckstein commented on Aktion Fischers. The barriers of the early days became many bridges, the work was worthwhile, Eberhard Sinner commented.
Cross-border courageous ideas and projects for the cooperation of e.g. police and fire protection had already been created during the Cold War, apart from the big politics, Dr. Beckstein recalled. "Today the German-Austrian border is more difficult to cross than the German-Czech one", he said. Cooperation with the countries in eastern Bavaria would have created many opportunities for shaping neighbourliness, for example in the automotive and care industries. The former Prime Minister saw further opportunities for European improvement through the creation of a European army that would be stronger than the military of individual nations. Dr. Beckstein particularly praised the OWWF projects "Friedensspiel Fußball U18" and "Friedenskapelle Rossoschka". So that his very effective emotional references were established, said Sinner.
Dr. Beckstein thanked Eberhard Sinner for the OWWF's services to reconciliation between East and West, which was designed to be "serious and honest, serious and reliable, with concrete steps and in order to achieve something in the long term". "The work of the OWWF is not outdated. The OWWF deals with future challenges in projects such as the Silk Road.
Mayor Kurt Seggewiß honoured the OWWF as the oldest association in Germany, which had worked for East-West relations. He mentioned the great commitment of the former Bavarian Minister Dr. h.c., who was born in Weiden, Germany. August Lang for the improvement of border traffic with Czechoslovakia. Today, the universities and colleges close to the border on both sides also benefited from this. At the European Vocational School in Weiden, bilingual instruction is provided and even Czech interpreters are trained.
For consul Mgr Jan Kreuter, the flow of information between the countries benefited in particular from international understanding and the reduction of prejudices. The OWWF had been one of these communication messengers. He wished to continue the dialogue between dissenters in order to recognize common values and starting points. This could counteract the current wave of nationalisation. He quoted Tomas Masaryk, the founder and first president of Czechoslovakia: "As a patriot I can love my nation, but I don't have to hate others".
Managing Director of OWWF, Hermann Pönisch, recalled in his foray through history that the OWWC had initiated the town twinning between Munich and Kiev. Josef Döllner actively supported the renovation of the Probstei Maria Kulm, the pilgrimage site of the Egerländer. In 1992, the OWWC arranged a first personal meeting between the then Czechoslovak Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and Minister of State Franz Neubauer, long spokesman for the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft, at a business symposium in the Munich Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten. The DOM, founded in 1991, would have brought in cooperation with medium-sized and large Bavarian companies, and in 2016 OWWC and DOM merged to form OWWF Bayern. The "Rossoschka Peace Chapel" project was a great success, because the donor names on the donor table, which had collected a total of 220,000 euros, had resulted in many Bavarian-Russian businesses.
Russia expert Christian Holtz was very much thanked in this context. "But our commitment to international understanding began on the border between Bavaria and Bohemia", Pönisch concluded his memorial trip.
Eberhard Sinner gave the audience an outlook on the current topics of the OWWF: Danube Strategy, Silk Road and Russia. "We need open borders in the Danube region, not least in order to connect the Adriatic ports," he explained. This would make transports faster. Corresponding demands are being formulated for politicians. An enlarged economic area including Russia for security, innovation and energy is more necessary than ever.
The daily newspaper "Der Neue Tag" in Weiden was present at the event and published the following article:
In 1968, after a long period of preparation, the OWWC
OstWestWirtschaftsclub eV was founded. A major part of this was played by Dr. Max Fischer, the then District Administrator of Cham, Walter Richter from the Sudetenland and Josef Döllner from the Cheb region.
The OWWF Bavaria is thus the oldest association in Germany that strives to improve relations with our eastern neighbours. We would like to review the 50-year history at a festive event in Weiden/Oberpfalz and invite you to do so:
Ceremony 50 years OWWF Bavaria
Max-Reger Hall, Weiden/Oberpfalz
Speech: Former Prime Minister Dr. Günther Beckstein
Saturday, 20 October 2018, 14:00 hrs
In the middle of the Cold War, the founding members had set themselves the goal of making the Iron Curtain on the Bavarian-Coslovak border permeable in order to facilitate human encounters. Josef Döllner, the last survivor of the "Founding Fathers", never ceased to bring the people on this side and on the other side of the border, which practically no longer exists today, together in spite of all the burdens of historical events.
Together with the presidents Dr. Max Fischer, Rolf Obler, Dr. h. c. Gustl Lang and Kurt Rossmanith he was the managing chairman of the "Spiritus Rex" of the OWWC and led the club through eventful times.
In Weiden we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the OWWC in 2008. In the Upper Palatinate, the problem of the impermeable border to the neighbour Czechoslovakia was particularly noticeable. Dr. Max Fischer from Cham was the first politician to attempt to initiate small border traffic as early as the opening of the first border crossings in 1964. Even after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Dr. h. c. Gustl Lang was anxious to facilitate fruitful cooperation between the border regions of Upper Palatinate and Western Bohemia. From these beginnings, OWWF Bavaria developed into a bridge builder between Bavaria and its neighbours in the East as far as China.
As part of the programme, we would like to give you an outline of the history of our two predecessor associations OWWC and DOM Deutsches Ostforum München. In the evening, a festive dinner will take place in the Hotel Amedia next to the Max Reger Hall.
On Sunday we offer you the opportunity to "experience" the development of the border region between Weiden and its twin town in the Bohemian spa triangle, the world-famous Marienbad.
If you want to stay overnight in Weiden, you can book a room in the Hotel Amedia for the preferential price of € 67.00 in a single room or € 45.00 in a double room, each per person for overnight stay/breakfast. Please indicate this when registering.
We look forward to celebrating this memorable anniversary together with you. As always, guests are of course very welcome. Please register by email at email@example.com .
Saturday 20 October, 2018
14:00 Start of the event
Welcome by the OWWF President, former Minister of State Eberhard Sinner
Greeting of the Mayor Kurt Seggewiss, Member of the OWWF Board of Directors
Greeting Mrs. Kristina Larischová, Consul General Czech Republic
15:00 hrs Lecture
Former Prime Minister Dr. Günther Beckstein, Member of the OWWF Board of Trustees
15:30 Coffee break
16:00 History of the OWWC/OWWF with honoring of the founding member
and long-time managing chairman, honorary president Josef Döllner
History of the DOM German East Forum Munich
17:00 h Musical finale
End of the ceremony
18:30 Festive dinner
Hotel Amedia (located next to the Max-Reger-Halle)
(Price per person - buffet € 35,00)
The drinks will be taken over by OWWF Bayern.
Sunday 22 October, 2018
Bus tour in the Bavarian-Bohemian borderland
(if there are enough registrations)
10:00 a.m. Departure from Weiden
Drive via Mähring (border crossing)
11:30 am Marienbad
13:00 Lunch in Marienbad (at your own expense)
15:00 Return via Rozvadov/Waidhaus via Waldassen
16:30 Return to Weiden