History of the Munich Student Union

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After the First World War, many people had lost all their possessions through the war as well as inflation and the number of people living in poverty was extremely high. During this time, students started founding self-help organisations at the universities, which later turned into the Studentenwerke. These self-help organisations established canteens as well as free meals and opened up loan banks. 

And so, on 30th March 1920, the organization “Studentenhaus München e.V.” [Student House Munich] was founded in Munich. A little while later, it changed its name into “Studentenwerk München” [Munich Student Union]. Thus, the Munich Student Union can be considered – along with the Studentenwerk Dresden – as the oldest Studentenwerk in Germany.

After the National Socialists had seized power, the local Studentenwerke soon lost their independence:  in 1934, a “Reichs-Studentenwerk” was founded. The local foundations were forced into line and degraded into mere offices of the Reichs-Studentenwerk. The majority of universities and Studentenwerke closed down during the Second World War. Many foundations were destroyed.

The Studentenwerke in Bavaria only began operating again in 1948 as the “Verordnung über die Einrichtung von Studentenwerken” [Act on establishing Studentenwerke] was passed.  This act lay down the organisation, functions, financing and economic management of the Studentenwerke.  Since 1974, this is settled by the Bavarian universities regulations (BayHSchG), in a separate section.

In honour of Fritz Beck, who founded the organization Studentenhaus in 1920 and thus paved the way for all the German Studentenwerke, a brochure was published in June 2014, available in German: “Fritz Beck – Sein Lebenswerk” [Fritz Beck – his life’s work]. The summary depicts all major stages of life of the founder of the Student Union.   

In order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Student Union’s founding on 30.03.2020, a chronicle covering the years 1920 - 2020 was published. The historic overview provides facts on how the Student Union developed during this long period of time.