Munich American/Munich International Group
Continental Europe Region
In 1948, a Munich AA group registered with Alcoholics Anonymous in New York. As with all groups existing at that time, it was a loner group.
In 1951, AA's New York GSO Spring directory listed Munich, along with AA groups in Augsburg, Bad Kreuznach, Frankfurt, Hannover, Landstuhl, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden West Germany.
In 1952 Wiesbaden held Germany's first Round-up.
1953 saw the creation of German AA. In an article in a German newspaper, Master Sgt. Bob S. set forth an open invitation to Germans to attend an open AA meeting at the Hotel Leopold in Schwabing on November 1, 1953. The meeting was well attended.
From 1954 on, both English- and German-language meetings were listed in AA's International Directory. The English speaking group was listed as the Munich-American group. The directory didn't list the names of individuals who attended the meetings, but but Max K. was listed as a contact for the German group. After 1960, Americans - including Bill L. in 1960, Jim in 1962, and Kenneth from 1966-1968 - were listed in the guide. Walt was listed around 1970. AA meetings from 1968 to 1972 or 1973 were held at the
American Hospital in the US military's Perlach Forest Housing Area.
Walt registered the Munich American group with GSO New York in 1972, at the request of the newly formed German Intergroup (Forrest S. was Intergroup chairman). Around the same time, Walt found a new meeting room for the AA group in Munich's downtown area, at the School of Philosophy (Berchmann College) on Kaulbachstrasse; meetings are still held there on Wednesday and Friday nights.
Walt also included the fact that the School of Philosophy was located "behind the American Consulate," but because Germans, Scots and Spaniards, as well as Americans, attended, the group decided to change its name from Munich American to Munich International.
Walt added, "There was a need to strengthen anonymity."
In April, 1973, the Munich International and members of the newly formed Intergroup read in the Intergroup Newsletter of a German Convention in Schwabing, Munich. At the time, Munich International was in Area IV of Intergroup Germany - which included Bad Tölz, Augsburg, New Ulm, Garmisch, Bamberg, Nurnburg, Vilseck, Kitzingen, Schweinfurt and Oberammergau.
Members at that time were Walt, Bob G., T.J., A.J., Lydia and Russell. In 1975 Ingrid B. and Kent joined the group. Jean joined the group in 1978, and by 1980, Joli, Alan, Otto, James, Tom and Juanita had joined as well. The meeting was held Wednesday evenings from 8 until 9:30 pm, and the last meeting of the month was an open meeting.
As newcomers increased, so did the meetings. Many new members were hailed from the U.S. Military bases at Mc Graw Caserne (Munich), the Flint Caserne (Bad Tölz), and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Joli started the Friday night meeting in the Kaulbachstrasse in 1980, but because of sometimes poor
attendance, taped Speakers meetings were held. Tom and Juanita became very active, starting the Monday night meeting in the Perlacher
Forest Housing Area (Mc Graw Caserne at the Human Resource Center in the Pennstrasse, on the third floor).
"Barefoot" meetings were also held at the Friday evening meeting, during which a member faced the group and qualified. The last meeting of the month was the birthday meeting. Those celebrating birthdays shared a cake and received their medallion. As there was no set time when we had to vacate the room, these sessions often
lasted hours. Almost everyone had a key to the closet, so whomever arrived first set up the meeting and made the coffee. The chairperson usually served for about three months.
By 1981 Munich had three English-speaking meetings a week. Writing this all down, I start to remember names, such as Larry, Alma, Jack, Norm, Joe H., Yvonne, Jim, Bill, Trixi ... and on and on.
The Sunday afternoon Step meeting started in 1982. Joli, Heidi, Yvonne and Dolores were at the first meeting. The meeting was not listed in the Directory for the first few months because it was feared that the meeting would not be well-attended. But after the first few months, it was standing room only. The meeting moved to Cinncinnatistrasse, taking place in a large room on the ground floor; we also held Our Christmas parties there.
The Sunday afternoon meeting and the Monday night meeting moved from Pennstrasse to Cinncinnatistrasse after a few years, and then on to an
apartment near the Chapel in the Perlacher Forest Housing area near the Mc Graw Caserne. Today the Sunday afternoon meeting is held in the Balanstrasse's Jesaja Church and the Monday night meeting is held on Oberländerstrasse in Munich's Obersendling district. The Wednesday and Friday night group had already moved to Room 3, in the College of Philosophy, where the meetings are still held today.
The 80s and 90s
Munich International became active in Intergroup in 1980. Ingrid B. was elected to represent the group at Area meetings. She encouraged the group to become part of the greater service structure of AA in Germany (3rd Legacy). Munich, Augsburg, Garmisch, Bad Aibling and Bad Tölz became Area 13 in the International Intergroup -- International because by now Belgium, Holland, Iceland, Sweden and Paris had joined Intergroup. But we were not yet part of the General Service Structure of AA, and were therefore asked to join the General Service Structure of Great Britain in 1980 as a Region in GSO Great Britain.
In 1986, the International Intergroup voted to join the Service Structure in Great Britain and become Region 15.
The Service Structure in Great Britain is composed of groups, intergroups and regions. The 15 Areas of Intergroup were divided into 3 Intergroups and Munich was in Intergroup III. Canada Otto, Harald, Ingrid Penny, Dolores and Sissy from Salzburg were at the first Intergroup meeting in the Perlacher Forst Housing Area.
The Munich groups were active in supporting Intergroup III. There were Spirituality weekends in Berchtsgaden and Chiemsee. Roundups continued being held in Augsburg, Nürnberg, and Bad Kissingen. Intergroup III was named Intergroup Bavaria and later Intergroup Franconia. A Roundup is still held each year in Bamberg.
The interest in service work took an upward swing at that time. The meetings were well attended. It was the time when we didnt need a key to open up the meetings in the Kaulbachstr. We just had the one for the closet. There were picnics in summer and Christmas parties to go to. Roundups were being held in Nurnburg, Lahr and Kaiserslautern.
A few Big Book Seminars had taken place in Nurnburg too.
In the late 1980s, Terry joined the group and opened the Saturday night meeting in St. Boniface in the Karlsstrasse in Munich. In the beginning it was a Speakers meeting. Dermot chaired the meeting for quite a while. Alan chaired after Russell. But after the military drawback in 1992, the meeting became a "As Bill sees it." meeting.
Before the drawback the "As Bill sees it meeting was held on Sunday morning in the Housing Area appartment. Bill from New England supplied the books. There were meetings in the appartment everyday of the week. We had a Big Book meeting, Womens meeting, Mens meetings, Wednesday noon meeting and even a non-smoking meeting on Friday evening.
That one was started by Larry G. Joe A., Diane, Zola, Dan, Larry II, Lory, Kay Mary E., Ingeborg, Mick, Erich, Verena, Susan, Sabina and Dave from Bad Tölz , Rick, Rich, Joe L. were all members of the group. - Just to mention a few. That is pretty much the picture of AA in Munich until the military drawback in 1992, when Mc Graw Caserne was closed.
The military drawback didn't affect Munich too strongly, as it still had the Kaulbachstrasse Munich International group meetings on Wednesday and Friday evenings, the Saturday evening "As Bill sees it" meeting in St Boniface church, the Sunday afternoon Big Book Study meeting in the Balanstrasse, and the Monday beginner's meeting on Oberländerstrasse.
There were picnics in summer often held at the home of an AA member in the outskirts of Munich or in the Perlacher Forest Housing Area. The picnics and parties were well-attended by AA members from Augsburg, Garmisch and Bad Tölz. These gatherings helped were a great help to get to know members from other groups
The Group Today
All Munich meetings are currently well-attended and have been supported to the best of the ability of all members. Many of the members have been with the Groups since they came into AA.
Since 2002 there has been a rapid influx of new members, and it is hoped that the interest in service work will be shared with everyone.
"We give it away to keep it."
Business meetings have always been held after the last meeting of the month. After the Friday evening meeting there was a "Meeting After the Meeting" at the Monoptorus cafe; often there were so many of us that they gave us an entire room to ourselves.
The Saturday 8 PM group used to retire the Greek restaurant Thesalonika just diagonally
across from the train station for some of the strongest coffee and best Greek
eats anywhere around. Several Munich groups still have an after meeting meeting
- just ask!
Many thanks to Dolores R. for providing this informative history of our group.
Sadly, Dolores passed away on February 23, 2013.