Geschichte des Vereins
Hinter dem Studentenwohnheim Geschwister Scholl e.V. steht der 1956 gegründete, gleichnamige Verein (Studentenwohnheim Geschwister Scholl e.V.). Er ist Eigentümer des Wohnheims und verwaltet es seit dessen Eröffnung 1960.
History of the association
The dorm Geschwister Scholl e.V. is owned and managed by the association with the same name (Studentenwohnheim Geschwister Scholl e.V.), which was founded in 1956. It owns the dormitory and has managed it since it’s opening in 1960.
The initial situation (1946 to 1956)
Aerial photograph in the area of Schwere Reiter Straße in 1945, the Schollheim property is marked in red. Source: StaMü FS-1945–7125
After the Second World War, half of the buildings in the city of Munich were destroyed. As a result, about 300,000 people were homeless. When the Technical University (TUM) resumed teaching in April 1946 and the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in June 1946, the construction of student dormitories was not the city’s number one priority; much more problematic was the creation of housing in general to eliminate the greatest need. To achieve this goal, the allocation guidelines for social housing excluded the renting of rooms to students. At the same time, however, the number of students at both universities was growing, and by 1949 there were already about 15,000 matriculated students in Munich. Rising student numbers now further increased the housing shortage in Munich. By the early 1950s, the situation had become even more acute. Since the promotion of student housing was not a priority in housing policy due to the general housing shortage, an improvement of the student-specific situation was only possible through private initiative.
The foundation of the association (1956)
Then as now, children of all financial backgrounds should have the chance to attend college. A prerequisite for this is, of course, the availability of affordable housing.
In order to achieve this, the non-profit association „Studentenwohnheim Geschwister Scholl e.V.” was founded on June 13, 1956 in an adjoining room of the Café Odeon on Munich’s Odeonsplatz. The sole aim of the association’s statutes: the construction and maintenance of a student dormitory.
The idea of building a student dormitory had originated in the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sozialdemokratischer Akademiker (Working Group of Social Democratic Academics). The suggestion to found an association came from Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel, a member of the SPD and the Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund (SDS). Vogel, who was 30 at the time, was a district court judge and an employee in the state chancellery of Bavarian Prime Minister Dr. Wilhelm Hoegner, and later became Munich’s mayor and federal Minister of Justice. Through the working group and private acquaintances, Vogel was able to win over three personalities to support the plan to build a student dormitory:
- the dermatologist and rector of the LMU, Dr. Alfred Marchionini,
- the Bavarian State Minister of Justice, Fritz Koch, and
- the board member of the then Bayerische Hypotheken- und Wechselbank, Adolf Eugen Samstag
The invitation to the committee led by Alfred Marchionini was accepted by 28 individuals, including politicians, professors, entrepreneurs, trade unionists, bankers, publishers, writers, journalists and senior civil servants. Many of them were prominent opponents and persecutees of National Socialism, most of them because of their Social Democratic commitment, because they hid Jews or helped them escape. They represent the „other” Germany around the time of World War II.
When the association was founded, the following positions were elected:
- Chairman: Prof. Dr. Alfred Marchionini
- Deputy Chairman: Minister of State Dr. Fritz Koch
- Assesors: Adolf Eugen Samstag and Erwin Essl, member of the state parliament and district leader of IG Metall Bavaria, also chairman of the Socialist Workers’ Youth in Schweinfurt until 1933
- Managing director: Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel
The Bavarian Minister President Dr. Wilhelm Hoegner became patron of the association.
The assembly decided to appoint another assessor by way of additional election in order to compensate for the dominance of Social Democratic members of the association on the board. This was Dr. Rolf Rodenstock, President of the Bavarian Employers’ Association and member of the Federation of German Industries.
Photo gallery of the leading founding members
Other founding members included:
- the editor-in-chief of the Bayerischen Staatszeitung, Karlheinz Lange,
- the publisher Kurt Desch,
- the writer, founder of „Gruppe 47“ (Group 47) and member of a socialist resistance group during the Nazi period, Hans-Werner Richter,
- the political editor of the Social Democratic newspaper „Münchener Post“ and co-founder and first editor-in-chief of the „Süddeutschen Zeitung“, Edmund Goldschagg,
- the historian Dr. Alexander Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, older brother of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, whose assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944 was unfortunately unsuccessful,
- the State Minister and Director of the Bavarian Savings Banks and Giro Association, Rudolf Zorn,
- the chairman of the German Trade Union Federation in Munich, Ludwig Koch, who was also a member of the Socialist Workers’ Youth before World War II,
- the publicist Burghard Freudenfeld,
- the student and later lawyer and managing director of the association, Robert Jenisch
It is striking that many of the association and board members also had personal relationships with each other:
Patron Wilhelm Hoegner and the father of the Scholl siblings, Robert Scholl, knew each other personally; they were neighbors on the same street. A friendship developed out of the neighborhood, and the Hoegner and Scholl families frequently visited each other.
Furthermore, Alfred Marchionini was a friend and supporter of Hans-Jochen Vogel, who in turn knew Justice Minister Koch very well from his work from 1952 as an assessor in the Ministry of Justice and the Bavarian State Chancellery. Vogel’s circle of friends also included the editor-in-chief of the Bavarian state newspaper, Dr. Karl-Heinz Lange.
The naming (1956)
In addition to alleviating the housing shortage for students, there was another motive for building a student dormitory. The Bavarian SPD chairman and deputy federal chairman at the time, Waldemar von Knoeringen, wanted to transform the SPD from a class party into a people’s party by, among other things, making it electable for academics. The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sozialdemokratischer Akademiker (Working Group of Social Democratic Academics) therefore considered that a student dormitory could be built to promote the SPD and to inspire young people, future academics, to support social democracy.
This idea was decisive in chosing the dormitory’s name as „Geschwister Scholl:” by honoring two courageous young people who sacrificed their lives for freedom and democracy, the current generation of students should be motivated to commit themselves to the values of democracy and basic law. Therefore, the working group sought contact with Robert Scholl, the father of the Scholl siblings, and received his approval. This decision was certainly also promoted by the friendship that connected the patron Hoegner with Robert Scholl.
Opening of house 1 and Monument unveiling (1956 to 1960)
The chairman of the association Alfred Marchionini and other prominent comrades-in-arms succeeded, through the wealth of their connections, in fundraising the necessary equity capital to be able to apply for government aid and bank loans for the construction of House 1 in just two years. After the architect Werner Wirsing had been selected, construction took a little more than a year. On January 7, 1960, the first students moved into House 1; 144 affordable living spaces had been successfully created.
The opening speech by Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel was attended by prominent guests: Mr. and Mrs. Hoegner, Robert Scholl, Prof. Dr. Theodor Maunz (Bavarian Minister of Culture from 1957–1964), Prof. Dr. Max Kneissl (Rector of the TUM), Prof. Dr. Egon Wiberg (Prorector of the LMU), Thomas Wimmer (Lord Mayor of Munich), the Wirsing couple, Mathilde Marchionini, Hans Demeter (Chairman of the Munich SPD) and Manfred Schmidt (Deputy Federal Chairman of the SDS).
An excerpt from Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel’s speech at the opening of the Schollheim on January 7, 1960:
„These days, the Federal Republic of Germany is troubled by a wave of anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi graffiti. This should be all the more reason for us to unequivocally acknowledge the victims of National Socialism and its atrocities. I believe, Mr. Mayor Scholl, that especially in these times, it makes profound sense to name our dormitory after your children who were murdered by this despicable system.”
(Translated from German)
Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel with his wife at the commemoration ceremony for the unveiling of the monument.
Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel’s speech has lost none of its relevance over time. The student dormitory was to be a place of remembrance; the association decided to erect a memorial to the murdered Scholl siblings and to hold a competition for its design. The sculpture by the artist Christine Stadler was awarded a prize and realized. The memorial is one of the artist’s best-known works. It was financed by a donation of 1,500 DM from IG Metall Bayern.
At the unveiling of the monument on February 17, 1962, the historian and association member Prof. Dr. Alexander Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, brother of Claus von Stauffenberg, said, among other things, as follows:
At the memorial (from left): Association Chairman Prof. Dr. Marchionini and Prof. Dr. Alexander Graf von Stauffenberg
„For it seems to me that the true secret of [the Scholl sibling’s] sacrifice and their heavy and proud death, which occurred 19 years ago today, was the meaning of their difficult and self-chosen path imposed upon them in the prime of their youth, expressed in a single word, „atonement”: that they have cleansed the tainted earth and restored the lost self-respect to the rest of us, who have, through cowardice, tolerance and complacency, become accomplices in the calamity, numbering in the thousands and tens of thousands.”
(Translated from German)
Many prominent people were present to celebrate the unveiling of the monument. The chairman of the association, Prof. Dr. Alfred Marchionini, was able to welcome, among others, Dr. Wilhelm Hoegner, Munich’s Lord Mayor Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel, Robert Scholl and Erwin Essl, representing IG Metall.
In addition to Prof. Dr. Alfred Marchionini, the managing director of the association, Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel, was another driving force behind the founding of the association, the fundraising and the construction of House 1. In 1960, he was elected Lord Mayor of the state capital of Munich, at the time just 34 years old.
Picture gallery of the unveiling ceremony of the memorial of the Scholl siblings by Christine Stadler on February 17, 1962
Management under Robert Jenisch (1960 to 2016)
Photo gallery of the chairmen of the association
Since Dr. Vogel was unable to continue the association’s business, the association had to select someone new for this task. Robert Jenisch, a lawyer by profession, who had been a member of the association from the very beginning as a young student of the SDS, was chosen. During the founding period, he had been significantly involved in the preparations for the construction of House 1 and was already actively supporting the management for some time. In December 1960, he was elected by the general meeting as Vogel’s successor as managing director. He immediately began fundraising for House 2. Only four years after the opening of the Geschwister Scholl student dormitory with House 1, the extension building named House 2 on the neighboring property with 98 additional rooms was occupied at the beginning of 1964.
The chairman of the association, Prof. Dr. Alfred Marchionini, lived to see the completion of House 2, but unfortunately could not enjoy the success of the association for long. He died on April 6, 1965, at the age of only 66.
The association’s general meeting elected the biochemist Feodor Lynen, then director of the Max Planck Institute for Cell Chemistry in Martinsried, as his successor. It is admirable that the Nobel Prize winner for medicine took on this task in addition to his numerous other honorary posts and memberships in scientific committees and societies. He died on August 6, 1979, at the age of 68.
After him, the physicist Edgar Lüscher, professor for experimental physics at the TUM, took over the chairmanship of the association. Although he was very busy with his research work in the field of solid state physics and with the establishment of the physics department in Garching, he took the necessary time to fulfill the tasks of the association. Unfortunately, Professor Lüscher did not live to an old age either; he died on January 16, 1990, at the age of 64.
As successor of Professor Lüscher for the chairmanship of the association, the association succeeded in winning the well-known dermatologist Professor Dr. med. Dr. phil. Siegfried Borelli. He was a professor and director-emeritus of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Dermatology and Allergology of the TUM and medical director of the Clinic for Dermatology and Allergology Davos (Alexanderhaus Clinic). Professor Borelli, a former student and medical collaborator of Professor Marchionini, considered it his duty to dedicate himself to the work of his academic teacher.
In addition to his involvement in the founding of the association and the construction of House 1 and House 2, Managing Director Robert Jenisch played a key role in the construction of House 3. The approvals of the construction and financial planning of House 3 took place during his lifetime. Unfortunately, he was not able to witness the completion of House 3, as he died in October 2016 at the age of 85, after 56 years of voluntary management of the association. House 3 was ready for occupancy in October 2019. Like no other, he fought and lived with energy and passion for his dormitory.
First occupancy of house 3 and future renovations (2016 – today)
Photo gallery of the managing directors of the association
After the death of Robert Jenisch, a new managing director had to be elected immediately to take care of ongoing construction of House 3. Although the death of Robert Jenisch came as a surprise, he had already prepared a successor for his tasks. Therefore, the association’s board was able to elect Thomas Knappstein as his successor in the management. Jenisch knew Knappstein from their joint work at the construction trade association; at his suggestion, he had been elected to the board as an assessor in 2012. These were good prerequisites for taking over not only the day-to-day business of the association but also the supervision of the construction of House 3 and the preparations for planned renovation work on Houses 1 and 2. With the completion of the construction work on House 3, Thomas Knappstein stepped down as managing director in March due to other commitments as an executive at the employers’ liability insurance association.
The board appointed Friedrich Graffe, the association’s vice chairman, initially on a provisional basis, as his successor. He is already managing director of the Alfred and Karl Marchionini Foundation.
The long-time chairman of the association, Prof. Dr. Dr. Siegfried Borelli, stepped down as chairman of the board at the end of the general meeting in January 2020 due to his age. Due to his merits for the home and the association, the general meeting unanimously decided to offer Prof. Borelli the honorary chairmanship of the association.
Historian and media scientist Prof. Dr. Peter von Rüden was elected as the new chairman of the board. He was Director of the Adolf Grimme Institute, Head of Department for Education and Culture at NDR Television, and Head of the Research Center for Broadcasting History at the Leibnitz Institute for Media Research and the University of Hamburg’s Institute for Modern German Literature and Media Culture. From 1969 to 1972, he was a resident and tutor at the Geschwister Scholl student dormitory and has been an assessor on the association’s board since 2017.
60 years of Schollheim and opening ceremony of house 3: memories for the future (2020)
We, the association and the residents of the dormitory, are proud that the history of our association, and thus also that of the dormitory, is being continued. Our future was discussed in detail at the anniversary celebration of 60 years of Schollheim and the official opening of House 3. Our association chairman, Prof. Dr. Peter von Rüden, the first managing director of our association, Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel, and Munich’s mayor, Dieter Reiter formulated their thoughts and wishes for the future.
Prof. Dr. von Rüden recapitulated the history of our association and formulated the following thought in relation to the present:
„For me, [out first patron, Wilhelm Hoegner’s] reckoning with the failure of the democrats before the end of the Weimar Republic in the book Escape from Hitler: Memories of the Surrender of the First German Republic in 1933 is of great relevance, as it describes the internal and gradual dissolution of a democracy. Pointedly formulated: Hoegner provides evidence that those who sleep in democracy awaken in dictatorship.”
(Translated from German)
Prof. Dr. von Rüden during his speech on the occasion of the 60th anniversary
Dr. Hans-Jochen Vogel recalled the Scholl siblings in his speech and appealed:
„Even more important [than international exchange], however, was another contact of all these residents, namely the one with the Scholl siblings, whose names they encountered daily. They were therefore in constant contact with two people who, despite it being a difficult realization at the time, recognized the criminal nature of their government regime, then called for resistance against it and finally sacrificed their lives for it. People who aspired to a social order based on values, which granted people freedom and pursued peace. Therefore, remembering Hans and Sophie Scholl is also an appeal to decisively confront the attacks on these values and our democracy, which are certainly not lacking at present.”
(Translated from German)
Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter during his 60th anniversary speech
In his ceremonial speech, Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter emphasized the solidarity of all Munich’s lord mayors with the student residence, which bears the name of the Scholl siblings. He mentioned the contemporary relevance and necessity to fight racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism. These bigoted ideas are still manageable in Munich, but—said Reiter: „We never want to see that again in our city.”
Dieter Reiter’s speech spans the arc of support for the Geschwister Scholl e.V. student residence from the first Munich mayor after World War II, Thomas Wimmer, to himself, the current one. This makes it clear that our student residence is not just one of many in the city, but special to Munich and its government officials. In order to remain so, and to continue to live up to our founding spirit and our namesakes, it is important for us to continue to be more than just a normal student residence: namely, a place where politics, contemporary history, literature and art are in the forefront of our community’s interests and ideals.