By Circe Olson Woessner
In early April 2012, I received a very interesting e-mail from Dr. Karin Pohl, who, with a team of historians, is currently working on an exhibit on Munich’s American Era, 1945-1992. It will focus on the surroundings of McGraw Kaserne, Giesing, Harlaching and Perlacher Forst housing area. The exhibit will run October 11th through October 28th 2012- with a possible prolongation until November 4th.
Dr. Pohl’s aim is to “put together an exhibit that doesn’t only talk about the Americans but actually also tells their Munich story. Former Munich High School students have forwarded their memories, photos and other memory items (such as year books etc.) to put together an exhibit which will be displayed at the “Giesinger Bahnhof”, a cultural center in the former train station not far from the former McGraw Kaserne.”
Article about the "Amis" (Americans) in Giesing : 20 Years after their Pullout from Munich (March 12, 2012)
The Freunde Giesings e. V. cultural society, the Amerika Haus, Munich University and the City of Munich Cultural Center are collaborating on the project.
Amerikanische Zeit in Giesing: The American Times in Giesing: Citizens are Creating an Exhibit. (January 25, 2012)
Dr. Pohl, a freelance historian, has published city-sponsored books, including a historical guide to Giesing which covers McGraw-Kaserne, Perlacher Forst housing area etc. Click here to read it: http://www.muenchen.de/media/lhm/_de/rubriken/Rathaus/kult/stadtgeschichte/kgp/obergiesing_fasangarten/kgp17_pdf.pdf)
In her e-mail, Dr. Pohl mentions, “While searching for information on the University of Maryland Munich campus I found your books [Bavarian Crème and Noch Eins!] …what a great source! So much information that we here in Germany have no clue about! To me the idea of students and military living so close together sounds like a crazy, at times even explosive mix. And Claire Schwan’s story on how the University of MD Munich was founded is stunning! Until I read this, I had thought there had been a real, organized plan — after all having a University for dependents sounds like a logical consequence if you have DoDDS. (The Defense Department Dependent Schools)”
“I also found your webpage about the Museum of the American Military Family. This aspect is really interesting and important to us, too: with interviews and pictures we want to draw attention not only to the soldiers but also to their families, and put a spot light on the lives of the wives and the children (who are my main source). And we try to explain what this nomad life means for the families. “
To help present this aspect of military life, Mary Lou Darst, author of “War Ready. In My Father’s Shadow” (2011) will be on hand during the exhibit and will read from her memoirs about her life as a “military brat” and living in Munich in the late 1950’s.
Aus Geschichten Wird Geschichte : From Stories Comes History March 19, 2012
Dr. Pohl admits “This is an aspect that the Germans have no knowledge of — but we have profited from this system since 1945 because the American presence assured our safety until the fall of the Iron Curtain.”
Indeed, the mission of the Museum of the American Military Family is to capture the experiences of American military families everywhere, and to share those stories with the public.
So, the Museum of the American Military Family is pleased to support our friends in Munich who are trying to capture a snippet of American German history and preserve it for all time.
If you lived or worked in Munich between 1945-1992, and you would like to contribute to the exhibit, please e-mail Dr. Karin Pohl or us. We can be reached at: