Students of today can hardly imagine the circumstances that led to the founding of the CAW. Adolf Hitler was in power and the Gestapo was feared among international students. The everyday life of students was ever more tightly controlled and aligned with the prevailing ideology. For example, all the student fraternities that existed in Freising were dissolved between 1933 and 1939 in order to bring them into line with the National Socialist organisations. Passports were confiscated and returned again shortly before exams.
Around 1937, some international brewing students decided to organise themselves better because of the continually difficult situation and for their own protection. They went to lectures together and met every evening with the purpose of finding out at regular intervals whether everyone was still around.
The foundation of the CAW
The Club Ausländischer Weihenstephaner received its official character and by-laws on the 12th of January 1939, at which time the club had 18 members. In the founding year, there was one guest from Germany. When the war broke out, many were expelled and others had to interrupt their studies, which at that time lasted two years, because of military service. At the end of 1939, there were only three founding members left in Freising. The club itself had six members.
In 1940 and 1941, some founding members came back to finish their studies. Hans Wüthrich even had to wait until 1942 to continue his studies. Nevertheless, the first CAW members were no children of sadness. They knew how to party, and a lot of mischief was probably on their minds. The first CAW ball in 1939 is an example of how versatile the club's activities were even then.
Friendly relations with people like Professor Frank (the inventor of the "shot in the water box") were certainly very valuable. The fact that Professor Frank attended the first CAW ball was cause for the National Socialist Student Association to boycott his lectures. With stones in their book bags, the CAW members broke through the boycott for the first time.
After the war
At the end of the war, the CAW consisted practically only of Swiss members. By order of the Reich Ministry of Education, members of the occupied territories were forbidden to study at German universities from the winter semester of 1944 onwards. After the war, however, new members joined from France and the Ukraine, among others, and the CAW expanded its contacts to the brewing industry; excursions and, in time, even day trips were undertaken.
From the early 1970s, students from other faculties were allowed to join the CAW, and the first woman joined too. Since then, Weihenstephan has grown and the TUM School of Life Sciences offers more and more courses, which has also increased the number of international students in Freising. The active members come from all corners of the world and study a variety of subjects; some are even taught in English. The support and camaraderie of the founders has remained strong for over eighty years and has had a lasting impact on subsequent CAW generations.