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The founding years of the AEK

by Seff Heil

The Council of Creative Artists of the Egerland began its activities in 1975 with a meeting of Egerland dialect poets. The actual foundation came some years later. The idea for this first meeting was in 1974 at the German Conference of the Federation of Eghalanda Gmoin eV in Marktredwitz/Bavaria. Albert Reich, William Starck, Dr. Josef Suchy, Alfred Görgl and our Nestor Otto Zerlik wanted to continue the tradition of a meeting of Egerland dialect poets, which was started in 1931 by Adolf Horner in Falkenau. After the first meeting in 1975, it was agreed that the restriction only to dialect poetry was too limiting.

Therefore they also invited to the next meetings writers in the German language, visual artists and musicians. So one after another cultural work group was formed. Searching for a name we decided on Dr. Suchy's proposal: "Arbeitskreis Egerländer Kulturschaffender" (Council of Creative Artists of the Egerland), briefly referred to AEK. Dr. Josef Suchy published following a request by Otto Zerlik an information document, the "Egerländer Zeitungsdienst" (EZD).

At this time, all the events were still under the management and direction of leading members of the national board of BdEG (Federation of Eghalanda Gmoin eV). This brought some difficulties, especially in the financing, as the consent of the Federal Board of BDEG was necessary for greater action. Short-term projects could therefore not be conducted. So the decision was made to register the AEK as an independent association.

At the invitation of Albert Reich there was a preliminary meeting on 20/21. March 1982 in the Haus of Heimat (centre of heritage) in Stuttgart. Dr. Josef Suchy, Seff Heil, William Starck, Otto Zerlik and Gerald Güntner attended the meeting. It was then decided to register the club as AEK.

As founding members were proposed:

Alfred Görgl, Seff Heil, Albert Reich, William Starck, Dr. Josef Suchy and Otto Zerlik. As honorary members of the foundation were named: Member of Parliament Dr. Erich Riedl, Josef Stingl, President of the Federal Bureau of Labor and graduate engineer Albert Karl Simon.

The managing committee was appointed:

Chairman: Albert Reich, Vice Chairman Seff Heil and William Starck
Treasurer: Seff Heil, Secretary: William Starck
Assessor: Dr. Alfred Görgl, Dr. Josef Suchy, Otto Zerlik

The organisation leadership had in fact existed for years, but now it would be registered legally as well with the association AEK.

My job as treasurer of the AEK started at the 2nd Meeting in the year 1976. Dr. Josef Suchy called spontaneously for a fund raising, which began my "career" as treasurer of the AEK. If I had already known how much work was waiting for me, I certainly ... no, I would have done it anyway, because it was to bring something new, somthing good and foreward-looking. Only after 19 years of exhausting work, I passed on this important position, with a good financial cushion, in 1995 to younger hands. This transfer was long overdue, since I had been since 1989 the Bundesvüarstäihas (Federal Chairman) of BdEG- another honorable but also responsible position. Because of the opening of the borders in 1989 the scope and the work became enormously larger. Many annual events of AEK demanded so much time for finance, account and grant application, so it was irresponsible to continue this function.

The decisions that were taken in March 1982 in the Haus der Heimat in Stuttgart had now to be put into action. At the meeting of AEK in autumn of 1982, the members voted for the founding of the AEK association and instructed the Board with the completion. An already prepared constitution was approved.

To adopt the following amendments and supplements to the constitution it was necessary to call for a further extraordinary general meeting  on 20/21. February 1983 in the Haus der Heimat in Stuttgart. After careful consideration and new proposals the revised rules were approved unanimously and the Board was elected.


Inaugural meeting of the AEK-Board

On May, 1st 1983 members of the Board met at the Hotel Rosenau in Würzburg for their inaugural meeting. Albert Reich, Dr. Josef Suchy, Otto Zerlik, Seff Heil, Willi Starck, Dr. Josef Weinmann, Dr. Reinhard Worschech, Prof. Dr. Boehm, Prof. Hanslicek, Willhelm Hager, Franz Wittmann and Erhard Nowak joined the meeting.

From today's perspective, one can see that already in this session the goals were developed for years. Most of them could be realized to a large extent, though not always in the narrower Egerland sense. Let me mention just a few examples:

It was suggested to create a position for the research on Egerland folk music. This suggestion led to the establishment of the Sudetendeutsches Musikinstitut (Music Institute) in Regensburg.

It was suggested to create a Egerland hamlet in the Upper Palatinate Outdoor-Museum Neusath-Perschen. This hamlet was built and named as: Northern Upper Palatinate, Stiftland. All buildings are preserved in Egerland-style.

It was suggested to create a Egerland-tradition-keeper. This AEK application at the Bavarian State Government led to the creation of the "Sudetendeutsche Heimatpflegerin" with the Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft in Munich.

It was suggested to publish the Biographical Dictionary of the Egerland by Dr. Josef Weinmann. Volume 1 was released in 1985, Volume 2 in 1987, Volume 3 is in preparation.

The Egerland book (anthology) should go to print as soon as possible - it was published in 1984 by Langen-Müller Verlag. Authors: Dr. Josef Suchy. Dr. Alfred and Otto Görgl Zerlik +.

A Egerländer cultural award was to be created (with or without prize money). The first award of the "Egerländer Kulturpreises „Johannes-von-Tepl“ was made 1985 in Waldsassen, at the initiative of Albert Reich.

A musician's book should be compiled: "Old-Egerland dances", Erich Baumann, published 1985 by AEK.

Seff Heil inspired the creation of a Egerland sound archive, which was founded by him in the same year (Egerland House of Culture and Literature Archives Sulzbach-Rosenberg).

The publication of the hand-written song manuscripts by Brosch was released by AEK (Editor Seff Heil) in facsimile printing.

Annual readings should be performed in the newly founded literary archive Sulzbach-Rosenberg. Since 1983, regular readings of AEK. An Egerland department was established at the Administrative District Office in Sulzbach-Rosenberg.

In summary, one can say that this inaugural meeting in 1983 in Würzburg has had the biggest impact for the history of AEK and its  successful work, also for the coming years. Important characters had come together to develop the assignment of AEK, which required a very great effort and knowledge.

Without exaggeration it can be stated that the foundation of the AEK was urgent and important for the conservation of Egerland art and culture.

Registration as a registered association (eV) was finally on 6 October 1983 at the Stuttgart Court. With it the AEK became independent and was henceforth recognized as eligible within the meaning of charity.