Abschied from the Current Alpen Club

Alpen Club in the distance
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Vancouver, July 25, 2022 – Yesterday, July 24, was the final opportunity to enjoy a meal at the Vancouver Alpen Club. Like many people, we received the following message from the Vancouver Alpen Club Team:

It is with great sadness that we announce the Deutsches Haus Restaurant will be closing Sunday, July 24th 2022, due to its planned Redevelopment. But it gives us great joy to announce a rebirth in 2025 that will continue all the traditions and culture of the past 85 years. Thank you everyone for making us such an institution in Vancouver and all your support over the years, we will miss you but look forward to seeing you in our new home at the same location. Please follow our journey on www.vacbc.ca or contact us at info@vacbc.ca to stay up to date on our progress. Danke ❤️🥨🍻
Your Vancouver Alpen Club Team

The Vancouver Alpen Club has been around since 1935. In 1985 they celebrated their 50th Anniversary. In their 50th Anniversary Booklet (Festschrift), there were a few people who wrote some nice messages that are still relevant today:

a. Alex Schoebel (President of the Vancouver Alpen Club): “Der Vancouver Alpen Klub blickt auf eine lange und erfolgreiche Geschichte der Pflege deutschen brauchtums und deutscher Sprache in Kanada zurück. Es darf nicht übersehen werden, welche gewaltige Leistung unser Klub in seinem 50-jährigen Bestand auf dem Gebiet der deutschen Kultur geleistet hat.”

b. Grace M. McCarthy (Chairman, Cabinet Committee on Cultural Heritage): “Considering Vancouver’s relative youth as a city, it is a major achievement for any club to have reached its 50th birthday. For half a century, the Alpen Club has been faithfully serving the needs of our German-speaking community, one of the largest and oldest groups in the province. Every year, a full programme of cultural, sporting and social events caters to all tastes, contributing much to the spirit of food fellowship within the community.”

c. Frances Fridge (President of the BC Folkfest Society): “With the hard work of your Presidents, Directors and Members through the years it has resulted in one of the most active and best Clubs in the city of Vancouver.”

d. Helmut Kohl (Bundeskanzler der Bundesrepublik Deutschland): “Mit Stolz und Genugtuung können Sie auf ein halbes Jahrhundert zurückblicken, in dem Ihre vielfältigen Aktivitäten nicht nur zur Erhaltung und Pflege des deutschen Kulturgutes und der deutschen Sprache, sondern auf die Vertiefung der deutsch-kanadischen Freundschaft und zur Förderung des gegenseitigen Verständnis zwischen unseren beiden Völkern beigetragen haben.”

e. Reinhard Marks (Generalkonsul der Bundesrepublik Deutschland): “Trotz aller Schwierigkeiten, die – wie es gar nicht anders sein kann – die vergangenen jahrzehnte immer wieder mit sich gebracht haben, ist es Ihnen gelungen, den Deutsch-Kanadischen Alpen Klub in Vancouver über 50 Jahre hin nicht nur am Leben zu halten, sondern auch mit Leben zu füllen. Dies ist keine Selbstverständlichkeit. Es ist vielmehr eine grossartige Leistung, auf die Sie alle stolz sein können, die Ihnen aber auch als Verpfleitung für die Zukunft dienen möge.”

The Vancouver Alpen Club was formed in 1935, and received a provincial charter in 1938. Its aims and objectives were the preservation of the German language and culture, minus the politics. The originator of the idea of founding a Schuhplattler club was Sebastian Schmidt who eventually rented a house on the corner of Robson and Cambie and began training Schuhplattlers. Their slogan was “Get away from politics and let’s schuhplattle.”

An interesting side note is that two other “Schuhplattler Masters” emerged – Lui Gasser and Julius Pichler who each developed their own group. Pichlers’s group became professionals and played in the 1948 Hollywood movie Emperor Waltz, filmed at Jasper and directed by Billy Wilder (born June 22, 1906 in Sucha, Galicia, Austria-Hungary [now Sucha Beskidzka, Malopolskie, Poland). It starred Bing Crosby and Joan Fontaine. Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favour of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city’s largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929 and wrote scripts for many German films until Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Wilder immediately realized his Jewish ancestry would cause problems in Germany, so he emigrated to Paris, then the US. Although he spoke no English when he arrived in Hollywood, Wilder was a fast learner and thanks to contacts such as Peter Lorre (with whom he shared an apartment), he was able to break into American films.

Back to the Club: “The Board of Directors are responsible for the governance and welfare of the Vancouver Alpen Club. Their mandate is to promote pride in the German culture and heritage among their members, and to the general public at large. Under the guidance of the directors, the club specifically reaches out to all who are interested in experiencing German culture, cuisine and ‘Gemütlichkeit’.” This will be missing for the next 2-3 years.

This is the new possible prototype of the updated Club facilities in the basement of some condos.

New sample of Alpen Club

In 1938, the VAC had a school for German classes with two teachers, a sports team, a theatre group, a choir, a dance group and a concert orchestra. In 2022, during the time of transition, what is left is an Alpenplattler Group, a Skat Card Group and a Lyra Men’s Choir. A priority was always “Kunst, Kenntnis, Kulture” (Art, Knowledge, Culture). The following three groups will still be meeting regularly during the redevelopment of the club and are eagerly looking for members.

Please contact:

Alpenplattlers:

Practice: Wednesdays, 07:30-09:00 pm (Ballroom, Vancouver Alpen Club)
Contact: 604.812.8330; AlpenPlattlers@gmail.com
Website: www.alpenplattlers.com

MGV Lyra:

Practice: Tuesdays, 07:30-09:30pm (Ballroom, Vancouver Alpen Club)
President: Dieter Momeyer
Contact: 604.271.1631; info@mgv-lyra.com
Website: www.mgv-lyra.com

Skat or Rummy Card Games Group:

Rummy
Game Time: Wednesdays, 07:00-10:00pm
Contact: 604.943.3448 & 604.385.4267

Skat
Game Time: Wednesdays, 03:00-10:00pm, every 1st Sunday of the month, 10:00am-03:00pm
Contact: 604.230.5024; 604.943.3448; 604.385.4267

The Alpen Club had their last AGM at the physical location at 33rd/Victoria Drive on July 9, 2022. Around 40-50 people showed up and enjoyed some “Kaffee und Kuchen” as they had their meeting. The President of the Vancouver Alpen Club, Justin Hoffman is standing at the podium for the official opening, counting the quorum and introducing the Agenda.

More members are welcome!

Application & Fees

They welcome people from all backgrounds, who are interested in German culture, food or language. You can apply for membership by filling in one of the application forms once it becomes available onsite. https://www.vacbc.ca/club/membership/

The yearly fee is $75.00 ($125.00 for couples), but these prices are subject to change.

Elke eating Schnitzel
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