100 Years of DSW

“Of systemic relevance for 100 years” – founding of the Deutsches Studentenwerk in 1921

The Deutsches Studentenwerk (the German National Association for Student Affairs – DSW) commemorates its founding exactly 100 years ago. As the Association states, the “Wirtschaftshilfe der Deutschen Studentenschaft e.V.” (economic support for German students, reg. Ass.) was founded in Tübingen on the 19th February 1921, and headquartered in in Dresden.

As the umbrella organisation of “Studentenhilfen” (student welfare services) already established in Dresden, Bonn, Munich and other cities from 1919 on, the “Wirtschaftshilfe” was the immediate predecessor organisation of the Deutsches Studentenwerk, which assumed this name in 1929.

In view of the coronavirus pandemic and the difficult situation which both the students and the student services organisations are in during the digital semesters, for the time being, the Deutsches Studentenwerk is not planning any major events celebrating its founding 100 years ago, declares DSW General Secretary Achim Meyer auf der Heyde. “At the moment, we are focusing our resources on supporting students who are in an emergency situation owing to the pandemic, for example with the bridging support provided by the German Federal Government. This also applies to the student services organisations,” Meyer auf der Heyde says.

He draws a historical parallel between 1921 and 2021: “In 1921, the economic support groups for students, from which the student services organisations evolved, were seeking to mitigate the greatest material hardship among students. This is exactly what they are also concentrating on today, right in the middle of the pandemic, which is why all 57 student services organisations are engaged in implementing the bridging support provided by the Federal Government. The student services organisations have demonstrated their systemic relevance for what are now 100 years.”

To mark its founding 100 years ago, the Deutsches Studentenwerk has presented the first historical monograph on the National Socialist “Reichsstudentenwerk”. Under the NS dictatorship, the student services organisations were standardised; their umbrella organisation was harnessed and integrated in the overall structure of the dictatorship.


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