It was on
the 18th October 1962 that a small number of persons eager to enhance the
propagation of German culture on the Island, accepted the invitation of Chev.
Elias Zammit, M.B.E., K.M., then Consul General of the Federal Republic of
Germany in Malta, to meet in his office, in what is today Republic Street in
Valletta in order to form an Association with the aim of fostering better
relations between the two nations. During this historic meeting, the members
present, signed in the presence of the then German Ambassador for the United
Kingdom, H.E. Dr. Hasso von Etsdorf, the Memorandum of
Association, which gave formal and legal birth to the German-Maltese
members of this new Association, numbering then around 60 persons, started
meeting regularly once a month in the office of the German Consulate in
Valletta. Within a few months the first statute of the German-Maltese Circle
was formulated and approved. Chev. Elias Zammit became the Circle's first
President, a post he held until 1965. In 1964, the German-Maltese Circle
organised its first public activities with the visit to Malta of the Bielefeld
Youth Chamber Choir and with an active participation during the official visit
in Malta of the German Navy Frigates, the "Graf Spee" and the
P. Pisani was the Circle's second President between 1965 and 1969. In November
1966, the German-Maltese Circle rented a small flat in Scots Street, in
Valletta, where the members used to meet once weekly. During that same year,
the Circle's Committee donated a collection of etchings on the Apocalypse by
the famous German artist Albrecht Dürer to the Cathedral Museum in Mdina, where
one can still admire it in what is commonly referred to as Dürer's Hall. The
first German language courses organised by the German-Maltese Circle for adults were
launched in April 1967. For want of proper space and facilities, these courses
were then held in the premises of the Old University Buildings in St. Paul's
Street, Valletta under the guidance of Rev. J. Milne, M.A., B.D.
the course of some of the most hotly debated General Meetings in the history of
the German-Maltese Circle, a new Statute was approved in December 1968. Through
the assistance of the then German Ambassador to Malta, H.E. Dr. Karl Gustav
Wollenweber, the German-Maltese Circle organised in November 1969 a grand
concert with the participation of the famous German pianist Prof. Detlef
L. Craig, M.D., was elected President of the German-Maltese Circle in 1969, to
be followed in 1970 by Chev. Carmel Fenech. In November 1970, the
German-Maltese Circle moved to a bigger flat situated in Gunlayer Street,
Floriana. Amongst the activities which were organised to mark the official
opening of this new premises, one can mention the Beethoven Exhibition, the
concert by Prof. Ludwig Holscher and Prof. Karl Lautner and the planting of
twenty-two trees in a part of Boschetto Gardens which part became henceforth
known as the German Grove.
Professor Ralph Dahrendorf, then Under Secretary of State of the Federal
Republic of Germany, paid an official visit to Malta. This visit turned out to
be of utmost importance in establishing the German-Maltese Circle into the
healthy Association we know today. On the initiative of the then German
Ambassador, H.E. Baron York Alexander von Wendland, Professor Ralph Dahrendorf
entered into discussions with the Circle's officials. He soon realised the
potential and the important role which the German-Maltese Circle could play
towards fostering a healthy atmosphere in the field of good relations between
Germany and Malta. Through his direct intervention arrangements were made so
that, the Circle receives financial assistance from the Government of the
Federal Republic which funds go towards the promotion of the German language
worthwhile recalling here that in the period between 1965 and 1975, the
German-Maltese Circle made quite a name for itself in the field of social
entertaining and sports activities. These very popular activities which were
organised on a very regular basis were most important in promoting the Circle’s
name and objectives, thus increasing its membership numbers.
With membership always on the increase, with
a bigger demand for the German language and with the Circle's Committee's wish
to involve itself much more in the organisation of cultural activities, the
need arose for the Circle to find a more central and spacious premises.
therefore with great joy and with a deep sense of satisfaction to all that on
the 23rd May 1975, the German Ambassador, H.E. Herr Hans-Joachim Steinbach
together with the Hon. Dr. Anton Buttigieg, then Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Justice, and in the presence of many distinguished guests,
officially opened Messina Palace in St.
Christopher Street, Valletta as the German-Maltese Circle's new premises. This
majestic Palace, formerly known as Casa Rocca Grande, was built towards the end
of the 16th Century by Fra Pietro La Rocca, Prior of Santo Stefano and later
Admiral of the Fleet of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
number of cultural activities with the
participation of Maltese and of German artists and personalities which were
organised under the auspices of the German-Maltese Circle since then are too
numerous and varied to be listed. Messina Palace has been the venue and has
given a bigger and a more elegant dimension to the exhibitions, vocal and
instrumental concerts, recitals, liederabends, lectures, forums, seminars and
to all sorts of socio-cultural events organised or hosted there by the
personal initiative of the German Ambassador H.E. Herr Kurt Schmidt, the
German-Maltese Circle organised a Film Festival of German Opera in 1979. This
proved to be one of the most successful landmarks in the Circle's list of
cultural events, with literally thousands of people from all walks of life
crowding the Republic Hall at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta
and the Catholic Institute in Floriana to watch these masterpieces on film.
Between 1980 and 1987 the German-Maltese Circle sponsored German-Maltese Vocal and
Instrumental Concerts at the Cathedral Museum in Mdina under the direction of Mro Joseph Vella. The
main feature of these concerts was the premiere performance of a musical score
by a composer whose works lay in the archives of the Mdina Cathedral Museum.
These Concerts are considered as forming a vital part of Malta's
International Certificate Conference (ICC), a European Association whose aims
are those of co-ordinating the work of Adult Education Centres in the field of
tutor training and in the area of a uniform certificate system held one of its
conferences in Messina Palace in November 1985.
The German-Maltese Circle was at that time a member of the ICC.
Through its collaboration with the Goethe Institute, the German-Maltese Circle can guarantee professional standards in
its German language courses besides being
the only examination centre in Malta which offers the well-known Goethe
Silver Jubilee Choral and Orchestral Concert with the participation of the
Akkademja Chorus and Orchestra and of the Laudate Pueri Choir at the Cathedral
Church in Mdina was the climax in a series of cultural events which were
organised in 1987 under the Patronage of the then German Ambassador, H.E.
Gottfried Pagenstert, a versatile personality who had great faith in the
Association and who constantly worked towards enhancing the importance and
popularity of the German-Maltese Circle not only locally but also in Germany.
The German-Maltese Circle started organising in 1987 the German Pavilion at the International Trade Fair of
Malta promoting Germany as Malta's largest trading partner - an event which has
continued annually till 2002.
unprecedented decision by the Federal Government led to the German-Maltese
Circle to acquire its own premises in 1989. The Federal Government in fact financed the purchase of Messina Palace
which henceforth became the property of the Circle. Forty Years Federal Republic of Germany and twenty-five years of
diplomatic relations between Germany and Malta in 1989 and in 1990 respectively,
were two events commemorated by the Circle through the organisation of a varied
programme of activities with the participation of Maltese and German personalities. 1990 also saw the visit to Messina Palace of
the first President of a United Germany, H.E. Dr Richard von Weizsäcker. During that same year Deutsche Welle
presented to the German-Maltese Circle a satellite TV reception system, while a
group of a hundred youths from the former East Berlin were brought to Malta for
a cultural visit with the assistance of the German-Maltese Circle.
big success was registered with a German Music Week organised in 1998 under the
patronage of H.E. Mr Gerhard Kunz who had replaced H.E. Dr Martin Florin as
Ambassador of the Federal Republic in Malta. The highlight of this Week was a concert at St John’s Co-Cathedral in
Valletta by the Konstanzer Kammerchor which attracted an audience of over 700.
The German-Maltese Circle celebrated the 250th Anniversary of Goethe’s birth with the theatrical production of “Faust” at the Malta Drydocks in 1999. The year 2000 saw the launching of the German-Maltese Circle on the Internet. During that same year the Circle celebrated its 38th Anniversary with the performance of Mendelsshon's Oratorio "Paulus" at St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta with the participation of the Swabian Concert Chorus and the Malta National Orchestra.
In 2001, H.E.
Mr Georg Merten became Germany's Ambassador to Malta while Mr
Albert Friggieri was elected as the new President of the
German-Maltese Circle. That same year, the Circle together
with other European Cultural Centres represented on the Island,
organised ILSNA - a musico-literary evening dedicated to the
European Year of Languages (EYL) at the Nicolo Isouard Hall of the
Manoel Theatre. The EYL was also the theme for a Poster and
Essay Competition organised by the German-Maltese Circle.
Hundreds of schoolchildren from all over Malta and Gozo submitted
colourful posters for this Competition. The year 2001 also
saw the introduction of German language courses for schoolchildren
at Messina Palace.
fortieth Anniversary since the foundation of the German-Maltese
Circle in 2002 was characterised by the many cultural events
organised throughout the year amongst which was the contemporary
dance production "Into the Blue" by the Jan Pusch Dance
Company which performance took place at the Manoel Theatre.
2005 the German-Maltese Circle became a "Kulturgesellschaft des
Goethe Instituts" (a Cultural Association of the Goethe
Institute). Also that year, the Circle brought over the
Compagnie Fredewess to give a public performance of yet another
contemporary dance production called "Body Motion" at the Manoel
2007 saw the
beginning of the presidency of Mrs Ingrid Kidder who thus became the
first German and the first female to lead our Association.
The German-Maltese Circle celebrated its 45th Anniversary in 2007
which event culminated with the visit of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany,
Prof. Dr. Horst Köhler to Messina Palace where he met
German Nationals living in Malta.
German-Maltese Circle in collaboration with the Goethe Institute
organised the First Festival of German Films at St James Cavalier in
Valletta in 2009, an event which continues annually with great
success. That same year, the German-Maltese Circle was
licensed as a Prüfungszentrum des Goethe Instituts, with the
consequence that all Goethe Institute examinations became available
in Malta. Our Association took a leading role in the
organisation of the Education Fair "Welcome to German!" which was
held at the Maria Assumpta Girls Secondary School in Hamrun in
October 2010. This event, held under the patronage of the then
German Ambassador, H.E.Mr Bernd Braun was visited by over 1000
schoolchildren learning German in schools in Malta and Gozo.
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