Culture of Remembrance

Feb 17, 2020

 Exhibition project “100 years AStA”

  • Are you interested in history?
  • You would like to participate in an interdisciplinary exhibition project and present your results to the public?
  • Then get in touch now!

In 2019 the General Students’ Committee (AStA) of the RWTH celebrates its centenary – reason enough to take a look at the eventful history of the student body! In an interdisciplinary project, students from all disciplines work together and create content that will be presented in an exhibition later this year.

Wait a minute - what is the AStA exactly?
If you have ever attended one of the legendary Semester Beginners Parties (SAP), a lecture hall slam or a jazz evening, you actually already know us. We are the General Students’ Committee (AStA) of the RWTH Aachen University and represent your interests – be it towards the university, the ASEAG or the state. In addition to a wide range of cultural activities, we can advise you free of charge on legal matters, housing and BAFöG. We are constantly committed to making your time at RWTH Aachen University the best of your life – since 1919.

And that’s how it goes: Within the framework of the project, you will work on a given or self-chosen aspect of the AStA’s history, tap into original sources and write an essay of a few pages about it – this essay serves on the one hand as the basis for the exhibition content and on the other hand as a building block for an accompanying publication. Our project leaders are always at your side for research, source work and writing. The project “Remembrance Culture: Between Lecture Hall and Swastika”, which was completed last year and was a complete success, already worked in a similar way. Thematically, you can literally draw from the full, because in a hundred years of AStA history, a lot of interesting, sometimes even bizarre and tragic episodes have accumulated. Did you know that …

  • … without the AStA, there might not have been a separation between mechanical engineers and electrical engineers (and thus possibly never a Unicup!)?
  • … The AStA and the Ministry of Science clashed violently at the end of the eighties because the AStA protested against the increase in student fees and stopped the passing on of the contributions paid in?
  • … the AStA used to run not only a bicycle repair shop, but also a driving school, a kiosk and a cinema?

We get to the bottom of these and many other connections. You have an exciting idea that we should definitely consider? Then join in! Apart from an interest in history, the prerequisite is the willingness to deal with the past of the AStA. Students of all disciplines are welcome, we will provide you with the necessary tools and background knowledge at the beginning of the project. Before the project really gets underway, you can already browse a little on our homepage.

The AStA in review - important dates in its history
Whether avant-garde or reactionary, left or right, in its hundred years the AStA has served systems and ideologies that could not be more different. An excerpt. 1919: How it all began. The First World War left behind not only an economically ruined Germany, but also a deeply divided student body. A prudent majority of war students, who founded General Student Committees (ASten) at all universities in the Republic in the spring of 1919 and for the first time gave students a democratically elected voice, were able to assert themselves. In order to alleviate the material hardship of the post-war period, the ASten initiated the construction of housing offices and refectories. At the same time they worked on a reform of the university. 1933: The road to National Socialism. By the 19th century, large sections of the student body had already become receptive to national and anti-Semitic slogans. In the slipstream of National Socialism, a hitherto undreamed-of radicalisation took place, which did not leave the AStes unaffected. In many places it was they who opened the hunt for supposedly leftist and Jewish university lecturers – and this long before they had to hand over their competences to the so-called student leadership, which, as a devoted tool of the National Socialists, took over the political and ideological training of the students. 1968: Protest, uprising, resistance. Hardly any other year stands for student protest as much as 1968. All over Germany, students demonstrated against the encrusted higher education system, the government and the lack of confrontation with the Nazi era. A central organisational unit of the protests was the ASten, which in many university towns were dominated by left-wing students and called for reforms. 1968 was by no means the end – the spirit of the “68ers” continued to have an effect far into the 1970s and caused conflicts between left- and right-wing student groups.

Curious? Register now at for further information. We look forward to seeing you!