`When women get together we can do anything!´
Sharon Muller, BIWC co-founder
The Club was founded in 1992, three years after the fall of the Berlin wall, at a time when Potsdamer Platz – a flattened buffer zone between the east and west of the city – was starting to be rebuilt. It was a vibrant boom time, with Germans and non-Germans from all over the world arriving to live in the city.
“The greatest joy was the influx of new and exciting women. They were coming as a career move, joining their husbands or just to see for themselves what was happening.” writes club co-founder, Debra Engler.
In late 1991, Debra met fellow English woman Sharon Muller by chance while out shopping and, later chatting over a pot of tea, they discovered a shared concern that the existing women’s associations in Berlin were mainly only for the British, American and French communities, a legacy of the allied troops in the city after the war.
“It just simply didn’t meet the needs of women arriving from so many different nations.” writes Debra.
So in April 1992, they organised an open meeting at a friend’s house and were surprised to find over 80 enthusiastic women attended. The club was founded, and by October was applying for legal registration, welcoming its 100th member the following month.
The new club organised its first international trip to Holland the following year to meet members of The Hague International Women’s Club, which led to the BIWC’s affiliation with the International Women’s Association and the Open Door Association.
The BIWC was now part of an active worldwide network of women’s clubs similarly promoting international understanding and good will.