Skål International History: 1936

There were some cancellations during that year.

Florimond Volckaert recognises this and attributes it to the indifference of some new, more challenging clauses relating to the recruitment of members.

Skål International was starting to gain importance, and it was leaving some out in the cold to some extent to maintain professionalism standards.

There were clubs in Athens, Antwerp, Basel, Batavia, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Côte d'Azur, Geneva, Holland, Interlaken, Lausanne, Liege, London, Lucerne, Luxembourg, Marseille, Montreux, Paris, Stockholm, and Zurich. Subsequent clubs were established in Vienna, Lugano, and Oslo. Gothenburg and Du Nord (Lille) were having their applications processed. There were conversations with Barcelona, Belgrade, Berlin, Cairo, Chur (Switzerland), Fribourg, Nuremberg, Prague, and Zagreb.

Steering Committee meetings

On 25 January, the Steering Committee met at the Hotel Bodin in Paris. All members of the Committee received a 'Free Pass' for the French Railways. Present were Florimond Volckaert, Segre, Leon Schoevaerts, Pierre Soulié, Dr. Arnold Ith, Camille Mathez, Gache. In the afternoon came: Géo Thiry, W.H. de Lange. Excusing themselves were: George A. Wilczek, Axel Ekstam.

The Statutes were revised. The Skål Club Wallon Foundation Charter is presented. The creation of the Skål Club Luxembourg is discussed. A cry of alarm from the Skål Club Côte d'Azur due to the difficult situation they are going through. They decide to remove the files from the Gallet office and send them to Dr. Ith in Zurich, the new Secretary-General. Ith requests the creation of a general membership list. Insignias with a blue background and white (silver) image for active members and red background for honorary members.

The Treasurer reported a cash deficit of 1,658 Fr.F. The account is changed from the Bank of France to Credit Lyonnais. The Budget is approved.

  • Inflows: 1,500 members at 5 Fr., two new clubs at 250 Fr., sale of insignias 4,500 Fr. Total 12,500 Fr.F.

  • Outflows: Debit Balance 600 Fr., Printing and shipping of cards 4,500 Fr., Insignias 300 to 1,500 Fr. 4,500 Fr., General Secretariat Expenses 3,000 Fr., President and Treasurer Expenses 500 Fr., Travel expenses of the Steering Committee and special delegates 0 Fr., Circulars and Bulletin 1,000 Fr. Total 14,100 Fr.F. - Projected deficit 1,600 Fr.F.

* It is striking that despite many trips, the cost was zero. They had free tickets, and visits were always by invitation. Times have changed.

The Bulletin continued to be criticised, and it did not seem fair to use the time of M. Rouquerol and the money of the AISC if it is not in the clubs' interest.

* This same problem occurred in 1976 and again in 1993.

The publication of a Yearbook with the names of all the Skålleagues is approved: "The names of the Skålleagues will be known, as well as the names of the cities where we have a business, to get in touch with them." Subscription will be voluntary, and the Secretary-General will set the price and invite clubs to subscribe according to the number of requests. Each club will appoint a press delegate, who, contacting Thiry, will communicate the name of the local newspapers and how to contact them for Skål publications. Thiry will collect the clippings that are referred to Skål and sent to him by the clubs.

On 02 May, a new meeting of the AISC Steering Committee was held at the Hotel Baudin in Paris. Volckaert, P. Gache, Dr. Arnold Ith, de Lange, Segre, Thiry, Wilczek. Excused: Ekstam, Mathez, Schoevaerts, and Soulié.

The following means of transport are announced for the Stockholm Congress:

  1. From England, Swedish Lloyd Line to Gothenburg 30 pax.

  2. From France, Paris - Stockholm direct, 15 pax.

  3. From Belgium, Ferry Antwerp - Gothenburg, 10/15 pax.

  4. From Switzerland, rail to Hamburg, not limited.

Full-board accommodation, paid for by the AISC for the delegates. This cannot be offered to companions free of charge. The list of delegates must be sent before 20 June.

As clubs did not send membership lists, the World Yearbook could not be published. The Bulletin showed a deficit of 10,258.05 Fr. F. Curious to see how Segre and Ith take the floor, asking that the losses be paid by Rouquerol, due to his mismanagement and Ith adds that, as the new, recently-arrived Secretary-General, he does not want to accept any responsibility for the Bulletin. The Committee appoints Segre and Gache to control this. Special issues will be published on the occasion of the Berlin Olympics, featuring Aviation and Navigation. The Bulletin does not want to be discontinued and clings to any critical event.

The proposal was adopted to charge the delegates 50 Fr. F. for the Congress. As the trips, hotels, and meals were free, the deficit of the Bulletin would be covered by this amount.

We know that 200 Fr. was paid for the image of the new symbol from the Treasurer's accounts. The Budget was favorable at 892 Fr. F. The new card with leather covers is presented, dated 1936, but with the possibility of being used for several years by small annual stamps.

* I have a copy of these cards in my files in the name of H. W. Rollings, which was sent to me from England, by a granddaughter of that Skålleague. Peter Nedomansky sent me card number 18556, in the name of Raml Karl, from Linz. On top of this is a copy of Maurice Fanchtein's card, which they sent me from Paris.

The trade press requests further news from the clubs. Official languages of the AISC are declared: German, French, and English. The Assembly of Delegates will be in French, but votes may also be cast in German or English. The circulars and the Bulletin will be in French and those related to AISC or its organization, in French and English.

On 03 May, the Statutes Commission meetsThey present the new AISC Statutes, divided into 6 Titles: General Rules, Composition, Organisation, Honorary Committee, Treasury, and Special Provisions. There is a copy at the General Secretariat of the AISC.

The Steering Committee met on 02 August at the Hotel Schweizerhof in BaselThey discussed the obligations of the members of the Steering Committee. AISC cannot be left in the hands of people who do not comply or are simply on 'vacation.' These members should resign.

The Steering Committee meets again on 17 September. Date before the 4th Congress.

4th International Congress

From 18 to 20 September, the 4th International Congress of the AISC was held in StockholmWith the attendance of one hundred and seventy-five members of the Congress, from thirty clubs, from fourteen countries.

The program for this Congress mentions the names of the Honorary Members of the Swedish Skål club:

  • Ahlbert, N. J., Director of Swedish State Railways

  • Ekman, C. E., Consul and Director of Gotland Steamship Co.

  • Granholm, A., Managing Director of the State Railways

  • Jonsson, A., Managing Director of Swedish American Line

  • Ljungqvist, K., President of the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Proprietors’ Association

  • Nothin, T., Governor of Stockholm

  • Stjerna, C. A., Director of the State Railways

  • Akerman, G. R. J., General of the Stockholm City Council.

The very comprehensive and formal program contains the list of members of the Congress from Austria, Batavia (Dutch East Indies), Belgium, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland. And finally, the Swedes, with more than 100 skålleagues. Estonia, Finland, and Germany, as observers. They presented the 'Swedish Skål Club Song,' dated 18 September 1936 and published by the Swedish Traffic Association to greet the congress participants. The lyrics in Swedish, English, French, and German are by Vera Flygare. The French translation by Marc Chesnau and the melody 'Fjariln vinegared syn på Haga' by the poet C.M. Bellman. This very poetic song talks about Sweden, the country, its coasts and fields, its regions, and its people. The German translation by Erna Scholz and the English translation by C.H. Johnston.

The Organising Committee was comprised of:

  • Florman, C. from A.B. Aerotransport, President of the Skål Club of Sweden.

  • Ekstam, A. from Statens Järnvägars Resebyrå, Vice President of the Skål Club of Sweden.

  • Lindman, B. from Svenska Trafikförbundet.

  • Borgstedt, S. from Nyman & Schultz Resebureau.

  • Etterling, N.F. from Svenska Trafikförbundet, Skål Club of Sweden Press.

  • Ewerth, W. from Statens Järnvägars Resebyrå.

  • Sand, R. from Wagons-Lits / Cook’s Resebyrå.

  • Strömberg, E. from Nyman & Schultz Resebureau.

  • Strömberg, E.G.A. from A.B. Aerotransport.

  • Walberg, S. from A.B. Aerotransport.

Collaborating Companies:

  • A. B. Aerotransport

  • A. B. Nordiska Kompaniet

  • A. B. Nordisk Resebureau

  • A. B. Nyman & Schultz

  • Förnyade Ångfartygs A. B. Götha

  • Jonsson Sternhagen & Co.

  • Järnvägsaktiebolaget Stockholm – Saltsiön

  • Kungl. Generalpoststyrelsen

  • RTederi. A. B. Svenska Lloyd

  • Statens Järnvägar

  • Stockholms Restauratörförening

  • Svenska Amerika Linien

  • Svenska Trafikförbundet

  • Trafik A. B.  Stockholm - Nynäs

  • Touristtrafikföreningen för Stockholms Stad Och Stockholms Län

  • Ångfartygs A. B. Gotland

  • Ångfartygs A. B. Göta Kanal

The hotels used: Alexandra, Anglais, Astoria, Atlantic, Carlton, Central, Clara Larsson, Continental, Eden, Stockholm City, Excelsior, Grand Hotel - where the members of the Steering Committee were accommodated -, Hospital, Imperial, Kung Karl, Park, Patricia, Regina, Reisen, and Terminus. The number of hotels gives an impression that the delegates were distributed throughout the city. They were guests.

On 17 September, meeting of the Steering Committee at the K.A.K. Hotel, lunch, and dinner with the ladies at the Bromma Airport Restaurant.

On 18 September, the Opening Ceremony and Assembly of Delegates at the Roda Kvarn Theatre. Presided over by the Governor of Stockholm. There were lectures on Swedish tourism topics—verification of credentials and salute to the King of Sweden.

It was a year of reorganisation, motivated by the tremendous development of the AISC. New clubs in Vienna, Lugano, Oslo, and Finland. Later Berlin. The old symbol was changed to the new one, the current one, in the summer of that year. The Skål Club Antwerp made the insignias. The Assemblies and Congresses will be held in the first quarter of the year. Only the people who ensure their dedication to the position must accept it, and those who cannot attend must resign. There is already talk of hiring a salaried Secretary, who would be in charge of the administration of the AISC, the Secretariat and Treasury, the Bulletin, etc., following the instructions of the Steering Committee. The price is now two gold francs. It is planned to create a category of benefactor members, natural or legal persons, who would pay 100 to 200 gold francs—report from the External Auditor de Lange.

President Volckaert highlighted delegates from Finland, Estonia, Danzig, and Czechoslovakia, ready to found new clubs. The delegates unanimously agreed to pay fifty gold francs for the expenses of the Assembly, given the advantages they have in travel, hotels, and other services, most of them free. They did not know that the money would serve to pay the debts of the Bulletin.

Report from the Press Commissioner Thiry. Review of the Statutes. Voting will be by country. Each country will have three representatives, and the designation will be by the national clubs. Rouquerol reports on the Bulletin, the strikes in France, the political situation, and the lack of announcements made it impossible for all the planned numbers to appear.

They are elected by vote:

  • President: F. for the AISC.

  • Vice-Presidents:

    • L. Schoevaerts from Brussels.

    • C. C. Florman from Stockholm.

    • G. A. Wilczek from Lucerne.

    • M. R. R. Waugh from London.

    • W. H. E. Nieuwenhuys from Amsterdam.

  • Secretary-General: Dr. Ith from Zurich.

  • Treasurer: W. H. de Lange from Rotterdam.

  • Commissioners: 

    • Press, G. Thiry from Antwerp.

    • Travel: Victor Hahndorff from Germany.

    • Advertising: P. Gache from Marseille.

    • Accounts: C. Mathez from Nice and S. Crimes from London.

    • Auditors: L. Claes from Luxembourg and J. Montmarche from Paris.

* Laurent Claes from Luxembourg, married to a radio host from Radio Luxembourg, 'Here Radio Luxembourg,' was in the position of International Auditor until the 1970s when we met when I entered as Auditor of the AISC. He was one of the people who told me the most things about the early days.

New venues are approved for Congresses:

  • Spring 1937 Paris.

  • Spring 1938 London.

  • Spring 1939 Berlin.

*No one could imagine at that time how history would change those forecasts. On the other hand, it is curious to see how the tourist industry had a great shutdown in the spring. Nobody organized their trips in those days, and hotels and aviation companies were happy to collaborate with the travel agents in their congresses.

Lunch that day was on the Coast, at the Grand Hotel in Saltsjöbaden, invited by the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association. Dinner at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm.

The General Assembly took place on the 19th.

* Regarding that Assembly, I have a three-page letter that I received from Geo Thiry, on the occasion of an article of mine that was published in the Bulletin. It reveals the "first drama" that arose within the AISC, a tremendous quarrel between the French and the Swiss, who directed regrettable expletives, threatening to leave the AISC. Geo Thiry advised President Volckaert to suspend the session for half an hour and keep the 'two sides' apart, appealing for calm and perspective. As the meeting resumed, both delegations submitted their excuses and the traditional camaraderie returned. During the closing dinner, both delegations competed in toasts and courtesy. Geo Thiry was the Secretary-General of the AISC at the time and the mastermind.

The delegates took a sightseeing tour of Skansen, with lunch, visiting the City Hall and then the Assembly, until it was time for dinner at the Eden Terrace Hotel. Some went by boat to the island of Gotland and returned on the 21st. Those who remained went to the Stockholm Opera and had dinner at Cecil. Some of the members of the congress went to Visby and others to Uppsala to visit its historic university.

* The photos I have been able to find are from the Gala Dinner, which took place after witnessing the operetta 'The Count of Luxembourg,' at the Royal Opera. All very formal.

There were delegates and members of the congress from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Dutch East Indies, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the hosts, Sweden.

On 16 October, Secretary-General Dr. A. Ith wrote to the Secretaries of the clubs, informing them of the success of the Stockholm Congress and advising them that those clubs that do not comply with their obligations to the AISC must cancel their memberships. A complete list of members is required. For this, the National Committees must compile a list of members according to the different categories, making an exact indication of the profession and address, both professional and private. Deadline until 15 November. The profession was still important back then. Only professionals could be active members of Skål. The National Committees are discussed again.

The last meeting of the Steering Committee was in London, on 12 December. They decided that clubs from the same country must form a National Skål; the formula than used and appointed their national delegate, with a maximum of three votes. The fees are raised to 2 Fr. F. Capt. Florman did not agree to submit the list of members. The first at Skål, he was the first to prevent the fight against professional fraud.

They discussed the difficulties of meeting in some cities since everything is offered free of charge. The Skål Club Marseille is dissolved by six votes to five, with the maritime companies being the ones that brought forward the idea of dissolution.

After many years, the dream of the Skål Club Paris of having a permanent Headquarters finally came true. It was established at nine rue Auber, in the premises of the Air France Commercial Service. 

Meeting of the Steering Committee on 12 December 1936 in London. During the meeting, the Secretary-General gave an account of the activities of the AISC.

Antonio García del Valle

Honorary President, Skål International

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