In this year the venue of the „Intercultural Places“ project, the village of Krzyzowa / Kreisau in Poland, is of a particular historic significance: Krzyzowa is a vibrant place of meeting and dialogue, which lives from the diversity of people meeting here, from their ideas and activities. The Krzyzowa Foundation fosters the development of the European civil society and will be hosting the project.
The village of Krzyzowa (German Kreisau, until 1930 Creisau) is a village situated approximately 10 km southeast of Swidnica and 51 km southwest of the regional capital Wroclaw, Lower Silesia The village has an approximate population of 220. Centre of the village is the Estate and manison dating back to the 18th century, which is now used as a meeting place in the spirit of the „Keisauer Kreis“ (the Kreisau Circle) and which will be the venue of the IP 2011. As a site of specific historic significance the location offers the ideal setting for the theme of the IP 2011. Due to its use as venue for conferences and events the centre is also suited for the IP, offering all infrastructure / logistics necessary.
The „Kreisau Circle“
Helmuth James von Moltke was one of the leading personalities in the opposition against Hitler and his regime. In 1942 and 1943 the private home of the von Moltke familly, the so-called „Berghaus“, hosted clandestine meetings of the opposition group, which later, according to the Gestapo labelling, made history as the „Kreisau Circle“. The resistance group discussed in Kreisau / Krzyzowa the options of a post-war policy in Germany without Hitler. Their approach comprised not only the political recommencement after the end of National Socialism but also the intellectual and political reformation of the whole society based on the Christian ethos of Europe. The members of the circle were envisaging Germany as one partner in the future peace- framework for all Europe and thus were anticipating developments which are currently carried out in the European Union. Many members of the Kreisau Circle were executed in 1944/45, following the discovery of the resistance group after the assassination attempt to Hitler on the 20th July 1944.
Estate and castle today
The need to maintain the remembrance of the Kreisau Circle led to the establishment of the Krzyzowa Foundation for Mutual Understanding in Europe in 1989/90 as part of the European Civil Movement, in which people from Poland, Germany but also from other European countries and the United States got involved. On November 12th 1989 a Polish – German reconciliation service took place on the estate with participation of the German chancellor Helmut Kohl and the Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki. The Krzyzowa Foundation as now owner of the estate (which became state owned after WW II) refurbished the premises in 1998, and transformed it into today’s meeting and conference center. In the former von Moltke estate accommodation for 177 visitors by both youth hostel and hotel standards is provided and it also offers spaces for different types of events such as plenary and small-group sessions including simultaneous translation, and workshops for artistic activities.
Significance of memorial and museum
A memorial for the European resistance has been established in the Kreisau Castle and the „Berghaus“, the former private home of the von Moltke familly. A permanent exhibition set up in the castle informs visitors about the Kreisau Circle and personalities and groups of the Dissidents- and Civil-Movements in Central and
East Europe. The area of the Krzyzowa Foundation comprises also the Chapell’s Hill, where the mausoleum of Helmuth von Moltke and his wife Freya is located as well as the Moltke family’s cemetery and some tombs of unknown origin, presumably, the graves of soviet prisoner of war dating back to Word War II. In addition Krzyzowa hosts the European Academy, which, operating in the spirit of the site and its history, explores the cultural landscape of Silesia and its more then 1000 years lasting history. The Academy supports the regional development and fosters other regional European projects. It communicates knowledge and information about the European Union and seeks to promote the pan-European discourse. Worldwide many institutions are committed to the meeting place of Krzyzowa, the core of a widely ramified network of various cooperating organisations.