As an official NGO Kreisau Initiative was established in 1989, so exactly in 2019 they will celebrate their big 30-years Jubilee. But the whole historical background of this organization is much older, than 30 years. From German the word “kreis” is translated as “a circle” and certainly, this word has a very significant meaning. In 1942-1943 a German Resistance group called “Kreisau Circle” worked in small village Kreisau, which geographically situated in Lower Silesia. They consisted of different groups of people, who had different political and religious views, but at the same time, were united by one important goal – to stop Nazis movement and develop peace plan for the future of Europe after the Second World War. They had secret meetings in the house of James von Moltke – the head of the resistance group. As the majority of stories about the resistance movements, this story had a very sad final. Almost all participants of the group were arrested by Nazis police, imprisoned and then sentenced to death. The widow of James von Moltke, Freya von Moltke, was forced to leave the family house with her children, without any possibility to come back in the nearest time.
After the War, Lower Silesia was assigned to Poland, Kreisau became Krzyżowa, and the estate was turned into a state company. The village of Kreisau, including the house of James von Moltke, was totally forgotten.
Only in the end of 80-s, when the democratic transformation, both in Germany and Poland became inevitable, people started looking for a place, where a real reconciliation between Poland and Germany could be possible. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 Prime Minister of Poland Tadeusz Mazowiecki and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl attended together reconciliation mass in Krzyzowa/Kreisau, what become a first step of further rebuilding and development of the place. At the same year by East and West Berliners was founded organization ‘’Kreisau Initiative’’ in order to support a new Youth Meeting Center in Krzyzowa in Poland.
Nowadays Kreisau Initiative e.V. is a well-established NGO, which has partners all around Europe and doing projects in three main branches: Inclusion, Social-Ecological Transformation and Contemporary History and Human Rights. Most of the projects are taking place in Youth Meeting Center in Krzyzowa (Poland). At that way the cooperation between two countries is possible not only on the political, but more on the level of informal communication, which is much more important for a mutual understanding. During the projects organized by Kreisau Intitative e.V. there are no borders, national preferences and age limitations. There are people, individuals, who can express themselves in different spheres and to open new horizons, look at the things from the different perspectives. That is more than formal education or political speeches – that is real people’s initiative, which is trying to change, at first the society, and then, the whole world for better.
All these stories about Kreisau/Krzyzowa and Kreisau Initiative as an established non-governmental organization could seem as a typical story, which could happen everywhere and with everybody, and nothing really special is going on here. But the only on fact, that such a small place became as a platform for mutual reconciliation and as an inspiration for further work on so many projects for people all around the world, makes it very significant. It is one more example, which shows us, that for the providing of a real dialogue between countries is not obligatory to do it on the unreachable high state level, where sometimes, the real people’s interests are not taking to consideration. It is enough to find a place and give a space, and everything else will come with a time. And if I personally am contributing such a meetings, and as a result, seeing happy faces of participants, my volunteering year is not passing for nothing.