In 1942/43 a German resistance group called Kreisau Circle worked in Kreisau/Krzyżowa on peace plans for the future of Europe after the World Word II. The Kreisau-Initiative aims at initiating activities based on the heritage of the Kreisau Circle, that facilitate peaceful co-existence of nations and social groups in Europe. In 1993, the International Youth Meeting Center was established in Krzyżowa. Since then, in conjunction with the Krzyżowa Foundation for European Understanding, we have been organising workshops, trainings and meetings for different target groups.
Our projects are international with participants coming from all over the world, belonging to different generations and having different educational and social backgrounds. Moral courage, social and political engagement, commitment to democracy and human rights are the main focus of our work. Thematically, our projects fall into the fields of contemporary history and human rights, inclusive education, sustainability and intergenerational dialogue.
The Kreisau-Initiative was honoured with the Marion-Dönhoff-Förderpreis in December 2007 for its service in furthering the German-Polish relationship, international understanding, and the memorializing of the German resistance against National Socialism.
In 2008, Annemarie Cordes, co-founder of the Initiative and member of the board, was honoured with the "einheitspreis (unity prize)-Citizen's Award for German Unity" by the Federal Agency for Civic Education. The prize is given in recognitiona to people and projects that show that key efforts (such as the fostering of German unity and the rapprochement between East and West) can only succeed if they become ingrained in the consciousness of each member of society.
In 2010, the Kreisau-Initiative was named the winner of the competition "365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas." The sponsor of the contest was the initiative "Germany-the Land of Ideas," a cooperation between the federal government and German business, under the patronage of former President Horst Köhler.
In 2014, the Krzyżowa Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary and the new outdoor exhibition "Courage and Reconciliation" was opened by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz. In the same year, Kreisau-Initiative was awarded the prize "25 Years of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Remembering the Past, Shaping the Present" by the Federal Agency for Civic Education.
And Krzyżowa today? Every year it welcomes up to 10,000 people who not only come from different countries of the world, but differ in age, fame and many other characteristics. They get to know each other, discuss, and argue.