The legacy of the Kreisau Circle continued to have an impact beyond 1945, both in Germany and in Poland. Many saw the members of this group as role models for tolerant and open behaviour, and their ideas as a political conception of Europe that was not marred by chauvinism, overpowering national states and the rule of ideology.
However it was only towards the end of the 1980s, in the course of the “peoples’ autumn” in Central Europe, that interested parties from Poland, West Germany, East Germany, Holland and the USA first came together. They met initially in 1988 in Vermont, USA, to celebrate the centenary of Eugen Rosenstock Huessy, one of the spiritual fathers of the Kreisau Circle. On 4 June 1989, people from several countries attended a conference in Breslau at the “Club of the Catholic Intelligentsia” (KIK). First steps were taken at this meeting to preserve the Kreisau heritage, to create a community centre in Kreisau and to establish a European foundation.
While the Berlin Wall was in the process of collapsing in November 1989, the first freely elected Polish prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, and the German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, attended a reconciliation mass in Kreisau as the climax of the latter’s state visit and as a symbol of reconciliation of the two peoples.
The Kreisau Foundation for European Understanding was inaugurated in the summer of 1990 with the support of Poland, of Germans from both East and West Germany, as well as of people from other European countries and the USA. As the owner of the estate, the Kreisau Foundation had the building renovated with the financial support of the Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation. In line with the ideas of the Kreisau Circle, the Foundation and its partner institutions and associations are keen to contribute to European unity in a process that visualizes the responsibility and lively participation of civil societies.
The current community centre on the old estate of the Moltke family was formally opened in 1998 in the presence of the then German and Polish heads of government and numerous guests of honour. It caters for 180 people in both youth hostel and hotel standard, has rooms for events, for plenary and small groups, a translation system, and workshops for artistic work. A memorial to European resistance was set up in Kreisau Manor and in the Berghaus. This permanent exhibition gives information about the Kreisau Circle, and about selected individuals and groups belonging to the dissident and citizens’ movements of Central and Eastern Europe in the twentieth century. A memorial room located in the Berghaus is dedicated to the members of the Kreisau Circle and its workings.