BEFORE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE FOUNDATION
After World War II the estate of the Moltke family, nearly five hundred hectares, was joined with other estate and a State-owned Farm was formed. Although the buildings were still being used, they were crumbling especially in the 1970s. However there was a number of the interested in the complex of Krzyżowa. Two of which are most worth mentioning: a law historian from Wrocław Prof. Ph.D. Karol Jonca and a political scientist from Amsterdam Prof. Ph.D. Ger van Roon.
In the ‘70s Prof. Jonca was intensely studying the history of the Moltke family and Kreisau Circle, a lot of publications have been released. In those days in Poland, dealing with the Resistance was perceived as opportunism and involved sad professional consequences. Together with Anna Morawska, who as far back as in 1967 published a book about Bonhoeffer “A Christian in the Third Reich”, Prof Jonca thanks to his consistent actions contributed to popularisation of knowledge about German resistance and creation of a new image of Germany. As far back as in 1967 Ger van Roon in his fundamental publication “A new order in the Resistance” (Neuordnung im Widerstand) provided the public with a lot of information about Kreisau Circle. His later publications made van Room a historiographer of Kreisau Circle. The fact that the historiographer was Dutch, not German, was due to the position of contemporary German resistance in the public opinion of Germany and its historical literature. Its own resistance against the Third Reich was not commonly approved or respected.
All the attempts of Prof Jonca to save at least the palace in Krzyżowa or commemorate it with a memorial came to naught. They did not correspond to the political situation. Although he has made a number of attempts in Germany, also Jonca has failed to make specific steps to be taken in order to save Krzyżowa or at least to preserve the memory of this historical place. Neither efforts of Bundestag-MPs nor help of the Foundation of Ebert Friedrich, who wanted to save it from oblivion, did not help.
The situation changed a bit at the end of the ‘80s. Since the summer of 1987 evangelical students of theology of South Berlin Language Boarding School were studying the new European order. Two of them Stefan Steinlein and Wolfram Bürger, supported by Prof. Wolfgang Ullmann studied the vision of Eugen Rosenstock-Huesseg and the writing of Kreisau Circle. During their studies they had an idea to find a place in central Europe to meet and exchange opinions. Their ideas to create a house in Krzyżowa, where they could think about a new Europe, were listed in their conception “Helmuth James von Moltke planetary house of study”.
Franz von Hammerstein, a chairman of Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (West), was reached out to and contacted Freya and Konrad von Moltke in the USA to familiarise them with plans of the young Berliners. Franz von Hammerstein used his contacts with Rosenstock-Huessy Fund which is preserving the heritage of Rosenstock-Huessy and Kreisau Circle. Commemoration sessions in East Berlin and the USA, held in autumn of 1988, a hundredth birthday of Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, became an opportunity to meet for the interested. A Jesuit from Kraków father Adam Żak was also convinced to the idea. Searching for partners interested in the project, he came across young, interested in the idea members of The Wroclaw Catholic Intelligentsia Club. Among them was Michał Czapliński, who got in touch with his friend in East Berlin Ludwig Mehlhorn and together they met Stefan Steinlein. The result of this meeting was a lecture of Steinlein in the Wrocław Club in February 1989, where he met Prof. Jonca.
In June 1989 in Wrocław a seminar for over a hundred people was held on the innocent subject “A Christian in society”. Secret service looked at the meeting with disapproval. In reality the participants of the seminar discussed the common project, the result of which was a letter sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Polish People’s Republic on 4th June 1989. In the letter they proposed the establishment of “an international meeting centre for the young generation of Europeans” and of the “museum of the European resistance movement against Nazi Germany”. The Chancellery of Germany was also informed.
Based on the publication “In the centre of Europe – in Krzyżowa”, Krzyżowa 1998, edited by Jürgen Teltschow