‘We had the great joy of deciding to sell our house and give the money to Caux,’ Anneli Zeller told the conference on the 29 July 1956. ‘The man we sold it to was so impressed that he gave 10,000 Swiss francs to Caux as well.’ It was an elegant…
‘We were catapulted into history,’ said Manasseh Moerane, one of the writers of Freedom. The play was seen by 30,000 people all over Europe and demand was so great that they decided to make a film. Freedom is thought to have been the first full-…
When Saidie Patterson, a trades union organizer from Northern Ireland, spoke at the conference centre at Caux in 1954, she was keen to point out that Moral Re-Armament (now Initiatives of Change) had not weakened her fighting spirit. ‘I thought this…
In 1953, Mohamed Masmoudi, a young Tunisian nationalist living a semi-clandestine existence, came to Caux, more or less smuggled across the border into Switzerland. At Caux, he lost his hatred of the French and later became the first Tunisian…
When Elsbeth Spoerry from Switzerland helped to clean up the derelict Caux Palace for the first conference in 1946, she could hardly have guessed that, six years later, she would get married there to a Scot wearing a kilt and with over 1,000…
‘He would have looked at home serving behind a bar down the street,’ the Swiss Jean-Jacques Odier wrote of his first meeting with Maurice Mercier in the offices of France’s Force Ouvrière textile workers federation. ‘But in the following weeks, as…
The Japanese flag was flying outside the conference centre as 64 Japanese arrived in Caux in 1950. It was a moving moment as back in Japan, still under American occupation, displaying the flag was forbidden.
Max Bladeck joined the Communist Party as a young German coal miner in the 1920s. He remained loyal during the Hitler years when tens of thousands of communists were imprisoned or lost their lives. By the time he arrived in Caux in 1949, his lungs…
Germany was in ruins. Europe was in ruins. Millions had been killed; millions more wounded and displaced. There were also ruins of the mind, deep collective trauma in desperate need of healing. In the summer of 1948, a musical revue was created in…
‘At that time, even a dog would have refused a bit of bread from the hand of a German,’ remembered Peter Petersen, one of 150 Germans who the Alies allowed to come to Caux in 1947. They were some of the first Germans to leave their country after…
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