‘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 Allies allowed to come to Caux in 1947. They were some of the first Germans to leave their country after…
"Deep down inside, I blamed the rich, I held them responsible for so many people’s unhappiness. I couldn’t accept that some could have everything they wanted without having to lift a little finger, while others had to work themselves to the bone.…
"My story is not special, or mine. It belongs to this conference centre. It is 75 years long and contains hundreds of thousands of train rides, walks, talks, teas, conversations, and quiet moments of giant transformation." - As we launch a series of…
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