About Kreisau

Marc Smith on the grounds of Kreisau/Krzyzowa, August 2009

The von Moltke family’s estate at Kreisau was, and still is, the symbolic center of the von Moltke family’s vision of a new democratic and tolerant Germany. The estate, initially in eastern Germany, now Poland, is the home base of The Kreisau Foundation, devoted to the teaching of democratic ideals and tolerance. On June 16, 2005, the Freya von Moltke Foundation for the New Kreisau was inaugurated in Berlin with Freya, herself, and German President Koehler in attendance. The foundation supports the educational work with young people at Kreisau (Krzyzowa). From the mid-1800s to present time, the von Moltke family is clearly at the epicenter of ‘the action’–helping to unite thirty-eight separate political units into one nation called Germany; creating a vital German anti-Nazi resistance; and creating an important center for the study of democratic values at Kreisau/Krzyzowa.

Poster Kiosk at Kreisau/Krzyzowa, August 2009; photos: Susan L. Smith
Marc Smith on the grounds of Kreisau/Krzyzowa, August 2009

Comments from Freya von Moltke in a communication to Marc P. Smith in September 2004.

Sept. 04 email, Freya

I taught my children and grandchildren nothing about our life and Helmuth James. What they know they learnt by living near me, with me, around me, as up ’til now they still do. There never was any conscious teaching. I told them stories, I gave them books to read. As my son Konrad once said when asked, “We did not speak much about my father, but he seemed always present.”
First of all, I want young people to get to know each other, to learn that different languages and different cultures does not mean not getting on. Abstractly put: to learn tolerance. None of our methods to run ourselves, peoples or societies, are perfect. As everything alive, they suffer aging processes and have to be reformed, changed, rejuvenated… Democracy has change built into it and gives the most input to the peoples that are being governed. Modern democracies have also tried to balance the main powers… that is very, very important, that balance. Democracy needs practice. It cannot be learnt from one day to another. It need years! To open the young people in Kreisau to such thought… seems the most important achievement. Also, maybe, to learn that it is necessary, but also gratifying, to stand up for what one believes in.