The Centre for Information, Meetings, Dialogue, Education and Prayer is a Catholic institution which began in 1992. It was founded by Archbishop Franciszek Cardinal Macharski in co-operation with the bishops of Europe as well as with representatives of Jewish organisations.
Although our house is called the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer, it often seems that we should not start with either prayer or dialogue. One should start with silence and listening, listening mainly to the voice of the earth of Oświęcim. This concrete encounter with the history of the place and visiting the memorial museum is deeply moving to almost everyone. We wish to help our guests by creating in the Centre an atmosphere of openness, friendship and peace. On request we help with the planning of programmes, we enable guests to get in touch with the memorial place, we are available for meetings, conversation and reflection.
Meetings with former prisoners are very important. They show not only the human face of suffering but also how to take responsibility for the future. As far as possible we help our guests to establish these contacts.
Auschwitz was a place where interpersonal relations were destroyed. This is the biggest wound and is bleeding until now. Healing can come only by meeting. Building trust "after Auschwitz" is an important task even if it is a difficult one. Trust is needed in order to encounter one another openly without fear and be able to listen and give testimony. To create such an atmosphere is our main task.
Dialogue and identity belong to each other. We invite you to participate in our religious retreats. Interfaith prayer in the context of Auschwitz fills us with hope. Auschwitz raises questions about God, evil, vocation, responsibility, guilt and forgiveness, Christian-Jewish relations. We encounter here great testimonies of faith and the victory of human dignity. In recent years the figure of Edith Stein and the example of John Paul II have become especially important.
Encounters between young people are both serious and joyful and make us aware of the living dimension of our “responsibility after Auschwitz.”
"Civilisation of Love" - Film by Christoph Wolf about the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim, 2009, 20 min.