The history

On March 16, 1959 the “Katholische Jugendhaus Berlin Ludwig-Wolker-Haus e.V.”, a Catholic Youth Center in Berlin, was founded by the people responsible at the Bund der Katholischen Jugend (BDKJ), the Catholic Youth Federation. Their objective was to serve Catholic youth education work and establish and maintain a central education and training center for Catholic youths. 

Initially this convention and training center, which incorporates adjoining rooms for conferences, international seminars, East and West encounters and promotes a range of initiatives concerned with the spiritual needs of young people, was planed to accommodate the central agencies for young Catholics (Diocesan Society of the BDKJ Berlin, Episcopal Department for Youth Counseling Berlin, representatives of the BDKJ-Federal Union and the Episcopal Central Office for Youth Counseling). 

Since its establishment, the Ludwig-Wolker-Haus e.V. was subjected to numerous extraneous influences (churchly and historically). The facility’s history was and is tightly connected with the events in Berlin. Following the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the euphoria of its early stages gave way to disillusionment and resignation. Apart from a few exceptions this atmosphere seemed to continue until the events of autumn 1989. The Ludwig-Wolker-Haus e.V also perceived this period of change and new beginning. With new spirit and dedication, those people responsible took on the task of realizing goals and ideas. The original peace and reconciliation work between France and Poland that was to take place in the intended facility, was modified according to the altered (political) general conditions and more “Europeanized” and “internationalized”. 

Today the work of the Ludwig-Wolker-Haus focuses on international exchange programs with partner organizations from East (Central) European countries e.g. Poland, Czech Republic and Russia, and also countries such as Israel and Turkey. In addition, the intention is that the Berlin location plays an important role in the Ludwig-Wolker-Haus’s youth educational outreach work, which is politically orientated. Due to the center’s religious self-conception, it seeks to provide, develop, test and propose inter-religious dialogues while taking into account the plural denominational situation in Berlin. 

The association and the education center were named after the prelate Ludwig Wolker (1887-1955), who as a true Catholic pastor was involved, all of his life, with the work of the Catholic Youth Organization. Among his other duties, he worked since 1926 as head minister of the Catholic Organization for Young Men in Germany. 

During the National Socialistic Dictatorship, he particularly protested against the prevailing unjustness, and stood up for his idea of Christian values. In 1945, the German Catholic Bishops' Conference of Fulda commissioned him to construct and head the (central) Episcopalian office for Catholic youth counseling. Furthermore, between 1947 and 1952 he assumed the function of the first Federal Minister of the BDKJ, the Catholic Youth Federation. Thus, he was significant in shaping the development of the youth organization's work during the phase of reconstruction.

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