Station: [16] The Tiele-Winckler-House & the "Friedenshort" Deaconesses

Opposite the north wing of the abbey, behind the Pigeon Tower, there’s a two-storey structure that is not at all like the historic buildings. The Tiele-Winckler House dates to the 1980s and is a reminder of an important chapter in Heiligengrabe's post-war history:

After the Red Army withdrew from Heiligengrabe in the summer of 1946, the deaconesses of the "Friedenshort" charitable foundation moved into the abbey building. The sisterhood had been founded in Upper Silesia in 1890 and was dedicated to working with homeless children and young people, the elderly and people with disabilities. After the expulsions of the post-war period, the deaconesses were looking for a new home for themselves and their charges, and they finally found one at Heiligengrabe abbey.

By the end of 1946, some 90 people were living in the grounds of the collegiate foundation. The Friedenshort deaconesses not only provided support to children in need of help – they also established a teacher training college that prepared young women for a working life in Protestant residential institutions and kindergartens.

In the early 1990s, the collegiate foundation launched extensive renovation work. At this point, the sisterhood left the abbey and moved into its own buildings, which had been erected by the Friedenshort charity in the former orchard beyond the abbey walls. The Tiele-Winckler House had previously served as accommodation for the deaconesses. Now, only a large common room with an adjoining kitchen on the ground floor was still in use for communal meals. 

Even today – seven decades after the arrival of the first deaconesses – the Stiftung Diakonissenhaus Friedenshort still carries out social work and diaconal ministry in Heiligengrabe, caring for people who need various kinds of help and assistance. However, there are no more deaconesses on site. Just a few years ago, the last, very elderly sisters moved from Heiligengrabe to the charity’s headquarters in Freudenberg in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Depiction 1 © Sarah Romeyke
Depiction 2 © Klosterstift zum Heiligengrabe