Station: [21] The Friends' Association

The houses at Markt number 4 and Schloss-Strasse number 1 are now called the Cranach-Höfe, the Cranach Courts. They’re owned by the city of Wittenberg. But without the energetic efforts of Wittenberg residents, history would have taken another course. 

It all began in 1989, when local people appealed in the churches, calling for the historic Cranach Courts to be preserved. They’d recognised what treasures stood in the middle of their town – treasures that were increasingly falling into disrepair.

The photographs on the walls to your right and left show the condition of the Courts before they were refurbished. Following the original appeal, an action group was set up to support the project with donations and the work of volunteers. In January 1990, the group drew up a charter establishing a foundation, and submitted the document to the then district court, so it could be registered. Due to the social upheaval – this was the time of German reunification – the registration was delayed, because East Germany had no legal framework governing such foundations.

So the action group initially became a “Verein” – a club or association, registered as "Stiftung Cranach Höfe e. V." (which translates as Cranach Courts Foundation). Right from the start, the members were very active; they organised events in the derelict buildings, collected donations and canvassed for sponsors, which would allow them to set up a Community Foundation. In September 1994, the time had come, and the Cranach Foundation was established.

From 1995 onwards, the city had extensive restoration work carried out in both Courts, in consultation with the Foundation, and with due regard to the rules governing the preservation of historical monuments. You’ve seen the results on your tour. The Friends still support the Foundation even now. They work in the museum as volunteers, assist at festive events and help to fund the Foundation’s cultural activities with their membership fees.


All depictions: © Dagmar Trüpschuch und Cranach Stiftung