15. December 2020

International Workcamps: History Of A Peace Movement

In autumn 1920, the Swiss pacifist Pierre Cérésole organized the first international workcamp together with like-minded young people.

The aim of the group was to help rebuild the village of Esnes, near Verdun, which was destroyed in the First World War. Volunteers from France, Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland pitched in together - a commitment that was not only welcomed, especially because of the German participation.

Cérésole and his group were not deterred by this. Together they organized further workcamps, this time with the aim  to eliminate the consequences of natural disasters. From the beginning, they pursued the vision of building an international peace service network.

In 2020 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of international workcamps.

This year went completely different from what we had imagined in autumn 2019. But even if we could organize almost only virtual camps and meetings due to the 2020 pandemic, we are convinced: Thinking and acting in solidarity across borders is especially important right now. Working together for peace and a better world is just as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.

International workcamps have brought people together across national borders, created friendships and established families. Together with other international workcamp organizations, we want to make the commitment of volunteers from all over the world for peace and solidarity more visible.

Here you can read the full history of international workcamps from 1920 to today (in German language).