Stalag VIII A site is located in Poland on the border of the municipality and the city of Zgorzelec. The idea to build a European Centre of Education and Culture MEETINGPOINT MUSIC MESSIAEN for children, the youth, artists, musicians and all the people of our European trinational region in this important place for European history emerged in December 2004. The role of the Centre is not only to be a memorial place, but to give room for development and a broad range of artistic activities and creative development. This undertaking has a special nature, because it is a unique project with its broad educational range towards values forming the historical awareness and cultural identity in the so called Euroregion Nyssa. A person who connects the two worlds – of the Second World War, marked by the suffering and death of fellow prisoners in Stalag VIII A and the modern time – is the french composer Olivier Messiaen. During his nine months in the camp he finished his already mentioned piece: “Quartet for the End of Time”, which is an elementary part of 20th century classic music.
The vision and mission of the Centre was first publicly presented in Wrocław on a meeting of Lower Silesian Voivodeship and the Free State Saxony delegation on 29th July 2005. From then on Messiaen´s widowed wife Yvonne Loriod (1924-2010) from Paris took patronage over the initiative to found the MEETINGPOINT MUSIC MESSIAEN association and build the Centre. The project received official confirmation and patronage from the Minister of Sience and Art of Saxony – Dr. Eva-Marii Stange, presently Sabine von Schorlemer.
In 2006 a new chapter in the history of the Stalag VIII A began, marked by the startingpoint of this German-Polish project. Dr. Albrecht Goetz, together with the governor of the municipality Zgorzelec Kazimierz Janik and secretary of the municipality Zgorzelec Marek Wolanin wanted not only to bring back the memory of the POW camp Stalag VIII A but also create a place for inspiration, creativity and for international and cultural exchange on a European level.
Thus it became the beginning of a permanent and stable partnership between the Polish and German governing institutions, meaning between the district, the city and the municipality of Zgorzelec, the district of Görlitz, the MEETINGPOINT MUSIC MESSIAEN association and the association of the supporters for the Meetingpoint Music Messiaen, as well as the Foundation for supporting entrepreneurship, who was entrusted with the construction-project.
The Voivode of the municipality Zgorzelec, Kazimierz Janik assured 14 ha of the former camp grounds to Foundation for supporting entrepreneurship (Fundacja Wspierania Przedsiębiorczości) so that the the project could be carried out. A symbolic ceremony of laying the foundation-stone took place on 10th December 2008.
In October 2011 the partners received the financial means from the European Regional Development Fund for the operational program of transnational cooperation between Saxony and Poland 2007 – 2013.
The European Centre of Education and Culture MEETINGPOINT MUSIC MESSIAEN offers space for a permanent exhibition and other changing exhibitions, as well for an open archive, multi-functional rooms with a mobile stage that is available for concerts as well as seminar and conference rooms. The visitors coming to the Centre have the possibility of using the latest multimedia facilities. An integral part of the exhibition is, of course, the site of Stalag VIII A. On the Stalag site, the visitor is led through educational trails to individual locations, among them are the metal sculptures made by artist Matthias Beier. The Sculptures are being created together with young Europeans during the International Workcamp each year.