Emmaus history

The Emmaus movement was initiated in 1949 by Abbé Pierre in France. After the war, vast parts of Europe were laying in ruins. Hundreds of thousands of people were separated from their homelands and their families, suffering from poverty, homelessness, despair. Several cold winters highlighted the crises as it saw homeless children die in the streets of Paris. Abbé Pierre began to work with some homeless men who suggested they gather clothes, rags, building materials etc. The men had done so before to survive. But now they did it together, and to build simple homes, to help others as well. They called the house they used Emmaus, “a meeting place where people get new hope”. The community’s basic idea was that they would help themselves by helping others.

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This Emmaus idea quickly spread to other places in France and the rest of the world. The first Swedish Emmaus group was founded in 1959. In 1969, all groups around the world agreed on a Emmaus Manifesto, and 2 years later Emmaus International was formed to coordinate the independent member groups in the movement. Today we find more than 400 member and affiliated groups in 40 countries. The groups are not affiliated to any particular religious faith or political party but take stands on injustice and fight all kinds of exclusion. Emmaus Fredriksdal sympathizes with the international Emmaus movement and stands behind the motto: “Serve first those who suffer most and fight against the causes of poverty.”