A great treasure

In August 2021 ATD Fourth World’s International Center near Paris welcomed a German couple, Manuela and Charly Wendt. They brought with them a great treasure, a story. Here it is: On May 30, 1992 in Berlin on the occasion of the inauguration of a replica of the commemorative stone for the victims of extreme poverty, Fourth World families from Munich and Dachau made a guestbook. Behind this initiative was Ms Wendt. She was an illustrator and one of the participants in the making of this book. She was also someone who was very motivated: “Wherever you are, whether you are rich or poor, do what there is to do with all your strength."
We wanted this book to be an invitation for all those who adhere to the text of the commemorative stone, to show their solidarity with those in extreme poverty and the most underprivileged. We bought this book from a local print shop. The head of the printing house gave me the materials to put the ATD logo on the cover. […] A lot of the pages are written in ink and pen. […] As for me, I wrote by hand, among other things the text on the commemorative stone. We used to get together as a group to figure out what to put in and how to achieve it. Each year, a delegation was formed to carry this golden book to each ceremony, in order to invite everyone to write and to show their solidarity with those in extreme poverty.»
We have not only preserved October 17 in Berlin in this book. But also other events of ATD Fourth World, such as the meeting with the Secretary General of the UN Mr. Boutros Boutros Ghali in 1996. An event in which Charly Wendt and other ATD Fourth World activists in Munich participated.» (in June 1996 in Geneva)
Many people signed this golden book and put important messages in it along with beautiful drawings. Like this image and this message produced at the inauguration on May 30, 1992:«Ineffaceable image. Unwavering day. I bring my thoughts to the families of Munich who have invested in this great action. Christian Veit, Volunteer Corps member in Munich.»

 Dessin avec message

We often did linocut etching. As was the case during a life story at the Fourth World People’s University in Munich in 1993,«With this linocut, we express that we want to share bread with all regardless of race. Everyone must have the opportunity to share in confidence.» Mrs. Miler said:« We are involved with people in extreme poverty so that everyone has a dignified life whether black, white or Asian. We feel connected to all the poor in the world.» Mrs Wendt said, «We don't want people trying to take more or have the bigger piece of the pie. But that everyone shares in a fair way so that all get an equal piece. This is where the idea for this image came from.»

Un pain entouré de mains et de visages de personnes du monde entier

Then, during a People’s University we showed this linocut to others. So that they could tell what that image meant to them.«On October 17, 1996, we the Munich delegation placed on the commemorative stone a wreath that we made ourselves. The crown was a symbol of our friendship. The herbs, leaves and fruits had been gathered by all of us.  »

La coronne

Each year we chose people to go to Berlin for October 17 and each year the book was enriched with new contributions. The last message dates from 2001.«After 2001 this book remained in my living room for 20 years. A year and a half ago, Mrs. Annette came to see us to see what people had wrote on October 17 in Germany. It was then that I remembered this great treasure. We were talking and I realized that the best place for this book is not in my living room but at the Joseph Wresinski Archives and Research Centre in Baillet France, ”Mrs. Wendt says, today this book is kept there. “I wanted to share this book with the public so that it can be read and worked with and so that better times come. » .” She concludes

Annette, Germany