Grüssau Abbey (German: Abtei Grüssau) refers to a historical monastery in Grüssau (Krzeszów), Lower Silesia, and to a house of the Benedictine Order in Bad Wimpfen, Baden-Württemberg, where the Grüssau community moved in 1946 after their former abbey had become Polish.

Grüssau Abbey was founded in 1242 by Benedictines. From 1289 to 1810, it was run by Cistercians, until it was secularized by the Prussian state. Since 1919, Grüssau Abbey was again run by Benedictines, exiles from Prague. In 1945, Lower Silesia became Polish, and the monks moved to Bad Wimpfen in post-war Germany in 1946. The new location was also referred to as Grüssau Abbey[1][2][3][4] or Grüssau-Wimpfen.[5][6][7]

The site of the abbey in Krzeszów (Grüssau) then became known as Krzeszów Abbey.


Krzeszów church

Abbey church in Krzeszów (formerly Grüssau)


On 8 May 1242, the monastery at Grüssau in Lower Silesia was founded by Anna of Bohemia, widow of Duke Henry II the Pious, for Benedictine monks. In 1289 Duke Bolko I of Świdnica gave it to the Cistercians, who consecrated the new abbey church in 1292. The abbey was destroyed during the Hussite Wars and again during the Thirty Years' War, and rebuilt on both occasions. It was particularly connected with the Silesian mystic Angelus Silesius. It was secularised by Prussia in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. The church became a parish church and the remaining premises were used for various governmental purposes within the Province of Silesia.

When after World War I the German monks of Emaus Abbey in Prague, Czechoslovakia, were obliged to leave the city, they resettled in 1919 in the empty monastery buildings at Grüssau in Weimar Germany. The monastery was suspended by the Nazi government during World War II, however.

The territory was placed under Polish administration according to the post-war Potsdam Conference. Although the monastery was returned to the monks after the end of the war, as ethnic Germans the monks were expelled from Silesia by the Polish government shortly afterwards on 12 May 1946.

In 1946 a mysterious convoy called at the monastery and loaded thousands of manuscripts — autographed scores of Mozart (¼ of his known music), Beethoven, Bach and other composers — and disappeared.



Stiftskirche in Bad Wimpfen.

In 1947 the expelled community under Abbot Albert Schmitt occupied the former Ritterstift (collegiate foundation or canonry) of St. Peter's in Bad Wimpfen, Baden-Württemberg, and became known as Kloster Bad Wimpfen. The last abbot, Laurentius Hoheisel, resigned in 1997. As the membership of the community had declined too far for it to be legally independent, it has been directed since 2001 by the abbot of Neuburg Abbey near Heidelberg.

By the autumn of 2006 no monks remained, the last having moved to Neuburg, although Kloster Bad Wimpfen still remains nominally a Benedictine monastery and is still a member of the Beuron Congregation within the Benedictine Confederation. A small community (consisting at the end of 2006 of a priest and a layman) maintain the facilities as a Benedictine guest house and venue for retreats, under the management of Neuburg Abbey.

External links

Coordinates: 49°13′54″N 9°10′39″E / 49.23167°N 9.1775°E / 49.23167; 9.1775


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