A new beginning
Finally, in 1946, when the Banque Populaire Suisse had taken over the shares of the bankrupt hotel company, the Caux-Palace was purchased by 100 Swiss families who wanted to make available a place where Europeans torn by hate, suffering and resentment could meet again. They were encouraged by Frank Buchman, founder of Moral Re-Armament (MRA). The Caux-Palace became a place dedicated to reconciliation and forgiveness.
The owner, the Swiss People’s Bank (BPS) and the Mayor of Montreux supported the transformation of the Caux-Palace into a international conference centre. The bank offered a very reasonable price – 1,050,000 Swiss francs – and gave Moral Re-Armament priority over other potential buyers.
A hundred of so Swiss, individuals and families supported the venture through sacrifice. For example, one family gave up plans to build their own home and gave the sum they’ve put aside; a maid offered her savings.
The final contract was signed on 25 th May 1946. In mid-July the first conference opened, after hundreds of volunteers had cleaned and modified the building in the intervening weeks.