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PTS Christmas Campaign 2021: Positive memories for children and young people & reconstruction support Niedermühle Hirschgrund

The PTS Christmas campaign, which has become a tradition, once again supports regional meaningful initiatives with a donation instead of using this budget to send Christmas cards. This time, the PTS team is supporting the Johanniter facility Lacrima Dresden, which helps children and young people cope with grief, as well as the Niedermühle Hirschgrund in Reinhardtsdorf-Schöna, which was severely damaged during the storms in July 2021, with €600 each.

Lacrima - Bereavement support for children in the Dresden region


Lacrima offers grieving children and young people a protected and trusting environment that helps them to find their own personal path of mourning.

The loss of a parent, a sibling or another loved one through death is a severe shock for children and young people. Johanniter accompanies children and young people and helps them to live and process their pain and grief in the different stages of mourning.

The Lacrima team offers a free service for parents and children in different age groups who are in the same life situation to share and talk about their experiences and feelings in a protected environment. Robert Dietsche, coordinator of the Lacrima project at Johanniter, emphasises that the meeting and exchange of children who are in the same life situation is particularly important for the participants and plays a supporting role in overcoming grief.

The children and young people are cared for and accompanied in this process by trained volunteers, which can take about 6 to 12 months, but can also last for years. The group leaders encourage the children and young people to show their sometimes diffuse and different feelings, to talk about them and to act them out. With the help of creative and active tasks, such as painting, handicrafts, playing or romping, the topic of death can be approached in a playful way.

Pictures: Children's group and care (©Tobias Ritz)

The Lacrima facility offers pleasantly furnished rooms and adapted equipment to provide the right place for every emotional state. In the romp room, anger and aggression can be let out, whereas in the group room and in the parents' coffee room with games and a cosy quiet corner, feelings can be acted out and discussed in a calm atmosphere.

Images: "Tobe" room (top left & bottom) and parents' coffee & group room (top / bottom).

In the meantime, this initiative looks after 34 children and young people as well as 16 parents, who also find support in so-called parents' cafés. Space for more children and young people is currently being created with additional rooms in the Seidnitz district of Dresden.

The final goal of the initiative is to give the children and young people positive memories while they process their grief and to show them a life after the loss.

In addition to the financial support, the Lacrima team is also happy to spread the word about this initiative, as not all mourners know about such an offer.

Niedermühle - Historic water mill

The Hirschgrund Low Mill is one of the last remaining original wood processing mills in Saxon Switzerland in the municipality of Reinhardtsdorf-Schöna. There were once 10 water mills at Hirschgrund, but the Niedermühle is now the last remaining mill and also has the largest preserved water wheel in Saxony, with a width of 0.80 metres and a diameter of 8.20 metres. Built in 1854, the Niedermühle is looked after and maintained by the brothers Christoph and Jürgen Büttner, which involves partial reconstruction after the storm in July 2021.


Image: Niedermühle Hirschgrund

After the storm "Bernd" (raged on 17.07.2021) enormous damages were caused. During the floods on 17 July 2021, the 15-metre-high retaining wall below the mill and a supporting pillar of the building broke away. The most severe damage to the foundation has been provisionally secured today. For the reconstruction, the Niedermühle needs every support, be it financial or in labour. The Büttner brothers are looking for energetic helpers.

As we discovered during our visit, the partially destroyed stream bed in the Hirschgrund has not yet been cleared and secured. This situation poses a considerable danger for the residents of Hirschgrund, but also for the railway line to Prague below, in case of new storms.


Images: Damage after the storm (left) and debris after the storm in the Elbe (right).