The Book of plans hopes and dreams was founded
by Michael and Rebecca Bilkau.


Michael who is originally from Braunschweig, Germany, lived and taught in universities in England for many years. Rebecca is from the North West of England and is an author and lecturer, now working around Wolfenbüttel, where they both live.

Rebecca read the great war poets of the UK when she was at school and their work was immensely influential on her later, profound feeling that young people should not be sacrificed to war. Michael’s upbringing and reading of post Second World War literature led him to the same conclusion.

In 2011 they were walking along a beach on the coast of the Baltic sea, the theatre of so much naval activity in World War One. Suddenly, they found themselves wondering what the world would have been like if all the victims of that terrible conflict had been able to live in peace. How many more great paintings and poems would we have had. Equally importantly, how many brilliant advancements in farming, science, and music.


Even without the war, many young people faced serious challenges: inequality, difficult working conditions, lack of proper housing. They also had fabulous abilities and dreams of their own. Not so different from us, now. Only they didn’t leave a record.

So the idea of the Book of plans hopes and dreams was born, to let the people of today honour the people of the war by finding out about them, and setting down their own ideals and stories, to hand on to generations to come. Their letters, to the past and future, coming from now, from the bridge of time.

The project is based in Niedersachsen and Lancashire, like its founders.




We are grateful to the following for their generous financial support:


Stiftung Braunschweigischer
Kulturbesitz

Dom und Landeskirche
Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel



Stadt Braunschweig

Matzke & Heinzig GmbH, Braunschweig

For their time, expertise and energy we are also grateful to:
Professor Michael Abramson, MBE
Bernd Bethge
Dr. Graham Bartram
Willi Frome
Dr. Billy Frank
Timo Hoheisel
Professor Margaret Ives
Dr. Carolyn King
Professor Anne Wichmann

Blackburn Cathedral
Faith Initiative Magazine
The University of the Third Age, Cumbria