4 December, 2020 is an important date for Upper Silesians, not only because it is the Feast of St Barbara, which was always celebrated in that mining-heavy region. On 4 December 1970, the founding charter for the foundation Haus Oberschlesien was signed. The text of the charter was kept short and to the point: “We, the undersigned (…) do hereby establish the foundation Haus Oberschlesien on behalf of the Landsmannschaft der Oberschlesier e.V. (…).” The founding took place in Bonn, where the Landsmannschaft had its headquarters at the time. The purpose of the foundation was set forth as “the construction or procurement of a building to bear the name Haus Oberschlesien”. The vision at the time: Haus Oberschlesien would be a cultural centre for the ethnic minority of Upper Silesians. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has been the patron state for the Landsmannschaft der Oberschlesier since 1964 and participated in the charter.
Haus Oberschlesien was opened with a celebration in 1983 in Hösel at Bahnhofstraße 67. Many Upper Silesians contributed financially, but also through personal effort, to ensuring that the villa which would become Haus Oberschlesien could be purchased and renovated. In the time since, the Upper Silesians have gathered many objects and documents from their homeland, as the desire to present the cultural heritage of their homeland in the form of a museum and make it accessible to the public continued to grow. The first museum building was set up in 1983. The foundation and museum were supported institutionally by the federal government. The foundation continues to profit even today from the call to its compatriots to make exhibits, documents and other objects available to the museum. In the meantime, the villa had to be sold. The foundation is now headquartered in the first museum building because, in 1988, a modern museum building was opened on the opposite side of the street. After the change in government in 1998, the federal government withdrew its institutional support for the foundation and museum. Thanks to the decision of the late Minister President Wolfgang Clement, however, support for the museum portion of the foundation was taken over by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Today, event spaces as well as an archive, a library and the offices of the foundation are housed at Haus Oberschlesien.