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The fabrication of paper in Trebsen

« 1888 »

On 15 October 1888, the Royal Prussian Counsellor of Commerce – Gotthelf Friedrich Anton Wiede – is granted the rights to develop the hydropower resources located along the western bank of the Vereinigte Mulde River (a tributary of the Elbe River), on the meadow of Pauschwitz, a fishing village south of the city of Trebsen. Together with his sons Johannes and Alfred, he constructs a wood mill and paper factory on the site. The family orders the factory equipment from Golzern Machine Works in 1892. The paper mill is christened “Wiede & Söhne.”

« 1893 »

Production commences with 112 employees on 9 November 1893, a date still considered the company’s official establishment date. Production is dedicated to wood-containing and wood-free writing and printing papers, using the company’s first paper machine with a working width of 2.10 meters. Executive management is alternately placed on the shoulders of brothers Johannes and Alfred Wiede at first, until it is ultimately assigned to Johannes Wiede alone.

« 1895 »

On 1 July 1895, a second paper machine – this time built by Füllner Machine Works – is put into operation.

« 1896 »

Straw-pulp production using the sodium bicarbonate process starts.

« 1907-1909 »

This paper mill is expanded in 1907, and in 1909 the company also begins production of wood pulp.

« 1911 »

On 11 July 1911, a third paper machine is put into operation (working width of 2.9 metres); it is likewise manufactured by Füllner Machine Works.

« 1914-1918 »

Even during the First World War, the company is able to expand the range of wood-pulp products it offers. Wiede & Söhne produces products, including staple fibre pulp and straw pulp; these are used to make the “substitute feed” desperately needed in wartime and afterward. By this period, the number of employees rises to 565.

« 1920 »

Johannes Wiede becomes sole owner/proprietor.

« 1920-1921 »

The first two paper machines are replaced with new equipment (working widths of 2.2 and 2.8 metres, respectively). This equipment is again built by Füllner Machine Works.

« 1929-1935 »

In the late 1920s, Wiede & Söhne renovate the pulp factory. In the mid-1930s, the company replaces the straw-pulp plant with a sulphate-pulp plant for wood. To accommodate an ever-growing workforce, the company arranges for worker housing to be built. Johannes Wiede sponsors the construction of a sports and cultural complex in 1930.

« 1939 »

Johannes Wiede passes away on 14 June 1939. As chief executive officer, he is succeeded by his son Anton.

« 1941 »

Production of pinewood kraft pulp begins. The company begins its initial testing for production of sack paper.

« 1943 »

The company celebrates its 50th anniversary. In his keynote address, Anton Wiede – son of founder Johannes Wiede – speaks of many things and also addresses his staff:

“To my fellow workers, who – like a family devoted to each other in good times and in bad, persevered with us with such stalwart and indefatigable loyalty that is indeed exemplary: I ask each of you here, at this place and on this day of honour, to accept my deepest gratitude and my highest regard for your dedicated service and tireless efforts. ... Unlike the laissez-faire thinking of today, we never believed that the soul of our business lies in its machinery; instead, we know it is found in the people who work here, and who thrive with us.”

He then turns to the recent outbreak of World War Two, which had endured for three years, stating:

“A few months later, new and significant changes to our business operations became inevitable due to the war, which has meanwhile taken hold… New mandates imposed upon me the task of guiding our business operations, our workforce, and our raw materials utilisation – together with all the mandatory savings measures – into new trajectories adapted to the war economy. Many of our fellow workers had to vacate their posts here, to perform military service and fulfil their service commitments. Nevertheless, we succeeded in finding women and pensioners, who willingly leapt in to fill the gaping hole that this exodus created, and who enthusiastically filled several abandoned positions. Because our products are of vital importance to the war effort, a number of foreign-born workers were sent to our plant, to help us sustain business operations – though they cannot be considered complete replacements in the absence of our numerous technicians. ... War regulations, of course, necessitated that our technical research and development be put on hold. Some fully developed plans for new building or renovation had to be put on the backburners; however, the conversion of our products to war production necessitated a number of mechanical modifications which, despite the most profound complications, could still be completed, and indeed, with great energy. The production of sack paper – which I initiated and that has become of pressing importance today – has also sparked tremendous interest among the relevant offices in Berlin. And ... after several weeks of tireless effort and countless attempts, together with my loyal employees, we have succeeded in securing a noteworthy place among the factories in the Reich that produce this special paper.”

« 1945 »

On 16 April 1945, American troops march into Trebsen. This leads to the temporary shutdown of the factory.

Based on the consensus reached at the Yalta Conference in the Crimea (4-11 February 1945), regarding the military advance of the Allied Forces during the final phases of the war, the Americans halt their advance at the Mulde River. The paper factory thus attains a special significance, since the Mulde Bridge that leads to it (built in 1895) is the only passable bridge to remain intact. The Americans use this bridge to explore the region east of the Mulde through reconnaissance missions. Consequently, the first encounter between American troops and Red Army soldiers takes place on 25 April 1945 at 10:30 in the morning near Leckwitz, about two kilometres west of Strehla an der Elbe – and about 3½ hours earlier than the now famous meeting at Torgau.

In July 1945, the Russians take over Saxony and thus, the city of Trebsen along with it.

Production at the Trebsen-based plant resumes on 15 July 1945. Mr. Anton Wiede is required to leave Trebsen.

« 1946 »

The dismantling of the plant equipment and its shipment to the Soviet Union for “war reparations” begins on 15 March 1946.

Just two months afterwards – specifically on 15 May 1946, Soviet military administration orders that the pulp factory – which had already been half-dismantled by then – be rebuilt again by 1 July. A couple of days before the deadline – on 27 June 1946 – the company is able to resume pulp production. The paper machines, however, remain disassembled.

« 1947 »

As of April 1947, the company operates under its new name: “VEB Zellstoff- und Papierfabrik Trebsen” (VEB = state-owned enterprise, a moniker given to all nationalised companies in the German Democratic Republic). It is a member of the Vereinigung Volkseigener Betriebe (or “VVB,” an umbrella organisation for VEBs), which later becomes the Pulp and Paper Combine in Heidenau.

« 1952 »

Pulp production is completely shifted to kraft pulp. The manufacture of straw, aspen and birch wood pulps ceased.

« 1960 »

The new sack paper machine (with a 4.08 meter working width) is installed on the straw lot. The equipment is built by VEB PAMA in Freiberg. This equipment is the largest paper machine ever designed and built in the GDR to date.

« 1990 »

The “VEB Zellstoff- und Papierfabrik Trebsen” is reorganised into a GmbH (limited liability company) under the umbrella of Dresden Papier AG, which, in turn, is held by the government owned and operated Treuhandanstalt (the agency established after German reunification that was charged with privatising the enterprises of the former East Germany) and is actually the former Pulp and Paper Combine in Heidenau.

By the end of September 1990, the pulp factory is shut down. After extensive investments (e.g., installation of a size press and an upper sieve, modern paper recycling technology, new sewage treatment plant, new steam generator), production is shifted in 1990 to corrugated board raw paper (4.2 meters of cut working width).

« 1993 »

In September 1993, Mercer International Inc. of Vancouver (Canada) acquires Dresden Papier AG and, ultimately, the Trebsen paper mill as well.

« 2000 »

Effective 1 June 2000, the partners of the paper factory Julius Schulte Söhne in Düsseldorf – namely, the brothers Dieter, Gert and Eberhard Pothmann – purchase the Trebsen paper factory back from Mercer. Production capacity is 65,000 tonnes/year for three types of paper.

« 2001 »

Complete retrofit of the paper machine in December 2001: New upper and lower sieve components, base support, dryer component, heat recovery system, ventilation system, pope reeler. Press components are remodelled and a new shoe press is added; the reel slitting machine is remodelled.

« 2002 »

The 100-year flood strikes the region in August 2002; the paper factory is not affected as severely as others, because it lies on the high banks of the Mulde River.

« 2002-2005 »

Production increases to 105,000 tonnes/year and the portfolio is expanded to seven types.

« 2007 »

Stock preparation process is upgraded.

« 2008 »

Renovation of press component and installation of a new headbox. Portfolio expanded to 12 types.

« 2010 »

Operational start-up of the new reel slitting machine, new gantry crane and new anaerobic reactor for the sewage treatment plant. Portfolio expanded to 19 types.

« 2011 »

Expansion of the aerobic wastewater treatment system. Operational launch of biogas system and cogeneration plant for power production. Production increases to 165,000 tonnes/year.

« 2013 »

Retrofit of paper machine: Expansion of dryer and sieve components, new drives to increase speed, new pope reeler, new calendar machine, new combination sizer, retrofit of the condenser, modification to ventilation equipment, installation of 2nd starch-processing silo, modernisation of fine sorter.

The region is struck by a second, record-setting 100-year flood – which affects the plant just as mildly as 11 years before.

Julius Schulte
Trebsen GmbH & Co. KG
Pauschwitzer Str. 45
04687 Trebsen
Telefon: +49 (0) 3 43 83-97-0
Fax:+49 (0) 3 43 83-97-237
© 2000-2013 Julius Schulte Trebsen GmbH & Co. KG