W. Spindler

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
W. Spindler, laundry and dyeing,
later Rewatex
legal form Open trading company , later state-owned company
founding 1832
Seat Berlin-Spindlersfeld , Germany
Branch laundry

Spindler's factory in 1881

The W. Spindler company (short for Wilhelm Spindler ) was a laundry and dyeing company that was founded by Wilhelm Spindler in Berlin in 1832 and later managed by his son Carl Spindler . It had initially opened a number of service facilities in old Berlin . From 1873 the head office was relocated to Oberspree near Köpenick , later called Spindlersfeld . There it operated as an institute for dry cleaning, laundry and dyeing . In its time it was the largest German laundry company and the pioneer of dry cleaning in Germany. At the beginning of the 1920s it was taken over by Schering AG and, during the GDR era, was the main factory of VEB Rewatex , later Rewatex AG. The Spindlersfeld site was finally closed in the mid-1990s.

The company beginnings

The company's history began in Berlin-Mitte when Wilhelm Spindler founded a small silk dyeing factory on October 1, 1832 in the basement at Burgstrasse 3. In 1841, he purchased  a plot of land for a dye works and laundry factory near the Spittelmarkt at Wallstrasse 12 . Further branches were opened in the following period at Poststrasse 11, Friedrichstrasse 153a and Leipziger Strasse 36.

Wilhelm Spindler was the first in Germany to introduce chemical cleaning in 1854 . In this process, the clothes were cleaned in a bath with benzene or gasoline with the exclusion of water (ie "dry", hence also "dry cleaning"). This resulted in a gentle treatment of the clothing and at the same time a high workload, which enabled Spindler's company to grow continuously. Spindler's sons William and Carl followed in their father's footsteps early on, became company partners around 1870 and took part in the development of new dyeing techniques and washing processes, among other things.

The plant in Spindlersfeld

The site

Site plan of the factory site in 1896

The plots in old Berlin soon proved to be too small for the increasing demands. In 1871 Spindler bought a 50 hectare site on the Köpenicker Feldmark , which belonged to the Brandenburg provincial government . He now summarized his various services as a large laundry, the establishment for dry cleaning, laundry and dyeing . Köpenick, with its close proximity to the water, was a particularly good location for the new factory, as the laundry industry had already become one of the main economic factors here in the first half of the 19th century; There were 200 small and medium-sized laundries there in 1855. Other well-known Berlin companies also moved to the Berlin area at the end of the 19th century because they could expand on cheap building land and the taxes to be paid were lower than in Berlin.

The residents soon named the previously unnamed area opposite the old town of Köpenick Spindlersfeld after the new large company; however, the name was not yet official. Before the manor district of Köpenick was handed over from the Brandenburg provincial government to the city of Köpenick, the city of Köpenick decided in spring 1873 that the area should not have a separate name. Spindler's sons, however, campaigned for the name Spindlersfeld to become official. They argued that at the time the Spindler company was known nationwide as " W. Spindler - laundry, dyeing and dry cleaning - Berlin C and Spindlersfeld bei Coepenick " and that Spindlersfeld was developing into a fully-fledged district and should therefore have its own name . On December 29, 1873, the Brandenburg provincial government confirmed the name Spindlersfeld as official and that it should be retained in the future.

To the north-west of the company premises, Carl Spindler had the Villa Spindler built on the bank of the Spree in 1876 at today's Eiselenweg 10 , which, after being damaged by a bomb during World War II , was converted into a children's home in the 1950s and later housed the administration rooms of the Deutsche Reichsbahn . In 2002 the villa was converted into an apartment building. In today's Oberspreestraße 176 there is a multi-storey house built by the Spindlers before 1896.

The work

Spindler's factory around 1896

The first wing of the main building was inaugurated on April 24, 1873 and the wool dyeing factory moved there. After Wilhelm Spindler died on April 28, 1873, his two sons continued to run the business. In 1896, 281 civil servants and workers were employed in the Spindlersfeld factory in 1886 and in the other branches in Berlin and other cities. At that time the company had the following departments (after Berlin and its buildings ):

I. Dyeing and printing of silk yarns,
II. Dyeing and printing of woolen yarns,
III. Dyeing, printing and bleaching of cotton and Chinese grass yarn ,
IV. Dyeing and finishing of woolen, cotton and silk piece goods,
V. Fabric dyeing (collective name for the department that dealt with the dyeing, cleaning, washing, freshening and finishing of fabrics and clothing of all kinds, as well as upholstery fabrics, curtains, plaited straw, feathers and down, fur, etc.)
Chimney on the factory premises

35 steam boilers, 22 steam engines and ten steam pumps were available to operate the system  . There was a separate gas station and nine dynamo machines for the lighting . (The gas works also supplied gas for the surrounding area in Spindlersfeld.) The rooms were heated with steam and the rooms were ventilated on the one hand through the abundant windows and on the other hand through the air ducts built into almost all of the main pillars. Furthermore, there was an exact division of the workers in the rooms, so that there were never more than 32 people in a room with a volume of 1000 cubic meters. The chemical cleaning took place largely in closed systems, which meant that the gasoline could be recovered. Separated fats were processed into soap in a fat distillation plant .

On April 1, 1892, the branch line to Spindlersfeld , financed by the Spindler company and originating from the Görlitzer Bahn , was opened , which simplified the delivery of consumables and the dispatch of the processed textiles. Spindlersfeld has since been connected to the city railway with a passenger platform. The S-Bahn Berlin still operates the route from the Schöneweide S-Bahn station via Oberspree S-Bahn station to the final stop at Spindlersfeld S-Bahn station. Before the rail connection, the Spree was the most important transport route - up to 8,000 tons of hard coal were brought in every year.

A company fire brigade provided fire protection in the factory and the surrounding area. The purification of the wastewater was described in 1907 as "exemplary". The wastewater was treated in a separate sewage treatment plant in several stages and then used to irrigate the two parks and gardens. In connection with the construction of the sewer system in Köpenick in 1903, the company made the sewage treatment plant available for the city to test.

Services and charities

Wilhelm Spindler was an exception at the time with his social standards and the welfare facilities of the plant and the establishment of his own rowing club for the workers in his plant. The facilities included a company health insurance fund , a company kindergarten, a library and two savings banks. In addition, the employees and their family members had a hot bath and a river bathing facility as well as sports facilities. In a recreation house built by Walter Kyllmann in 1890 , there was a restoration for them , in which there were also entertainment evenings. The dye works' apprentices received free chemistry lessons in the company vocational school and the employees paid summer vacation for a week. The daily working time (with the exception of Sunday) was limited to ten hours. On the banks of the Spree, Spindler had some jetties and boathouses built, including for the company's own rowing club , founded in 1878 . On the banks of the Spree in today's Mentzelpark , a stop was even built for the steamers of the Stern steamship company . Carl Spindler also had the old wooden Müggelturm built.

Spindler's buildings from 1873 in Mentzelstrasse

Parallel to the construction of the large laundry, the company also built a workers' settlement with buildings in Mentzelstrasse (four buildings from 1873, one from 1875) and in Färberstrasse (two buildings from 1887), the so-called "Spindlerbauten". Up to 50 working-class families found inexpensive apartments there in the direct vicinity of the factory. The workers' housing estate was the first in Berlin to be created by an industrial company. At the time of construction, the houses were already connected to the laundry's gas and water network. The Spindler buildings are now under monument protection.

Further corporate development

View of the main building from the west

In 1881 William Spindler († 1889) left the company for health reasons and his brother Carl became the sole owner. In 1893, all of the remaining branches in Berlin were closed and the entire operation was relocated to the plants in Spindlersfeld. After Carl Spindler's death in 1902, three of his sons (Wilhelm, Ernst and Erich) took over the company and continued to run it as a general partnership . They expanded the business again and opened 16 new branches in Berlin. The plant in Spindlersfeld was also enlarged. During the workers' strikes between 1904 and 1906, W. Spindler was also affected.

In 1922 the company was converted into a stock corporation and between 1922 and 1925 Schering AG took over the majority of the company's shares. The Spindlersfeld location became Schering's second location in Berlin next to the one in Müllerstrasse in Wedding .

time of the nationalsocialism

From 1941 at the latest , Reich German Jews were placed in the laundry by the Central Office for Jews for closed work ( forced labor ). There were two Jewish departments there in 1941. Her wages were "about half of what an Aryan unskilled worker earns". The working time was nine hours, the work was physically demanding (great heat, high humidity, sometimes no ventilation, boxes with heavy weight) and the Central Office for Jews also ensured that Jews were far from traveling. In relation to the Jews, there was predominantly a “ convict mood”. The director was particularly hostile to Jews . He forbade and punished the cooperation of Jews (e.g. carrying heavy boxes together), which was previously expressly permitted by intermediate superiors. He also prevented the release of a sick slave laborer whose release papers had already been issued by a department head. He also told the washer-master that he should “not be so humane with these Jewish women”.

In addition, there was a division with French prisoners of war in 1941 . According to the leaflets posted, it was strictly forbidden to talk to them more than objectively about the work.

During this time, the laundry was heavily geared towards military laundry.

End of war

Shortly before the end of the Second World War , there was still an emergency workforce at the Spindlersfeld plant. On the morning of April 23, 1945, a firefight broke out and some buildings caught fire. On the afternoon of April 23, 1945, the head of the Schering factory, who was part of the emergency workforce, handed the plant over to the Soviets. On April 24, 1945, the manager of the Schering factory was brought to Köpenick for questioning. On his return on the same day, five members of the staff were missing and found shot a few days later.

In the period from April 23, Soviet soldiers and “Köpenick women” looted the plant. On April 29, 1945, the factory began to be rebuilt with 80 employees. On May 2, 1945, however, the Soviets began dismantling the plant.

Post-war and GDR times

After the Second World War , the East Berlin Schering companies were placed under trusteeship in 1946 and expropriated in 1949. They became public property and split up. The laundry and cleaning company located in Spindlersfeld traded as VEB blossoms white from 1953 , after taking over operations from 1961 as VEB United Laundries Berlin Rewatex ( VEB Rewatex for short , derived from the saying “cleans and washes textiles”) and from July 1, 1981 as VEB Kombinat Rewatex Berlin . At the beginning there were 3000 and around 1989 around 4500 employees at Rewatex. In addition, there were up to 600 female prisoners from the penal facility built in 1973 in Köpenick, the replacement for the Barnimstrasse women's prison, and a few hundred employees who had been recruited as guest workers from Vietnam .

The access road to the main entrance of the laundry was renamed from Carl-Spindler- Strasse to Ottomar-Geschke- Strasse in 1962 .

In 1972 the 24-minute documentary Wäscherinnen - About the work of apprentices at Rewatex , directed by Jürgen Böttcher , was made in the Spindlersfeld laundry .

1990 to 2003

Building at the main entrance (gatehouse)

After the fall of the Wall , the company changed its name to Rewatex AG around 1992, and it was taken over by Larosé Hygiene-Service-GmbH in Cologne . However, this only continued operations on the Spindlersfeld site until the mid-1990s, and all activities were relocated to the Grünauer Straße section. In 2000 the Imhoff industrial holding owned the site.

The plants in Spindlersfeld have been just an industrial ruin since the turn of the millennium. Some halls and buildings were demolished, the others placed under monument protection. The buildings at the main entrance and the kindergarten are still in the Ottomar-Geschke-Straße. The large main building (ring building), an administration building from 1905 and a tall chimney in Ernst-Grube-Strasse, and several houses from the former workers' settlement in Färberstrasse and Mentzelstrasse have also been preserved.

2003 to 2011: renovations and marketing

In 2003, a program began to contaminated sites remediation of the former company site, which lasted several years. It is planned to "accommodate residential-friendly trade" in the ring building and to build on the remaining area with residential houses and town villas.

On the night of September 29th to 30th, 2006, there was a fire in the main building. The damage was limited; The upper two floors and the roof structure of the northern corner tower of the main building on the Spree were destroyed. The cause of the fire could not be determined. With increasing decay, the factory site was counted as one of the so-called "Rotten Places" and as such was often documented on blogs.

From 2011: Water town Spindlersfeld project

The canton property development company acquired the approximately ten hectare site in 2005. According to their plans, the site of the former Spindler factory will be redesigned into a "water town". The architect Klaus Theo Brenner provided the plans, according to which more than 700 condominiums, parks and a daycare center are to be built. 350 apartments are planned in the architectural monuments , 350 apartments are being built as new buildings. In addition to apartments in the listed ring building, new buildings are also being built. Because of numerous objections with regard to nature conservation, noise protection and the expected shading from the high residential towers, the development plan procedures had to be changed several times. In February 2018, the district administration issued the building permit for the “Spindler Towers”, which should be ready in 2020. The planned infrastructure also includes access roads with parking spaces, a children's playground and new trees. There will be shops on the ground floor of the centrally located historic laundry building. Jetties for 200 boats and a new promenade are planned on the Spree, which will become part of the R 1 long-distance cycle route . The first renovation work on the soil of the site, which was heavily polluted by pollutants, began in the early 2010s. Numerous trees were felled for the execution of the construction project and several protected animal species, such as the native warbler , had to be relocated due to the construction project.

Spindlershof in Berlin-Mitte

Location map

The factory in Wallstrasse was converted into an office building between 1901 and 1903: new business premises were created for the Spindler company and other companies. The facades were designed by the sculptor Otto Lessing and represented the history of the company and various work processes in the factory. In the area later known as Spindlershof , there was also a fountain by the sculptor Ernst Wenck in memory of Wilhelm Spindler . The building complex at Wallstrasse 9-13 survived the Second World War, but the facade art created by Lessing was largely destroyed. During the GDR era, the buildings were used by VEB Wärmeanlagen-Bau. After the fall of the Wall , the complex was restored in 1998. It became the Berlin headquarters of the German Pension Insurance Association .


  • Memorandum for the 50th anniversary of the W. Spindler company: in Berlin, Wall-Straße 11-13 and Spindlersfeld near Cöpenick on October 1st, 1882 . A. Woldt, Berg & von Holten, Berlin 1882, 27 pp.
  • Memorandum for the 75th anniversary of the company W. Spindler: Three generations in the realm of dyeing, laundry and dry cleaning, Berlin and Spindlersfeld near Cöpenick October 1, 1907 . Berlin 1907, 48 pp.
  • One hundred years of Spindler: 1832–1932, 100 years of quality . Spindler, Berlin 1932, 8 sheets and numerous illustrations
  • W. Spindler Berlin: Berlin and Spindlersfeld near Cöpenick; Dyeing, printing, finishing, washing and chemical washing establishment; a memorandum for the Berlin trade exhibition . Berlin 1896, 70 pages, 15 sheets, numerous illustrations.
  • The kindergarten in Spindlersfeld . W. Spindler, Berlin 1896, 2 sheets.
  • On the operational history of the Spindler company . In: Architects' Association of Berlin & Association of Berlin Architects (ed.): Berlin and its buildings. Second edition 1896 . Ernst W. + Sohn, Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-433-02279-8 , pp. 621–623 ( On the operational history of the Spindler company ( memento from August 26, 2007 in the Internet Archive )).
  • http://www.bnbt.de/~tr1035/bt/wer/jjwspindler.htm (Link not available) On the life of Wilhelm Spindler and the company history On the life of Wilhelm Spindler and the company history
  • Günter Moser, Götz Gessner: April 24, 1873: Spindlersfeld's birthday . In: Berlin monthly journal 4/1996 at the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein
  • Jochen Boberg, Tilman Fichter , Eckhart Gillen : Parade ground for modernity - industrial culture in Berlin in the 19th century . Beck, 1984, ISBN 3-406-30201-7 .

Web links

Commons : W. Spindler  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Karl-Heinz Audersch: 'Dry laundry' for delicate fabrics. 130 years ago in Wallstrasse: Spindler opened its first dry cleaning company. In: Neues Deutschland from 24./25. March 1984.
  2. koepenick.net: The Industrial Revolution , accessed on 12 April 2012 found.
  3. ^ Villa Spindler - Gorenflos Architects. In: gorenflos-architekten.de. May 30, 2019, accessed May 30, 2019 .
  4. ^ Industrial culture in Berlin , page 348
  5. Monument complex Mentzelstrasse 12/14, 18/22, 19/23, Spindler factory estate , 1873-75 .
  6. ^ Zöllner, Jürgen in: denkmal aktiv - cultural heritage makes school , Senate Department for Education, Science and Research, pp. 1, 4
  7. Extract from the inventory overview of the Berlin State Archive: W. Spindler AG ( Memento of September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).
  8. Carola Sachs (ed.): As a forced laborer in Berlin in 1941 - The records of the economist Elisabeth Freund. Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-05-003042-9 , pp. 47, 57, 81, 86, 90, 101.
  9. Carola Sachs (ed.): As a forced laborer in Berlin in 1941 - The records of the economist Elisabeth Freund. Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-05-003042-9 , p. 66.
  10. Carola Sachs (ed.): As a forced laborer in Berlin in 1941 - The records of the economist Elisabeth Freund. Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-05-003042-9 , p. 88.
  11. Wlasich, Schering AG in the period of National Socialism. Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-9814203-1-9 , pp. 236-239.
  12. Wlasich, Schering AG in the period of National Socialism. Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-9814203-1-9 , pp. 236-239.
  13. http://www.landesarchiv-berlin.de/php-Stock/beispiel.php?edit=8768&beispiel=C%20Rep.%20756 (link not available)
  14. Prison at Rewatex .
  15. Peaceful living directly on the Spree . In: Berliner Zeitung , August 26, 2000. Smaller apartments are in great demand . In: Berliner Zeitung , August 26, 2000.
  16. Monument complex Ottomar-Geschke-Straße 22/32, Spindler laundry, industrial plant with former hot baths, around 1880 .
  17. Färberstrasse 17/19 monument, semi-detached house in the Spindler factory estate, 1887 .
  18. Readers ask about laundry facilities . ( Memento from November 30, 2004 in the Internet Archive ) In: Berliner Morgenpost , February 22, 2003.
  19. ↑ The old Rewatex site is being built on . In: Berliner Zeitung , August 28, 2004.
  20. A Berlin memorial burns up . In: Berliner Kurier , September 30, 2006.
  21. Gerd W. Seidemann: Water town Spindlersfeld - live in the VEB flower white . In: Der Tagesspiegel , June 12, 2017, accessed on June 19, 2018.
  22. a b Tomas Morgenstern: Treptow-Köpenick is building . In: Berliner Zeitung (print edition), June 19, 2018, p. 12ff.
  23. https://www.berliner-zeitung.de/berlin/koepenick-luxus-wohnungen-in-der-wasserstadt-spindlersfeld-geplant--23917840
  24. ^ Edition Luisenstadt: Spindlershof .
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on July 11, 2006 .

Coordinates: 52 ° 27 ′ 1 ″  N , 13 ° 33 ′ 56 ″  E