A time witness report written by Mr. Harry Weinert (Germany)


The report of my childhood and youth time in the Lugau / Oelsnitzer coalmining area is intended to show how the production started again after the Second World War, which difficulties were to be overcome, how hard the struggle was mainly in the minds of the people, the rethinking. What was the "activist movement" in the GDR, who was Adolf Hennecke. But it should also be shown how certain events influenced my life, my career and the life of my parents' family because my father had worked in coal mining "Karl Liebknecht" in Neuoelsnitz. His experiences and my impressions of 6 weeks of underground work during my studies were determining factors for me. I also know a lot from my grandmother, because a few young miners lived at hers. My uncle and later their sons were also miners.




A crucial experience was a miserable accident, in which my father was seriously injured. Those responsible for the coal mine had not treated me and my mother well in this situation, which was depressing for us. The injuries of my father, the long hospital stay caused him to quit working as a miner. He influenced my professional development by urgently advocating a well-paid teaching in the mining industry and refused to give me his approval for a study at the school for mining machinery.
From today’s perspective, a "normal life" was very difficult for young people in this period. The economy did not work, the demand and supply of coal gaped widely. People were told that a "new better time" would start. But in the mining companies, which were now people-owned, the miners had to work just as hard as before.
The "rethinking" was particularly difficult in the minds of the miners. You should
produce more coal, i.e. working harder even though their living conditions did not improve.
 The responsible leader at that time, and above all the party functionaries (SUP), organized a special layer with a miner named Adolf Hennecke, breaking a multiple of coal in a normal shift. A model for these actions was the Soviet "Stachanov movement". Motto "First work better, then live better." Henneke's individual performance initially produced a rejection but was the basis for the "activist movement" initiated in the GDR afterwards.
Becoming and being an soon meant having a better material basis for daily life..
Until 1970, the coal industry was an important industrial sector, but was discontinued because of its unprofitable nature. For approx. 100 years coal was mined in the Lugau / Oelsnitzer district. And then it was over. The restructuring of a region marked by mining has to be described as a successful process, which the broad masses of the local population had not expected from the "communists".
Everyone had been employed again.