Historical company archive Hirschfelde power plant

The Hirschfelde power plant was the oldest so-called large-scale power plant in Saxony. Built by AEG and initially also operated by its subsidiary ELG (Elektrizitäts-Lieferungs-Gesellschaft), the Saxon state took over the power plant, the neighbouring briquette factory and the Seitendorf and Türchau open-cast mines, both of which supplied the plant, during the First World War. In the 1920s and 1930s, these plants, now organised under private law in the ASW (Aktiengesellschaft Sächsische Werke), were developed into an industrial complex. The power plant was extended several times during this period and, together with the Böhlen power plant, formed the backbone of Saxony's electricity supply.

After the Second World War, the power plant and lignite plant (BKW) were located in the Soviet occupation zone, while the open-cast mine was on the territory of the People's Republic of Poland. The now Polish open-cast mine in Turów supplied BKW with coal until it was closed in the 1960s and the power plant until 1980, and also served to dispose of power plant ash. From then on, until the power plant ceased production in 1992, the power plant was supplied from opencast mines in Upper and Lower Lusatia.

The partial demolition in the 1990s was followed by the use of the engine house of the former Hirschfelde II power plant as a technical monument and museum. In 2017 the museum had to be closed due to dilapidation. Production facilities of the chemical and metal processing industries are still located on the former power plant and BKW site (and partly in their buildings). The Turów open-cast mine now supplies Poland's third-largest lignite-fired power plant.


The Hirschfelde Power Plant Foundation maintains the inventory, which is divided into photos, technical plans and written files, on behalf of the owner of the Historical Operating Archive, Lausitz Energie Kraftwerke AG. The photo inventory contains documentation of construction progress, open-cast mine expansions, technical faults and accidents, machinery and equipment, as well as cultural and political events. Unfortunately, the names of the photographers are only partially known or are known as abbreviations. A total of about 5,000 negatives (mainly 35 mm) and about 5,000 positives, partly in albums or bundles, are archived. While there are hardly any prints from the negatives, the existing positives lack the negatives!

The technical plans include site plans of industrial plants, construction plans of various buildings as well as general and detailed plans of technical plants. The about 7,000 plans are mostly diazotypes, a smaller part are cyanotypes and there are also some original drawings on tracing paper. The stock of font files comprises about 20 running metres.

On the basis of the documents handed down, it is possible to trace the changes within industrial lignite-based electricity generation and its consequences for the landscape, the technical developments as the basis for these changes, but also the social aspects of these changes in Upper Lusatia.

Indexing, digitisation and online presentation

The indexing was carried out between 2000 and 2010, initially by former employees of the power plant and later by the Hirschfelde Power Plant Foundation. The digitisation of a total of approx. 11,000 objects was financed with funds from the State Digitization Program for Science and Culture of the Free State of Saxony. The objects are presented via the image database of the Deutsche Fotothek. In addition, the Hirschfelde Power Plant Foundation makes its finding aids available for research in its online representation.

Show all digitized objects

Source: Hirschfelde Power Plant Foundation, Dirk Storm