HISTORICAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE BREAD FACTORY
On this page you will find further information on the bread factory from the Bonn-Rechtsrheinisch e.V. Monument and History Society.
The bread factory
The cultural centre Brotfabrik, which is run by the association Traumpalast e.V., is part of the rich cultural offer in the Bonn district of Beuel. On the grounds of the former baking house of the Germania-Brotfabrik in Kreuzstraße in Bonn-Beuel, there is a comprehensive cultural programme for all age groups: Dance, theatre, cinema, workshops, as well as educational opportunities and a pub. As the name suggests, today's cultural centre hides the history of a former bakehouse.
The bread factory as a bakehouse
In 1903, August Osberghaus received permission to set up the Germania Brotfabrik business. But after less than thirty years, the business was heavily in debt and faced the end. In 1932, a foreigner, Karl Maria Johannes Troullier, Hans Troullier for short, surprisingly took over the ailing business. His family had been running bread factories for generations.
Hans Troullier knew how to make a good name for himself in Bonn and integrate himself into his new home, so he soon became Carnival Prince. He used his good connections and won major customers.
During the Second World War, Troullier was initially exempted from military service because his company was considered important for the war effort. Therefore, Germania received orders from the Wehrmacht and had to produce around the clock. From the Beuel railway station, the baked goods were then delivered to the Eastern Front in goods trains. The company's own drivers also supplied the Westwall. During the course of the war, more and more workers were drafted and replaced in the factory by Polish prisoners of war. Finally, in the early 1940s, Hans Troullier also had to serve in the Wehrmacht.
After returning from American captivity, Troullier was soon able to expand his sales. Unlike most other businesses in Beuel, the Germania Brotfabrik building had survived the war largely unscathed and was in operation almost continuously. After the end of the war, Troullier was able to continue his successful business with major customers. In addition to many smaller businesses, he supplied, among others, the British occupation authorities and later, in the 1950s, the Federal Border Guard in Hangelar.
From the 1960s, Troullier and his factory began to compete with the emerging supermarket chains. Sales were subject to strong fluctuations and so the factory owner saw the way out in the acquisition of other companies, which he bought up in Cologne, for example. An extension of the factory building, accompanied by the modernisation and purchase of new ovens, finally led to an increase in production in Beuel in the 1970s. 1,200 loaves of bread could now be baked in one hour.
In 1984, Hans Troullier decided to give up his business in Beuel and the other factories. The pressure of competition was increasing at this time and his sons were not interested in continuing the business. However, Troullier only sold the machines, not the real estate. The buyers soon stopped production in Beuel and used the machines for their expansion in Cologne. The Beuel bread factory then stood empty.
The "Bread Factory" Cultural Centre
The Brotfabrik cultural centre has been established for over 25 years. Initially, the location was meant to be a temporary solution for independent artist groups and students who were looking for a cultural venue in Bonn. The groups joined together to form the Traumpalast association and were offered the Friesdorfer Tapetenfabrik as a creative venue by the city of Bonn in 1988. In 1985, the association temporarily rented the first floor of the disused bread factory in Beuel. The Brotfabrik opened in June 1986 with a theatre programme.
In 1988, with financial support from the federal government, the city and the state, the association undertook the renovation of the old Brotfabrik and thus remained loyal to the location. In the years that followed, the Brotfabrik cultural centre grew steadily and, after several years of renovation work on the 2,500 square metre complex, concluded a contract of use with the city of Bonn that runs until the end of 2017.
A statistic from 2009 records the following data on the operation of the bread factory:
- 57 Theatre performances
- 42 Children's Theatre Performances
- 28 concerts
- 41 Cooperation events
- 12 other events
- 14,684 visitors
As a sub-organisation of the Brotfabrik, the Bonn Cinematheque also organises screenings outside the walls of the Brotfabrik, such as at the LVR-Landesmuseum Bonn as well as the International Silent Film Festival, which took place in August 2012 as the 28th edition of the Bonn Summer Cinema in the courtyard of the main university building. In 2012, the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW awarded the Brotfabrik 10,000 euros as a programme premium for its 2011 annual programme and 5,000 euros for its 2011 youth and children's programme.
Exhibition: Political Resistance around the "Germania" Bread Factory 1933-1935
In September 1989, an exhibition in the Beueler Brotfabrik showed works by the Düsseldorf painter Karl Schwesigs with historical documentation of the political resistance around the "Germania" bread factory in Duisburg-Hamborn. The so-called "Bread Factory Trial" is documented in a report by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation from 1936. This report by the Party Executive Committee of the SPD in Exile (SOPADE) describes the smashing of the Social Democratic resistance circle around the "Germania" bread factory in Duisburg-Hamborn and the associated arrests of about 1,000 people by the Nazi socialists.
The Social Democrat August Kordahs (1905-1987) bought the business in 1933, and the two Nazi resistance fighters Hermann Runge (1902-1975, later one of the "fathers" of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany) and Sebastian Dani (1899-1985, later alderman, mayor and city director of the city of Bonn) were employed as delivery men for the bread factory. Under the cover of "Brotkutscher", they distributed social democratic writings and newspapers in the Duisburg area to promote resistance to fascism and the fall of the Nazi regime. Many other liaison couriers formed an information network through which the writings from exile in Denmark and Belgium were distributed via Duisburg in the Rhineland and Ruhr area.
The connection of these resistance circles to the "Germania" bread factory of the same name in Beuel near Bonn is unclear. The use of commercial means to disseminate social democratic values and writings, as happened from Duisburg, could not be proven for the Beuel bread factory. However, connections of SPD and KPD employees of the Beueler Brotfabrik to the political resistance could be proven. It is also assumed that the employees of the Beueler Brotfabrik were at least recipients of illegal social democratic publications through contacts in Cologne and possibly also passed them on.
According to Geisen (1989), this emerged from conversations with contemporary witnesses in Bonn. Karl Schwesig, himself imprisoned and tortured under the Nazi regime, illustrated the Duisburg bread factory trial with his drawings, as well as his own torture ordeals in the Schlegelkeller in Düsseldorf.
These drawings were exhibited in the exhibition from 2 to 30 September 1989 in what is now the "Brotfabrik" cultural centre.