...if Lusatia hadn't had such large brown coal deposits? Hoyerswerda would probably still be a tranquil farming town with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants.
On June 23 in 1955, the deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the GDR formally signed his name to the "Schwarze Pumpe Coke Combine" project. The foundation stone of the first coal bunker was laid on June 27, 1956.
From 32 million tons of brown coal were soon to be 2.5 million tons of coke, 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas, 476 megawatts of electricity and 75,000 tons of gasoil extracted here.
With profits of 789.3 million GDR marks, Schwarze Pumpe was one of the most successful economic enterprises in the GDR. It produced 61% of the brown coal volume and 80% of the city's gas.
Hoyerswerda was selected as the optimal location in terms of transport, air hygiene and urban development. It was meant to provide the best living and housing conditions to the several thousand employees as the second "socialist residential city".
Initially, a city of 38,000 inhabitants was planned, for which the foundation stone was laid on August 31, 1955. The population peak was reached in 1981 with almost 72,000 people. By the end of the 1980s, ten residential complexes and the city center had been built.
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the mining and energy industries brought about drastic changes. Nearly 150,000 jobs in the region disappeared. The migration rate was at 46 percent.
From 68,000 inhabitants in 1989, the population dropped to currently around 31,000 people, and many prefabricated buildings disappeared. After this difficult phase, Hoyerswerda now faces a new beginning with many challenges - but also opportunities.