The administrative centre (Chemnitz), Shaft Complex 371 (Hartenstein) and the miners’ hospital (Erlabrunn) provide evidence for uranium ore mining by SDAG Wismut in the western Erzgebirge. In the second half of the 20th century, this surpassed all previous mining activities in the Erzgebirge in terms of its scale and its social, political and ecological effects. The decontaminated Heap 366 in Aue is a testimony to the great influence of uranium mining in terms of changes in the landscape.
Important Locations and Sites
Wismut Head Office in Chemnitz
Wismut’s imposing head office in Chemnitz was built in 1954 as part of the conversion of the Soviet corporation Wismut to a Soviet-German corporation (SDAG). The two monumental neoclassical main buildings played a vital role within this centre. The building at 50 Jagdschänkenstraße is the head office of the federal miners’ union. The building at number 29 is used by Wismut GmbH as its head office.
Shaft Complex 371
Shaft Complex 371 at Bad Schlema is one of the few uranium ore mining plants owned by SDAG Wismut that has largely been preserved. The surface installations constructed from 1956 onwards include the shaft building with a 50-metre-high steel head frame, the engine house with hauling engine, and a large function and administrative building. Mining in the world’s largest uranium vein reached a depth of more than 1,800 metres. The shaft complex, which employed up to 3,000 people, was therefore one of the deepest mines in Europe and provided more than 73,000 tonnes of uranium by 1990. The complex houses a remarkable geological collection of minerals.
Erlabrunn Miners’ Hospital
The Erlabrunn miners’ hospital is an example of the social facilities that were created in connection with uranium ore mining in the western Erzgebirge. Inaugurated in May 1951 as the first new hospital built under the GDR, it exemplifies the intensity of uranium ore mining following the Second World War. The main building is a symmetrical, arched construction and is approximately 150 metres long. Today the miners’ hospital functions as an academic teaching hospital funded by the Kliniken Erlabrunn gGmbH trust.