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Explosives Chemistry Scheuno

The Sprengchemie Scheuno was an explosives factory built from 1938 southeast of the city of Forst (Lausitz). It was used to manufacture ammunition from nitroglycerin. The 550 hectare area is located in Poland today and comprised around 400 buildings, 80 km of roads and 36 km of tracks. The first powder delivery took place in 1941. At peak times, 1,400 to 2,000 workers, including forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners, worked in the two-shift system in the factory. At the end of the Second World War, the area east of the Lusatian Neisse was placed under Polish administration. The machines and systems of the explosives factory were dismantled for reparation purposes and brought to the Soviet Union. From 1959, the site passed into Polish ownership and the buildings were gutted. In the period from 1963 to 1989, some buildings were used by the Polish state reserve, for example sugar, salt and grain were stored.

The site has been freely accessible since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Smaller companies and a paintball facility have settled on the site of the former explosives factory. Due to the open terrain and the fact that high-explosive explosives and materials can still be found in underground bunkers, there have also been deaths in recent times. So in no case should you explore the area without a guide. Our guide was Eberhard Detert from the Land & People Association from Forst. He spent many years researching the history and topography of the site. His ancestors came from the other side of the Neisse. He already had  good contacts with Polish citizens during the GDR era.

I had booked the tour exclusively with a couple of friends. We met Eberhard in a parking lot and rode our bikes to Poland. On the pillars of the old Neisse Bridge, he told us many interesting details from the city's history and illustrated this with old photos. It was interesting that there were many residential buildings on the Polish side of the city until the end of the 1940s, which were demolished and whose stones were used to rebuild Warsaw. We continued through a small village to the entrance of the explosives chemistry. Here, too, Eberhard showed us many photos and original documents of the factory, the dimensions of which are huge. Many buildings and bunkers are still relatively well preserved. The area is freely accessible, but we were warned to go in alone. There have been fatal explosions because of the powder residue. Here are a few impressions:

In the afternoon we continued our bike ride to Brody (Pförten). Here we visited the old castle of Count Brühl. The palace and gardens were built in the 18th century by its owner, the Saxon Prime Minister and Imperial Count Heinrich von Brühl, and by royal visits from August III. famous. The system was designed accordingly representative by the Saxon master builder Johann Christoph Knöffel. Up until the end of World War II, Pförten was the seat of the Counts of Brühl and was closely linked to the town of Forst in the Forst-Pförten domain. After the long history of the castle's decay, we are witnessing the positive progress today. A small exhibition is located in one part of the castle and another part is used as a hotel and restaurant.

Schloss des Grafen von Brühl

Castle of Count Brühl in Pförten

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