Farewell former factory! Hello new homes!

The Bavarian city of Dachau, a local district capital, lies north-west of Munich and has a population of almost 50,000. It’s barely half an hour from station to station. After a few minutes’ walk, the site of the former MD paper factory comes into view. Right now, that means the heavy machinery involved in demolishing the old buildings.

When the last sections of the old factory in Dachau are demolished, a new residential area will take shape – close to the Bavarian state capital and in a city where many people are looking for a new home.

If you visit the site, there’s a good chance you’ll run into Friedrich Thoma. 1962 – a century after the paper manufacturing company München-Dachauer Aktiengesellschaft für Maschinenpapierfabrikation was established – saw the young Friedrich Thoma begin his mechanical engineering apprenticeship here. Today he still goes to work at Ostenstraße 5, although some things – in fact, most things – have changed in the meantime. The former paper factory, whose 19th-century success was mainly driven by Louis Weinmann, is no more. Louis Weinmann ensured that social responsibility was on the company’s agenda – that’s why he’s remembered as the “father of the workers” to this day. Friedrich Thoma rescued his statue and artefacts from the MD museum. No, not from the builders – from people who saw the site, the former production facilities and the listed building that still stand there today as a playground for their appetite for destruction. “But there’s much less vandalism now,” he says. His main role is to be available as an on-site point of contact on behalf of Isaria for contractors, supervisory bodies and public authorities. He also handles the practical tasks that always come up on a large building site. For example, setting up the new site hoardings means greenery needs to be removed – Friedrich Thoma takes care of that.

“I’m delighted to see something new emerging after the decline.”

Friedrich Thoma
Isaria Munich

However, he’s also happy to take on the role of “tour guide” for visitors to the site and turns his familiarity with his historic surroundings into something very special with his open, friendly and humorous manner. When he tells the story of the factory and the decline in production, you might wonder how he has worked on the site for so long – after all, paper production ceased in 2007. “The machinery was bought by an Indian company and I was asked to oversee the dismantling. Then someone was needed who knew the site and could show officials or interested buyers around. Then, someone who would help the developers with plans and background knowledge on structures, buildings and supply systems.” So one thing led to another – and Friedrich Thoma has ended up coming to the same place for work every day since 1962. As he says himself, short and sweet, with a smile: “That works just fine.”

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