Die Karbidfabrik [The Carbide Plant]
Rising prices for crude oil forced East Germany to further develop its inefficient and environmentally damaging carbochemical industry. With extreme heat coal and limestone were melded into carbide, which was used to make plastic and elastic. A profile of the outdated carbide plant of VEB Chemische Werke Buna in Schkopau demonstrates the dilemma of this industry. The men who tapped the material from the furnace worked 12-hour shifts. For the money. They were just happy to make it back home at the end of the day – while the poisoned waste water flowed into the Saale River. With remarkable openness workers like Franz Aszakis and Buna manager Siegfried Richter speak about grievances and lacking investment. Filmed in October 1987, Die Karbidfabrik was first screened in March 1989.
Heinz Brinkmann, DDR 1989, 23’