By the time we started our documentary on Rheinhausen in 2003, the steelplant of Krupp was already down for ten years. Before World War I it was the largest smelting works in Europe. It was finally closed on August 15th 1993 after 96 years of production. The biggest labour fight of post-war West-Germany that preceded the closure of Krupp, was lost.
The city of Rheinhausen did not exist before the steelplant was established. Rheinhausen was founded because of it. During the years of the economic boom in the 1960-ties Krupp employed up to 16 000 people. There were Krupp-houses, a Krupp-kindergarden, Krupp-supermarkets, a Krupp-library and a Krupp-public bath. Krupp was Rheinhausen and Rheinhausen was Krupp.
Today the area hosts the modern logistic site Logport. The promise of 2200 new jobs was fulfilled. But these jobs were not taken up by the fomer Krupp workers, since they required very different skills. The new workers do not live in Rheinhausen they come from the surrounding cities. Logport is not Rheinhausen, or vice versa.
Rheinhausen is often cited as a successful example for structural change. This sounds like a sucess-story and it would be one if the logistic site is seen isolated from the old city. Everyone knows that this is a cheap trick.
Not much is left of the giant steelplant today – but if one asks the former worker, stories unfold from a almost lost world.
We portraited a couple of former workers who showed us their old photographs, writings and items from the time then. But we also found the artists Robert Bosshard and Friedhelm Schrooten who worked together in Rheinhausen for almost twenty years. In front of the steelplant they bought an old booth and watched how things changed.