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History

History (3)

The Shaft Frankenholz

Bringing life into the past

 

Admittedly, Frankenholz is not the navel of the world. Bexbach certainly isn't either. Very few people know these places. 

 

But in mining, the two places were once world leaders. That was a long time ago. 

What remained are the ruins of the compressor house, the skeleton of a company-owned filling station, supply lines and parts of former shaft superstructures and much other debris. These onces served many masters who, in the course of history, went through the ages to extract the "Saar-Gold" from the depths and are now left to decay. The villas of the then administrators are now already sought-after residential buildings. 

But now Andreas Kroth is planning in cooperation with the Frankenholz-Gewerbecenter (Frankenholz commercial centre), to rebuild the compressor hall of the former Frankenholz mine, around which a road is to be laid. This stake is where the new Frankenholz centre is to be built. Not only for culture but also to stimulate social interaction. 

Along this access road, numerous single-family houses are to be built on the current wasteland. Full of enthusiasm, the civil engineer Andreas Kroth describes his many ideas in the understanding of history and the cultural context. What matters is the integration of the remaining buildings into a new settlement. No efforts are spared to implement the idea. A survey was launched via Facebook to find out what the citizens of Bexbach would like to see. This questioning resulted in numerous suggestions, which Kroth now describes as his plan.

 

A further waiting would give the ruins, which have been exposed to the weather and decay for years, "the rest", only to be unable even to preserve the gutted façade. The walls show signs of decay and weather-related mould growth. 

Hence, the sensible considerations come at the right time. Urban development plans that combine environmental protection and design and create jobs that are urgently needed in this area of the Saarland. Of course, the planner is aware that it is an investment of millions that has to be made. But it is worth it. 

 

An extraordinary mirror of Saar history

 

The compressor house, which was once used to supply oxygen underground, still has its unusual and light-flooded roof construction, which extends almost over its entire length. The walls show much of their former splendour, which has been lying fallow since 1959. With the handover of the Saar by the civil administration of the French occupying power, the operation of the Frankenholz/Saar shafts was finally stopped.

 

An eventful history accompanied the area around the former Frankenholz mine. Frankenholz was a mirror of Saar's history, and it has always been one of the most important.

Since 1729 the industrial extraction of coal in the Frankenholz pit was attempted. At the beginning of the century, the density of methane gas underground led to the use of an underground gas storage facility to use the gas to heat the mine's boiler plant. It was unique. 

 

In 1919, following the unification of the Treaty of Versailles, the Republic of France became the owner of all mines in Saar. In 1923, a 100-day strike broke out at the mine, but it affected the entire Saar region. This strike was not only due to the partly inhuman working conditions but also to the political situation. At that time, more than 2800 people were working in the mine. In 1930, the highest output was reached, with over 480,000 tonnes of coal extracted. Thus, the mine became one of the most historically significant industrial sites in the Saarland.  

Frankenholz Mine, 1931, from the "Saarbruecken Miners' Calendar

 

On January 2, 1941, there was a firedamp explosion in which 41 miners lost their lives. It was a black day for the coal in Saar.  On January 1 there was heavy fire at level 10 of the colliery. As a consequence of the war, there was a disturbance in the Homburg power plant, and the remedial measures had to be omitted on this day. However, as the coal had to be extracted, a devastating firedamp explosion occurred shortly before midnight on January 2, 1941. After the accident, work in the mine was stopped entirely. Jules Baumann, a charismatic administrator, took over the shaft after the war and for a while coal could be extracted again. At that time, horses were still used to pull the lorry's underground. This practice came to an end in 1960, at a time when the Saarland was undergoing the most significant upheaval in its history.

 

It would be an unspeakable loss to let the industrial culture, which was once the hard-earned income for many Saarland families, fall into disrepair. But there is still the civil engineer Kroth, who moved here from the Ruhr area and who has dedicated himself with skin and hair to the extensive redevelopment of the former territory of the Frankenholz mine. These are more than dreams that Kroth conveys; they are plans that only need to be implemented.

 

The planner and all his comrades-in-arms would welcome it if the state government in Saarbrücken would support the efforts to restore this property. Europe, the EU, too, will undoubtedly be interested in the eventful history of this building, because it was and is a piece of German-French history. 

 

Construction engineer Kroth has precise ideas and knows how to realize them. No one has any doubt about that,- he cultivates what has been forgotten since 1959.

 

Kroth is someone who tackles things, who wants to preserve what has remained of the pride of the Saarland mines and transfer it to modern times.

What is the outlook? How should the project be implemented?

Many concepts are conceivable; Bexbach has a mining museum. For example, the historically valuable compressor hall could be turned into a meeting place that also represents the concerns of the former occupying forces and the long-standing friendship between Germans and French. But Kroth has many other ideas that he would like to present. The building has two basements, which in its actual use had the advantage that supply shafts and pipes could be led under the surface. Now it could become a discotheque or a bowling alley. There has been a long tradition of bowling in Bexbach, which can look back on history in the so-called Bundesliga. 

 

A flexible event hall, which could also be used as an exhibition space, is one of the ideas that electrifies Kroth. Children can be left virtually downstairs, while the adults pursue their interests, the youngsters are looked after downstairs. An excellent concept that could be viable during this time. Regional gastronomy is also being considered. There is still a little time left before the starting signal is given. 

 

 

As Andreas Kroth emphasized in the interview, the intention is to create a homepage soon on which the concerns and ideas of the citizens are received. The website is to accompany the development of the entire area.  If you don't want to wait for the homepage, you are welcome to write to us; we will forward the mails: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Once upon a time on Sicily

 

For Generations

 

(JHB/SCT)
Italy and the Mafia- an almost endless history of entanglement between politics and organized crime.

It is not just since yesterday that the Italian courts have been trying to prosecute the countless Mafia families on Sicily who have spread like a serious illness all over the world.

After the senseless murder of the Mafia hunter Falcone in 1992, interest in the families seemed to be waning in other parts of Italy as well.

The Mafía, though always different, stays a miserable parasite in all its actions. Brutal, dangerous and rigorous in asserting one's own interests still today and back then 1980.

Bologna 1980

Anni di piombo

Was it the Mafia who wanted to distract from a bloody war in the South of Italy, which gave the assassins of Bologna the opportunity to commit this attack at all?

Back then, there had already been interweaving between the Mafia and right-wing paramilitaries, including links to the alleged stay-behind network of an organization called Gladio.

The revelations of former Prime Minister Andreotti, which he made 1990, after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, sound still today almost unbelievable in this context. Whether the underground organization had used the Mafia was never officially mentioned. It was always suspected. But today there is evidence.

A significant role in the days played the Masonic Lodge P2, which had been infiltrated by the Mafia, and the head of military intelligence service of Italy, General Giuseppe Santovitos, SISMI. The Masonic Lodge P2 had very interesting members such as Silvio Berlusconi
There were dislocations between all the groups involved. Persons were attributed to the Sicilian families who were in the Masonic Lodge and equally in the Military Intelligence. The SISMI was placed under the direct order of Gladio's operations in Europe whilst the Cold War

Absurdly, two SISMI officials were sentenced in 1995 for obstructing the investigation into the Strage di Bologna.

The year 1980 started very bad for Italy. The President of the Regional Chamber of Sicily, Piersanti Mattarella, was killed in an attack of the Cosa Nostra or 'Ndrangetha.

Connection to Spain

Even today, former mafiosi who live on Tenerife are speaking with awe of the connections of Cosa Nostra, 'Ndrangetha at the time- and again and again, it is the Banda della Magliana was funded by the SISMI. Old mafiosi on Tenerife explain that the protagonist, Franco Giuseppucci, who was a member of the Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari received direct orders before he was killed - after he installed a network of criminals in Italy.

Today the 'Ndrangetha is mainly active in drugs and human trafficking on the Canary Islands. In addition, many millions in dubious construction projects on the Island washed profits of illegal business.

A self funding group who could be used for any job to terminate Italy in the early days of 1980 was the plan of Gladio. The organisation feared the takeover of Communists in Italy. The Mafia would have been in a very tricky situation, crime wouldn't be possible any longer. So Mafia and Gladio had common goals. Even today, the circles of the ex mafiosi are talking about why the Italian Republic did not want the perpetrators caught.

Too short before, the murder of Aldo Moro had happened. Recently, as an ageing Mafioso admitted, thanks to his contacts into the underworld, the Campanian and the Calabrian mafia, who provided the terrorists (Brigate Rosse) with weapons and money, it was possible for the terrorists to commit this heinous act on the unforgotten Prime Minister of Italy.

Raffaele Cutolo explained that the Brigate Rosse, a left-wing, equally dangerous terrorist organization, committed the murder.

But many intellectuals commented on the events surrounding Aldo Moro's kidnapping and murder and many of them sought out the Prime Minister's cowardly murderers in the right corner, in the same line with Gladio.

The perpetrators were never investigated and the grisly crime could not be resolved until today, almost 39 years later.

Was Aldo Moro, with his ideas, to conclude a historic compromise with the Communists of Enrico Berlinguer, in the way of P2's intentions?

On Tenerife one speaks of the connections of the secret P2 and the countless actions, which ran under "white flag".

One man was the symbolic place holder for the key events that were related to this attack in Bologna, Licio Gelli

Gelli was, according to investigations, the linchpin between the 'Ndrangetha and the right-wing terrorist movement of Ordine Nuovo, which was to maintain the internal tension in Italy. That was the goal of the Gladio strategy.

Gelli used in every situation his connection to the Mafia and even fled to Latin America, after a coup attempt in 1970 failed in Italy.

The link between the bombers of Bologna and the Mafia, in the end as well the link to Gladio.

Strage di Bologna

Strage di bologna 010
(Bombing at Bologna: August 2nd 1980 Beppe Briguglio, Patrizia Pulga, Medardo Pedrini, Marco Vaccari)

The attack killed 85 people from different nations and injured more than 200 people after the explosion of a bomb placed in a suitcase in the station of Bologna.

Thanks to the fearless citizens of Bologna, Italy's brave civil society, many of the victims survived. The honour will always remain connected with the citizens of the city and its history.

Although the Italian police endeavoured to portray the cowardly plot in the period after the incident  as an accident, the track quickly led to neo-fascists of Ordine Nuovo,(Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari (NAR)) banned since 1973.

These Nazi group had committed numerous attacks since 1969, including the bomb on the Night express train Rome-Munich, 1974.

According to the investigation of the prosecutor also accomplices of Carlos, an internationally wanted terrorist in Bologna, at the time of the assassination.

It was never proofed Carlos or his "terror siblings" were involved in the attack in Bologna.

In years after in Italy it was possible to buy the own truth. PM Cossiga pointed the finger of suspicion at the far left "Red Brigades"

The most realistic traces led to former Nazis in Spain, to which one of the later main accused had contact.
Francesca Mambro und Giusva Fioravanti were sentenced after 15 years to life in prison.

Parts of the mafia structures emigrated from Sicily to Tenerife in the 1970s and in the 1980s. From there the exiled Mafioso took intensive contact to the Francoists.

 

Moreover, during the 1980s investigation in Italy, it emerged that the principal connections of the then Italian fascists led to the simultaneous running Operation Condor in Latin America.
The Operation Condor was the same strategy of tension like Gladio, made by the CIA.

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