Station: [262] Post-War History

After the end of World War II the Schocken Company had to make up the balance: three department stores had been completely destroyed, four badly damaged and six, including Chemnitz, lightly damaged. Five department stores remained intact. The department store in Waldenburg in Silesia was lost as a result of the redefinition of state borders.

Yet, thanks to Salman Schocken’s company structures and staff, the Schocken Company survived the war years and the subsequent collapse in Germany.

In the Chemnitz Schocken Department store trading resumed on the ground floor after the war had ended. Members of staff voluntarily eliminated war damages caused as a result of air attacks in the spring of 1945. Following the expropriation of Saxon enterprises belonging to Merkur AG in 1946 the Chemnitz department store and the retail cooperative continued as the „ Merkur Department Store,“ until 1950.

The state insurance institution, national Volkssolidarität and cultural association temporarily moved into the empty upper floors. As a result there was, among other things, an exchange centre where items were given to people who’d been bombed out of their homes, to expellees and to those returning home. The third floor housed changing exhibitions of works from Chemnitz artists. The well-known Chemnitz artist, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff was a member of the jury that selected the works for display.

At the beginning of 1952 the GDR State „HO“ Trading Organisation took over the department store and continued it as the HOWA department store. In 1965 it became part of a publicly-owned department store consortium CENTRUM with headquarters in Leipzig. The former Tietz department store in Bahnhofstraße, or station street in Chemnitz also belonged to this.

 A further change came with the political upheaval of 1989/90:  from 1 January 1991, the Kaufhof Department Store Corporation took over the building, and after alteration work lasting several months continued to trade here until 2001. When GALERIA Kaufhof Chemnitz opened its new store on the market square, the former Schocken Department Store in Brückenstraße, or Bridge Street, was then closed for the final time. 

After reunification, Salman Schocken’s heirs were entitled to repayment rights on the East German buildings and the legal situation surrounding the former Chemnitz Schocken Department Store has been resolved.