University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Information bulletin
(June 1951)

Refugee glassmakers,   pp. [27]-28 PDF (1.2 MB)

Page [27]

Woiulflan employee of Schott Glass Works, formerly in Jena
but Low in Zwiesel, Bavaria, examines newly-made lenses.
Refugee GL
E   R HISTORIANS, Jena may be the place where
1Napoleon won a battle. For camera fans, it was al-
wains the place where the lenses came from - the Zeiss
dtli the Leica; Presumably lenses are still made there,
but not for Western optics. Whether the new ones are
a-s good as the old, perhaps only the Soviet Army knows.
It seems fairly doubtful, because it takes sand and skill
to io;ike fine glass, and only the sand is left in Jena. The
qlap .,smakers of Jena became one of the first postwar
ime!i '(ee industries: Zeiss set up shop in Heidenheim,
I% t ci tiemberg-Baden, and Schott in Zwiesel, Bavaria,both
irI aii US Zone. Parts of the organizations moved out as
tlhe> Ped Army moved in; others followed later, evading
lmi (l-wire barriers and sharpshooting Soviet Zone bor-
(lam  patrols.
Ti.( y took what they could - what they could carry
in Plair pockets and on their backs. Directors brought
imp,i lant papers, the workers small tools and large
knox- how. Of the 780 workers employed in the new
Schott factory in Zwiesel, 75 percent are Jena veterans.
Marshall Plan aid of Deutsche marks 800,000 ($190,400)
helped Schott retool and provide jobs for the glassmakers
who chose freedom.
To Americans, the wages of freedom would seem low
- average hourly wage of approximately 40 cents for
top-skilled workers. The glassmakers, 90 percent union-
organized, agree with Marshall Plan statisticians who
calculate that, with luck, a worker with family can just
live on the wages for a 48-hour week.
Schott directors, harassed by the high cost of reviving
- of rebuilding a shattered distribution setup as well as
replacing lost machines- appreciate the workers' patience.
They promise the better life when productivity increases,
but point out that the prices of even the best lenses in
the world must remain competitive. Meanwhile, ERP. of-
ficials who hold the key to the counterpart-fund cash
box are keeping West Germany's refugee glass industry
under the lens.                             +END
Left, glass blowe
17, wraps lens b
storage pending
big clay pots for
are used only on
Robl Hugo, 67, veteran Schott employee, enjoys a typical
lunch. Bottle holds wine. Beside bread is sliced sausage.

Go up to Top of Page