VEB Halbmond

Back in 1880 the carpet company ‘Koch & te Kock’ was founded in Oelsnitz at the Weiße Elster river. It produced axminster carpets under the name ‘Halbmond’ (half moon). The carpets were highly praised and the factory grew quickly. By 1900 the factory counted 1600 employees, by 1913 it was the largest carpet producer in Europe. It still kept growing and in 1930 the number of employees had increased to 2500. In 1936 Adolf Hitler’s ‘Reichskanzelerei’ (Reich Chancellery) was entirely furnished with Halbmond carpets.


After World War 2 ‘Koch & te Kock’ was expropriated and merged with two other major carpet companies to form ‘VEB Halbmond Oelsnitz’. In later years the company kept growing and merged with even more existing carpet factories. The factory was modernised a few times; in the late 1970s four huge chimneys were demolished and a sports complex with soccer field and sprint track, cultural center, policlinic and kindergarten were built for the many workers. In 1990 the factory was renamed ‘Halbmond Teppichwerke GmbH’. The majority of the buildings were abandoned and the works continued in a small section that had been modernised. Traditional carpets are still being made here up to this day. The historic buildings would’ve been demolished in 2013 but due to financial problems they are still there.

The factory is huge. Much vandalism has been done and some buildings have been set ablaze. We had to really search for interesting features because the majority was empty, vandalised, modernised at some point in time or just plain unaesthetic. We walked deeper and deeper into this maze past all the boringness, and all of a sudden we were standing face to face with a dazed looking young boy in a farmers overall. He nodded and disappeared through a door. I still really wonder if he lived there or was just getting high with some friends or something. It was an odd encounter. In the end we found some nice authentic workplaces and a quite oriental looking staircase, which were subjects worth photographing.