“Cöpenicker Straße” – as this was the historical spelling – is one of the oldest streets in Berlin. It was built in 1589 as a path for the army to the independent town of Cöpenick. In the 17th century, the area along the River Spree was home to Berlin’s lumber or timber market and Koepenicker Strasse no. 40-41 was known as the “Small Royal Timber Market”, surrounded by a former brickyard. Over the centuries, Koepenicker Strasse evolved into an industrial area.
BIMMEL-BOLLE’S ICE PRODUCTION
In 1893, Mr. Carl Bolle acquired the grounds of Koepenicker Strasse 40-41. The founder of the dairy company C. Bolle was known in Berlin under the nickname “Bimmel-Bolle” thanks to his milk sellers ringing with hand bells on the famous Bolle milk trucks. Three years later, he had artificial ice produced here. He also had a high-rise refrigerated warehouse built for perishable food – one of the first in all of Europe.
In 1910 the Norddeutsche Eiswerke A.G. commissioned the architect and constructor Albert Biebendt to build an apartment house and factory surrounding two courtyards. Between 1913 and 1924, the factory was modernized and enlarged to include three cooling houses and a boiler house with an engine room close to the river banks. Another novelty in 1914 was the installation of the huge ice generators and cooling machines.
THE END OF ICE PRODUCTION
During WWII, bombs destroyed a large section of the residential building, which had already witnessed much disaster before: Since November 2016, four “Stolpersteine” in front of the house Koepenicker Strasse 40-41 have been reminding us of the Baruch family. The Baruch family lived here until 1942, when their parents Richard and Gertrud chose suicide to avoid the expected deportation by the Nazis. Their son Martin Moshe Baruch was able to flee to Palestine as early as 1938. Further information: www.stolpersteine-berlin.de
After the war the company was dispossessed and on January 1, 1952 converted into a state-owned enterprise under the name “VEB Kühlbetrieb Berlin, Plant II”. In 1986, the operations were suspended due to the declining demand for cooling storage and ice production. Eventually, the production of ice blocks was completely discontinued in 1991. In 1992 the employees made a bid to acquire the company themselves. But the business had no future and all of the cooling houses shut down in 1995, after 99 years of uninterrupted operations.
Over the next 20 years the buildings on the grounds of the former ice factory deteriorated and some of the cooling houses were demolished in 2010. Today, the existing buildings are protected by the conservation authorities. In November 2016, Trockland acquired one part of the plot divided two in 2008, including the residential buildings and the remaining cooling house.
In appreciation of his work, the history of the property is based on research from Mr. Peter Schwoch.