Gray and dilapidated it stands there today, the large solitary building that once exuded a lot of shine, at least on its canvas. Today the facade of the Gloria Filmpalast is crumbling and graffiti adorn the walls.
It has been quiet since 1997. Before that, a disco tried to gain a foothold in the house for a short time. A sign of the disco time can be found on a small event note. “Friday, 04/25/97, ’99 Pfenning Party ‘Gloria” it says. After the failed disco attempts, the house was then empty.
That should change now, if Mayor Robby Risch has his way. He needs support to do this. That is why he is inviting interested parties to an open day this weekend (23/24 July) to explore the building and learn about its history.
Film palace in the Bauhaus style
In 1928 the architect Carl Fugmann built the Gloria in the Bauhaus style. It opened as a glorious film palace with a capacity of around 1,400 seats. The performances were regularly sold out. Today orchestral pits are still reminiscent of the era of silent films, when live music was presented in parallel.
Even in GDR times, the house was in demand; It only went downhill after 1990, recalls Robby Risch: “After the fall of the Wall, this building was taken over by the UFA and then sold to speculative operators. They wanted to run a discotheque. In this context, a lot of mischief has been driven with this house. That means that some of the monument substance has been destroyed and, above all, all of the interior fittings and fixtures have been removed. ”
Citizen engagement creates an upswing
It was not until 2018 that the city took over the building from the state of Saxony-Anhalt. Due to roof damage and rain that penetrated the building, it is today marked by severe water damage. The building security has now been completed.
Last month, Risch, together with around 60 committed citizens, removed the traces of the past decades. Six weekend days were wasted – eight containers of bulky waste and 25 cubic meters of rubble and ash were carried out of the building by the helpers. Robby Risch praises the commitment:
In part, with the high summer temperatures, that was a real show of strength. But it was great what the people from Neustadt, who were the majority, did there.
In the meantime the house is in a condition in which it can be visited without danger. That is why Risch has now also planned the open house to get people excited about the upcoming renovation project.
Cinema, disco, jumping house – numerous ideas
With a broad-based citizens’ initiative, the mayor wants to submit a recommendation for the use of the building to the city council. The ideas are already diverse: from a library or an archive to a proposal to revive the cinema. The mayor himself also has an idea: “There are also ideas that I favor: This is simply a multifunctional hall, where in principle we primarily address our children and young people.” A climbing facility, a jumping house, gastronomy – this is how the target group from 3 to 30 years of age should be attracted.
But nothing is certain for a long time. Only one thing is clear: the Weißenfelsers would not allow a demolition – this place is too important to them. And if you ask around among older and younger people in the city, the ideas of what can happen to the building are diverse. One citizen wants a long-term solution, another a place where young and old can meet. The younger Weißenfelser long for a disco or a cinema. One student also sees the conversion of the site as an upgrade for the city of Weißenfels. And he says: “I come from market advertising, all the youth clubs have now disappeared. That would definitely be better if something big happened again in the next town.”
The future is uncertain, participation encouraged
The signs are good. After the “Open Monument Day” in mid-September, there will be a workshop with interested parties to discuss the future use of the Glorias and then the results will be presented to the city council. Perhaps a decision could be made this year. For Risch it is clear: “If we succeed in determining the future use together with the city council, then it will be very important to me that we include this in the budget for the next year.”
According to Risch, the new Gloria could then be run by an association, for example. So the future remains uncertain at first, but the nice thing is: helping to shape it is expressly desired.