Łódź. On 27th September we celebrated the 20th company anniversary of Wirthwein Polska together with our customers and partners. Among our guests were not only the family Wirthwein, Chief Financial Officer Rainer Zepke and the Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board Edmund Brenner but also colleagues from the plants in Creglingen and Nauen who supported us in building up production already twenty years ago and who support us in our everyday business now.
The anniversary began with a kind of ‘general rehearsal’: in the morning, our German guests were shown around production, assembly and logistics before they did a city tour of Łódź to learn about the town history. In the year 1790 just 200 inhabitants lived in Łódź, which – thanks to the local textile industry – grew fast in the following decades to be called the Polish Manchester soon after. By the beginning of the Second World War the town had developed into a city with some 672,000 inhabitants. Also many German textile manufacturers lived in Łódź, among them the family Scheibler who owned some 500 hectares of land and therefore competed for wealth, power and influence with the White Factory of family Geyer and the Jewish textile manufacturer Israel Poznanski. Not only Germans but also many Russians as well as a large Jewish community lived in Łódź, which was therefore called the city of four cultures.
A guide took our guests to the Piotrkowska boulevard and also to the famous Manufaktura, the former textile factory of the Poznanski family, which is now Poland’s largest shopping-, culture- and leisure center. Our guests also learned about Łódź’s shady sides in history which unfortunately the Germans were involved in too. From 1939-1945 the national socialists terrorized Łódź, which they renamed to Litzmannstadt, devoted to the General of the First World War Karl Litzmann who had defeated the Russians and had occupied Łódź. The Jewish inhabitants were interned in the Łódź ghetto and sent to death in the extermination camps of Chelmno and Auschwitz. Just around 800 out of approx. 250,000 Jewish inhabitants of Łódź survived the Holocaust.
Fortunately, Poles and Germans cultivate a friendship today. We, too, want to continue doing our bit that our relationship remains one that is built on mutual trust and solidarity.
While the colleagues of the two German plants of Creglingen and Nauen learned about the city and its history, we received our customer representatives in the early afternoon and showed them in three groups around altogether five halls. At five information points the respective managers presented their fields of responsibility, from production planning and injection molding of various business sectors to maintenance and mold maintenance to assembly to a highly sophisticated logistics system. Many thanks at this point to our colleagues Karolina Piotrowska, Karolina Ścibior-Wojtunik, Mateusz Janiszewski, Przemysław Rutkowski, Rafał Matysiak, Mateusz Tarnowski, Tomasz Sęczkowski, Sylwester Terka, Jarosław Zając, Małgorzata Ulężałaka, Aleksandra Szyller and the whole team of Wirthwein Polska Sp. z o.o. for the extensive preparation works.
Our guests were quite impressed of our product range and our state-of-the-art production. It is well worth mentioning that the whole management team has been Polish from the beginning on, from two decades that is.
After their tour, our guests and employees were taken to Widzew football stadium by shuttle bus. There, were usually games of the third Polish national league with some 18,000 spectators take place, the ceremony on the occasion of our 20th company anniversary was held.
Plant Manager Damian Stefurak was pleased with how many customers and partners had accepted our invitation. Around 250 guests joined the anniversary celebrations in a really solemn atmosphere.
Emotional anniversary film
First, the much awaited premier of the movie 20 Years of Wirthwein Polska was shown, in which our four employees Tomasz Sęczkowski, Zbigniew Szarabajko, Sylwester Terka and Jerzy Wojda who have been working for Wirthwein Polska for twenty years talked about the beginnings and the company’s development into the largest Wirthwein plant of all in highly emotional scenes. Thereupon Plant Manager Damian Stefurak explained what our slogan ‘Wirthwein to my’ (English: ‘We are Wirthwein’) means to him: Actually, everybody could buy injection molding machines, molds and raw material to produce products. However, it is the human beings that make Wirthwein to what Poles call ‘a twenty year old success story’. You can watch the movie here.
In her welcome speech, Ms. Dorota Lombardi congratulated Wirthwein Polska on behalf of the special economic zone of Łódź and said that she was very pleased to see that Wirthwein develops highly successfully in Łódź. She also assured our company of the future support of the special economic zone.
In a brief review, Udo Wirthwein recalled the plant foundation in Poland twenty years ago. Wirthwein began producing washing machine components with a daily number of 175 systems in Papiernicza. At present, the company still produces front and rear parts of washing machines, yet some 5,500-6000 systems on a total of eleven injection molding machines every day.
In his speech, Marcus Wirthwein looked back on past achievements but also expressed his thanks to the workforce for their recent efforts: they moved several machines, optimized production according to the LEAN principle, implemented the SAP warehouse management and took the new assembly and logistics hall into operation. Marcus Wirthwein appreciated all members of staff for their work but particularly those who had to do late shift work during the event.
On their city tour the guests learned that Łódź is also famous for its film industry. Not only will one find film and drama academies there but also a Walk of Fame like the one in Hollywood. That is why we booked the host Steffen Möller for our event who is a very famous comedian in Poland. Möller speaks German and Polish fluently and was therefore the perfect man for our event. In his one-hour comedy act he gave the audience an understanding of the greatest cultural clashes between Poland and Germany. We learned, for example, that due to their conjunctions Poles have many names. Basically, they are also rather pessimistic. If a Pole is asked how he is, he would not answer ”Well, and how are you?“ but rather “Well, the same misery every day“. Moreover, Poles seem to be very emotional when it comes to big festivities. While Germans just wish each other a “Merry Christmas”, Poles utter many individual wishes which often enough involve best regards to the extended family and return invitations. Very cordial people, our neighbors.
The day was closed by a colorful party with music and dancing which underlined that our Polish colleagues do not only have an excellent cuisine but also know how to celebrate and shake a leg.
On Sunday, 30th September, we organized a family party with some 800 participants and a football tournament for both company teams in Widzew stadium on the same turf where usually the third Polish football league plays.
The employees of the plant in Łódź would like to express their thanks to the Wirthwein family and the whole Executive Board of Wirthwein AG for having organized such a nice anniversary celebration.