Wolfen is a town in the district Anhalt-Bitterfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 July 2007 it is part of the town Bitterfeld-Wolfen. It is situated approximately 6 kilometres northwest of Bitterfeld, and 20 kilometres south of Dessau.
The first documentary mention of Wolfen was as Wulffen in 1400 in a fee (feudal tenure). The place name was named after a founder whose name began with Wolf. In 1846 lignite was found in the region which was mined and the current Silver Lake was developed from this mine. Later the area became a center of the German chemical industry.
In the early 1930s an early photographic plate was produced in Wolfen by Agfa, and by 1936 the same company commercialized the more technically advanced Agfacolor Neu color transparency film, which had been developed by in Wolfen.
During World War II hundreds of women, children and men from countries under Nazi domination were forced to work in the IG-Farben factories. After War, the rights to the Agfa brandname were lost to the West German company, and the Wolfen company's products were rebranded ORWO (ORiginal WOlfen). ORWO was the only worldwide trademark of the GDR. During GDR years, Wolfen became a bedroom community for most people working at the Bitterfeld and Wolfen industrial plants (Filmfabrik Wolfen, Chemiekombinat Bitterfeld (including the former IG Farben factory, Farbenfabrik, Wolfen)), and the lignite mining company, BKK Bitterfeld (today: MIBRAG).
After German reunification, the whole area has suffered from disinvestment, deindustrialization, and depopulation. Unemployment became a serious problem. As a result, population decreased by approximately 50%. Since the 1990s industrial employment has rebounded, with investments by Bayer, Hereaus, Q-Cells and Guardian Industries.
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