Facts & Files - Think History!Menu


150 Years of NGG

The history of the German Food, Beverages and Catering Union (NGG)

In November 2014 we have begun to work on the project dealing with the history of the Food, Beverages and Catering Union (NGG). Our first task was to edit a calendar for the 150th anniversary year of the NGG in 2015.

In 1865, cigar workers founded the first all-German union, the General German Cigar Workers Union, in Leipzig. Many workers from other branches of the food and catering industry followed their example by setting up lobby groups. They all had the same goal: the improvement of the living and working conditions of the workers. These had to be defended against political measures such as the Anti-Socialist Laws which remained effective until 1890. Already in the early years the trade unions started to establish international contacts.

Until 1933 the trade unions were dependent on political parties: there were Christian unions, free unions associated with the Social Democrats and liberal unions. Already in the 18th century there were support funds for migrant craftsmen like in England and consumer cooperatives to ensure the supply of affordable good quality food. In order to improve their living and working conditions, tobacco workers in the 19th century developed the idea of having their own production facilities. Later, consumer cooperatives, insurance companies and housing associations were created. Banks were also founded by trade unions. When the National Socialists came to power in 1933, all existing unions were forced into one central trade union organisation, the German Labour Front (DAF).

As a consequence, the DAF could also dispose of the confiscated assets of the trade unions. After the end of the Second World War the trade unions of the three Western zones and from the Soviet territory soon started to go their own separate ways. In the West, several local trade unions were set up while in the East the Free German Trade Union Federation (FDGB) was founded. Since 1990 there is an all-German NGG.

We addressed these numerous aspects of NGG history, and feature these in an exhibition, an online presentation and a book publication.


The agency Fürcho  was doing the art design for exhibition and the book. Cooperating with Nebulafilm we interviewed contemporary witnesses on the history of NGG and documented it on film. The interviews are accessible on 150.ngg.net titled "Menschen in der NGG".

Fulltext search


Opening of the Exhibition about the NGG history on April 11, 2015 in Erkner. © Facts & Files Calender of the NGG for the year 2015. © Fürcho GmbH


Beate Schreiber
Facts & Files
P: +49 (0)30 / 480 986 20