Building of the Slovak Forestry and Wood Processing Company
M. R. Štefánika Street No. 11
The owners of the Slovak Forestry and Wood Processing Company (Slovenská lesná a drevopriemyselná účastinná spoločnosť), Emanuel Ellenbogen and Jozef Preiss paid the Wolf family 78,000 crowns for land on which to build a new company headquarters. The building was granted a building permit on 03 April 1928 and received its occupancy certificate at the end of the same year. Construction did not exactly follow the original plans issued in Bratislava on 06 March 1928 by the architect Fridrich Weinwurm. It was based on amended plans dated 20 March 1928 and credited to Fridrich Weinwurm and Ignác Vécsei. These well-known architects, who had a joint studio in Bratislava, made several successful designs for buildings in Žilina such as the no longer existing Povazie Agrarian and Industrial Bank on what is now Mariánske námestie, the Neumann Villa on Ulica Vojtecha Tvrdého and the Kováč Residential and Commercial Building by SNP Park.
The building was built by Armín Windholz’s construction firm from Žilina. The building was intended to be a family residence as well as the company office. The raised basement housed three offices, cellars, central heating systems and a room and kitchen for the caretaker. The company owners lived in flats on the raised ground floor and first floor. Each had three rooms, a hall, a dining room, a kitchen, a maid’s room and sanitary facilities. In the courtyard there was another residential building with a basement, where there were two garages and a utility room. On the ground floor there was a room, kitchen and sanitary facilities and the same on the first floor. The yard could be accessed via a 2.6 m wide passage through the left part of the building, from which there was access to the residential parts. The building was originally supposed to have balconies overlooking the street, but the neighbours complained, and the building office decided not to allow them. The building was home to the family of Jozef Preiss – his wife Etela – and probably also the family of Emanuel Ellenborg – his wife Edita and daughter Magda.
The company Slovenská Lesná a Drevopriemyselná Účastinná Spoločnosť was established by a memorandum of association signed in the presence of the Žilina notary Ján Brežný on 05 July 1923. Both owners invested 150,000 crowns in the company’s equity and took a monthly salary of 2,500 crowns. The company bought and sold wood and also had interests in establishing sawmills and wood processing. It also traded in woodworking machines. The business prospered. They exported wood outside Czechoslovakia using boat traffic on the Elbe to Hamburg and from there across the ocean. Wood was also exported to the neighbouring countries Hungary and Austria and the firm did business in Romania because Ellenborg came from there and had relatives in the region. The owners became rich through their business activity and bought other large buildings on what is now Narodná ulica. They were amongst the richest people in the town. Their holdings also included another wood processing company, TISA.
As the tensions leading to the Second World War increased, they and their families were forced to emigrate to London in 1938. Before leaving, they sold their company and building to the German firm Lohbeck of Düsseldorf and appointed a businessman in the wood trade, Ľudovíta Niedauer (Niedoba), to manage their other company TISA. He bought the house at Štefánikova 11 from the German company from 88,089 crowns in 1942 and owned it jointly with his wife until 1945. After the war, the state confiscated the wood businesses and the building. Disputes over the company and building were not resolved until 1951. The former owners, Ellenbogen and Preiss, remained in London but sent a request for the return of their property. The state retained the building, however, and returned only their company shares.
From 1945 to 1948 the building was used as an office by the Democratic Party while the premises in the cellars were used as a shoe factory by the company Štefánka. At that time there were 10 offices in the building, 3 workshops and 2 warehouses. From 1948 the building was used by the Regional Trade Union Council in Žilina. When the Žilina Region (Kraj) was abolished in 1960, the Regional Trade Union Council ceased to exist and the premises were given to the District Institute for National Health in Žilina, which established a tuberculosis dispensary there. It was used to provide medical advice and treatment and also for the active early detection of lung disease.
A private company bought the building from the Faculty Hospital and Polyclinic in Žilina and rebuilt it in its present form.
Source: Mgr. Peter Štanský and Milan Novák
It can be visited
■ exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.
Position of the monument on the map: C4