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Navigation aidEast German Maps

Minol, Intertank, Petrolchemisches Kombinat Schwedt

Brief History

Minol was established as the East German retail petrol monopoly in the late 1940s, based at the old Leuna refinery. Western brands of petrol were eliminated and the number of filling stations severely reduced, allowing Minol to make relatively little investment in its network. A few sites on autobahns, main roads and in big cities carried the Intertank name, able to sell fuel for hard currency.
After the Berlin Wall fell, Minol started building joint venture stations with the main Western companies such as Shell and DEA, but it was clear the company could not survive the re-unification of Germany on its own. After attracting bids from several consortia, it was sold to the French company Elf in circumstances that are still under investigation in the Courts. A new smarter logo was introduced, but Elf was forced to close many of its poorly sited stations which could not compete with the new ones built by Western chains. The Minol name was finally eliminated in 2000, but revived for copyright protection reasons on 5 stations in 2003.

1960 Minol map of East Germany (DDR)

Early Minol maps, like this 1960 issue, lacked any attempt at a cover, instead being folded so that the Minol name appeared in the legend on the outer face.


1963 Minol map of East Germany

1966 Minol map of East Germany

1978 Minol map of East Germany

1979 Minol map of East Germany

1980 Minol map of East Germany

The 1963 and 1966 maps of East Germany (the DDR) give little importance to the name Minol, and more to the generic T in a circle used for Tankstellen.
By the 1970s Minol's standard issue map was folded into an A5 format, but lacked a proper cover, instead bleeding the map onto the space below the title. The three examples above date from 1978, 1979 and 1987; the 1979 one also refers to Intertank. The most recent design introduced a bird (vaguely reminiscent of Esso's "Happy") to try and give Minol stations a more friendly image; the character also appears in a number of poses on the reverse of the map. This map cost Östmark 5,50 including a donation of 0,30M to the 1988 East German Olympics team. All five maps shared cartography by VEB Hermann Haack of Gotha at the scale of 1:500,000 (1963/6) or 1:600,000 (later issues) and all marked towns and villages with Minol/Intertank filling stations.

1986 Minol location map of Berlin

In October 1986 Minol published this small station locator map of East Berlin, which opens out to A4 size. The map is very basic marking only main roads in a hard to read yellow on a white background, plus Minol locations, the Berlin radio tower, zoo, Intercamping and Schönefeld airport. The 20 category I or II filling stations are listed on the back but the 14 category III or IV stations are not.

1971 Intertank map of East Germany (DDR)

1973 Intertank map of East Germany (DDR)

1975 Intertank map of East Germany (DDR)

1977 Intertank map of East Germany (DDR)

In the late 1960s and 1970s, a second version of the map was produced specially for use at Intertank service stations - the examples above come from 1971, 1973, 1975 & 1977, but a 1969 edition is also known. Intertank's advertising on maps stressed "preisgünstig" - their reasonable prices (at least, when paid for by Western motorists) and that they also sold an assortment of international brands of oil and accessories. The same cartography was used at the same scale of 1:600,000. Both the Minol and Intertank versions listed the addresses and facilities of all Minol/Intertank filling stations on the reverse of the map.

1965 Intertank map of East Germany (DDR) Extract from 1965 Intertank map of East Germany (DDR)
VEB Haack Gotha had earlier produced different tourist maps for Intertank, using less detailed cartography at the scale of 1:1,000,000. These prominently marked the location of its "international filling stations", using blue for those selling super-blue fuel and orange for those only stocking VK 88. The reverse gave details about how Westerners could buy fuel in East Germany in four languages (German, French, English and Swedish) as well as listing prices for fuel and Shell-branded lubricants. The 1965 map is shown above; the 1966 had the same images but replaced the red/orange background with a two-tone green. The extract from the map is also from 1965; the following year it additionally marked Mitropa rest areas and RS coupon sales points. Click on the map extract image above to see a larger section of the map at actual scale, including the map legend.

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1990 Minol map of Germany

In 1990 Minol produced what was probably its final map, covering both West (BRD) and East (DDR) Germany as Eastern citizens were, for the first time since the War, able to travel freely to the West. The old Eastern cartographer, VEB lacked an up to date map of West Germany, so Minol was forced to buy a design from Busche of Dortmund. Beneath the covers, the map is in fact identical to the Aral/Busche Übersichtskarte, even down to locating Aral stations (not Minol!) on the autobahns.

Petrolchemisches Kombinat Schwedt (PKS) was the main holding company for the lubricant blending plants in East Germany. Perhaps surprisingly, a version of the VEB Hermann Haack map was prepared for them in 1964, and occasionally updated, as in the 1974 issue shown here. It was overprinted with the location of PKS's plants in red as well as Intertank (but not Minol) petrol stations. The reverse was given over to detailed lubrication recommendations for all cars, trucks and motorbikes available in East Germany. The two stroke Wartburg and Trabant cars were expected to use Hyzet, but other eastern bloc cars (such as Skoda, Moskwitch, Dacia and the Fiat 125) had Addinol grades. Addinol oils are still sold in Germany, but under new ownership.

1974 Petrolchemisches Kombinat Schwedt map of East Germany (DDR)

Cross border issues from West Germany

1989 Shell (Mairs) map of East Germany

Here are two interlopers from a West German map programme. As travel restrictions began to ease slightly in the late 1980s it made sense for Mairs to include a map of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in their Shell map series, using their own cartography at 1:750,000. The left example was dated for sale in 1989-91, and for 1990-2 they introduced sectional maps in the Die Generale Karte series at 1:200,000, which distinguish between normal (Minol) and Intertank filling stations. The reverse was devoted to large maps of Rostock and Stralsund. Of course by the end of the planned sales periods the GDR had been abolished and reunited with the West, rendering the maps obsolete.

1990 Shell Die Generale Karte section 2 of East Germany

This Mobil map of the DDR is another, more surprising, West German issue. Mobil had no filling stations in West Germany as it was a minority shareholder in Aral, the largest domestic brand. In exchange, most Aral stations sold Mobil oils, as well as their own Aral Super Elastic product. One Mobil promotional atlas is known from the 1980s, but this is the only known West German Mobil sheet map. It dates from 1990 and was a card cover placed onto a stock ADAC/Mairs map of East Germany at the scale of 1:500,000. The rear cover of the map shown here carries a sticker for Franz Drexler, a Mobil lubricant distributor in Pfarrkirchen, Bavaria.

1990 Mobil lubricants map of East Germany (DDR)

Top of PageThanks to Alexander Drews, Bill Phillips and Jon Roma for their help with some of the images on this page.

Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2001-11

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.