This complex, built in the end of the 19th century, was on my wish list for a very long time. When the opportunity arises to visit it I grabbed my chance and carefully planned the explore. There were a couple of buildings I badly wanted to see, and some I didn’t. I was aware of the exact location of some of the great spots and knew how to enter without being seen. It was a very exciting visit, running around on this huge site trying to not get noticed by the people working there. During the process of running from one building to another I had to quickly get down on my belly in the wet grass to avoid being seen by people that were there to cut trees.
The best architects designed this complex with luxury balcony’s, hallways and platforms. At first there was enough space to house 600 patients (mostly poor and elderly people with lung tuberculosis). Soon it turned out that there was not enough space and the capacity was doubled. Patients were separated into different buildings by gender. Staff buildings were also taken into account. For example, the laundry and kitchen were at the female part of the complex, and the boiler house was at the male part.
Within 25 years more than 115.000 patients were treated here. In the 1st and 2nd World War the complex has been used as military hospital for the German army. Even Adolf Hitler was treated here with an injured leg in 1916. Unfortunately, some parts of the complex have been completely destroyed during the war.
Immediately after the 2nd World War the Russians took over the complex and also used it as a military hospital. It was even known as the largest military hospital outside of Russia itself. Striking is that the Russians didn’t change anything of the exterior of the complex. They did make some adjustments to the interior here and there though which nowadays are still noticeable.
In 1994 the last patients left the clinic. Since then the complex is still standing in its original state. For years’ people could walk around freely but since a few deadly accidents happened it’s been closed. Fun fact is that parts of a few well known movies have been filmed here, like; Valkyrie, The Pianist and Sick House. The band Rammstein recorded a music clip inside one of the buildings as well. The old entry post of the complex is being used as a bistro now. Other parts have been renovated. Nevertheless, most of the complex is not being used anymore thus decaying and I’ve been walking around those buildings for a whole day. Loved it.