Abandoned Panzerkaserne, Berlin (English)

Wanna check out this place ? Sent a message with your request to Ran Groetjes (FB-Messenger)  and get the GPS-coordinats.

Now that he was relegated from the central spots of the capital, Josef Stalin has got to hang around in remote ruins. In Bernau there are two parcels with big building blocks, which were the headquarter of the Heeresbekleidungsamts – something like a national clothing agency – during the Third Reich. After the war, the Red Army took over the place. The 90. Armoured Division was the last group to use the installations, before they were abandoned in the year of 1993: Where once was a direct train track, in order to deliver asap the new fancy uniforms or the most modern weapons, trees and bushes are growing now completely unwound. And in the buildings, in which generals were discussing the possible development of a third world war, now prevails the decay and a grave silence, which is only interrupted by some distant footsteps and you ask yourself if it’s only the echo of your own ones or maybe the ones of a soldier, which was left behind…

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For our blog the big question is, of course: Is Stalin still sneaking around in some corner of this giant complex? The rooms, garages and storehouses were cleared, but you can still find some vestiges, which remind you of the particular past of this spot: The constant „Rauchen Verboten“ (smoking forbidden) in Oldgerman letters, the Cyrillic inscription on walls, panels and elevators, cards of the soviet communist party, an old can of imported delicacy, a few tattered khaki-colored-coats, old world-maps and deteriorated military murals, which judging from its artistic value, would seem to have been made by a kindergarden-class: Army and art is a peculiar (or shall we even dare to say dangerous?) combination, which does not always lead to satisfactory results.

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An old trick to hang wallpaper, tells you to put a layer of newspapers sopped in glue between the wall and the wallpaper. The soviets apparently strictly followed this recommendation, because in many rooms you can see, next to the shreds of paper hangings, odd mosaics of Russian newspapers from the 80s and 90s. IMG_6926.jpgIMG_6951.jpgIMG_6939.jpgIMG_6965.jpgIMG_6932.jpg

 

Disclaimer: I never claimed that I visited this place. Nor did I advise or force anyone to visit this place. Entering such buildings is prohibited and can be punished with high fines or in some countries you may be fined with a prison sentence.

 

 

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Abandoned Children’s Hospital (English)

Wanna check out this place ? Sent a message with your request to Ran Groetjes (FB-Messenger)  and get the GPS-coordinats.

The fence bends easily like they want you to come in. Some trees sportingly hinder progress briefly so you don’t feel cheated, but the invitation is clear from the open door – they’re willing you, begging you to enter.No children cry here anymore, no longer do they suffer. No brave little soldiers, sad eyes wide above glistening cheeks, nor any laughter from those over the worst, happy now to be the centre of attention, the cause of so much worry and pain. No birthday parties, Christmas parties, balloons or cake.

IMG_6824Visitors gave up waiting a long time ago. It’s too late to save any of them now. They’re all gone, the last drama played out before the wards were left creaking and empty, rooms bare and lonely. The Kinderkrankenhaus is krank and no one’s there to provide the cure. No wonder the little souls of those left behind are desperate for visitors to come through its doors once again.

IMG_6828The children’s hospital and women’s clinic in Neukölln was discarded like an old nappy in 2005, when it and two other local hospitals were closed down and shunted together to a new super-duper complex up the road.
Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Prussian king, must be spinning in his mausoleum at the thought. Germany’s last monarch decided in 1913 that Brandenburg needed a midwife school for Brandenburg. Germans not being people to do things by halves, not even for midwives, it was opened on July 1st, 1917, during the war.
Under the leadership of Prof. Sigfrid Hammerschlag, it developed quickly and became very important, 20,000 nippers being brought into the world here by 1928. Unfortunately, another crowd came into the world too and Prof. Hammerschlag was forced into retirement on November 1st, 1933 – because he was Jewish.

IMG_6836In his inauguration speech the next day, Prof. Benno Ottow promised to fight for the “reorganisation and inclusion of this clinic in the whole of the state structure under National Socialism without compromise.” I presume all babies gave Nazi salutes as soon as they came out of the womb.Prof. Ottow, who even had the Hitler moustache favoured at the time, stayed in charge until 1945, when he managed to escape to Stockholm. There he worked with baby animals and wrote stuff about dinosaurs. He lived to the not insignificant age of 91 before dying in 1975. Of course, the hospital had been severely damaged in the second war, but was rebuilt and progressively expanded over the decades. A new children’s hospital building was built in 1969 and another new building with surgery and facilities to care for newborns and premature babies was built in 1978.
By this time 3,000 babies a year were seeing their first light of day here, making the Frauenklinik Neukölln the biggest such hospital in Germany for many years.
Now, before it’s converted to apartments, it’s occupied by bums and crawling with Polizei. At least it was when we were there, when one guy was being led away in handcuffs.

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No bodies, but long empty crumbling corridors, open doors, smashed glass and concrete crunching underfoot. Cheery paintings on walls somehow having the opposite effect. Everything’s smashed. Most of the buildings are the same.The older one, from 1917, is magnificent however, with statues on the outside walls, a wonderful stairway, great doorways and fantastic bay windows.
Some idiot tried burning it down though, so be careful if you go to the roof!
Someone else was roaming around too; voices drifted over every so often as I explored and admired the ubiquitous street art. I did stumble across a few hidden lairs, decrepit, dank and lonely, albeit luxurious when compared to what else must be available. There’s not a huge amount else to see unless you get a kick out of meeting homeless people. Just don’t kick them back or you might end up in another hospital.
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Abandoned children’s hospital and previously Germany’s biggest women’s gynaecology hospital for births, the care of newborns, premature nippers etc. By that, I mean the clinic was the biggest of its type in Germany, not that it was only for Germany’s biggest women. Ditto the hospital, it was abandoned. It wasn’t a hospital for abandoned children. 

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Tourist-o-meter Rating: 8/10. A lot of people were inside as we came. Even an older couple was interested in this art of decay.
Disclaimer: I never claimed that I visited this place. Nor did I advise or force anyone to visit this place. Entering such buildings is prohibited and can be punished with high fines or in some countries you may be fined with a prison sentence.

Abandoned Anatomy Institute, Berlin (English)

Wanna check out this place ? Sent a message with your request to Ran Groetjes (FB-Messenger)  and get the GPS-coordinats.

This week’s urban exploration adventure led me to the abandoned Anatomy Institute in Rathaus Steglitz, Berlin. This was the former location for Freie Universität Berlin’s Institute of Anatomy before it moved to a new campus in Mitte. Opened in 1949 the institute was only abandoned in 2005, the majority of the building is classrooms and lecture halls, however,  dig a little deeper and you will find a whole lot more than you bargained for.

IMG_7034.jpgThe building itself has been completely trashed, there was no window left un-smashed and no wall left untouched with the exception of one extremely creepy room containing a strange hospital trolley bed and a viewing gallery. Upstairs were traces of people squatting and although the building was in pretty bad shape, structuraly it seems to be pretty sound.

IMG_7039.jpgIMG_7044.jpgHeading down to one of three basements is where the real fun starts. Be prepared to stumble across an array of cadaver cabinets used to store dead bodies, an autopsy table and some strange sinks – I don’t even want to imagine the purpose of (but if anyone does know then please tell me!), just be careful which door you choose and which cadaver cabinet you open, because you never know what lies in the shadows.

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If you can stomach it then head down into one of the three basements (it’s more fun if I don’t tell you which one) to find the morgue – the darkness and immediate temperature drop make for a chilling setting. See if you can find the mortuary table through this labyrinth of rooms, but watch out for the dead bodies, and whatever you do, do not follow the signs. I recommend bringing someone to hold your hand and possibly a torch but in my experience leading the way via camera flash is a whole lot more entertaining.IMG_7057.jpgIMG_7060.jpg

Tourist-o-meter Rating: 9/10

While this place is still illegal to enter, the foot traffic was unbelievable. We saw groups practising spray painting, a shooting session with a German rapper and even a family with their kids.

 

Disclaimer: I never claimed that I visited this place. Nor did I advise or force anyone to visit this place. Entering such buildings is prohibited and can be punished with high fines or in some countries you may be fined with a prison sentence.
 
 

 

Abandoned chemical Nazi-factory (English)

Wanna check out this place ? Sent a message with your request to Ran Groetjes (FB-Messenger)  and get the GPS-coordinats.

Abandoned since 1999 and falling into disrepair, the Chemiewerk Rüdersdorf resembles a post-apocalyptic world, just outside of Berlin.  After a short walk along the railway track over the riverbridge we were not prepared for the sheer vastness of this abandoned place, it loomed before us surrounded in razor-sharp wire, like something out of a zombie movie.

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The history of the factory dates back to 1899 starting its life with “CO Wegener” a company which built a cement plant at this location. This was a strategic choice given that the industrial processing of quicklime and cement was carried out in the nearby Rüdersdorf. During World War II the site was then used by the Nazis for the production of synthetic bauxite used in the process of aircraft production. Germany was almost entirely dependent on Hungary and Yugoslavia for bauxite during the war and the British attempted to stop the bauxite trade by sending undercover agents in, however, this did not go to plan. As with many buildings in East Berlin, the Soviets dismantled the plant after the war, then in 1950, it was used to make animal feed and other farming materials.IMG_7097

There are several buildings to explore and this at site you cab climb to dizzying new heights. If you suffer from Vertigo or a fear of heights then this might not be the location for you. Climbing up the exposed concrete stairways to the top of the eight-story-high silo tanks is not for the faint-hearted – especially when there are large holes in the floor that would have you fall straight through to the bottom (not to mention the gap between the stairs and the floor that you have to jump over).IMG_7117

The roofing is quite unstable so I would not recommend walking on it, but if you fancy making across this rickety bridge then be my guest. Just remember if you are on German health insurance you most likely will not be covered…IMG_7107

Items are left in disarray as if there was a swift evacuation, chemical bottles fill rooms and meticulously handwritten documents are scattered throughout the ruins.  The factory has been used for several movies including ‘Enemy at the Gates’ and ‘The Monuments Men’. I can see why – the beauty and epic presence of these buildings is nothing short of cinematic.IMG_7092

Plans to make something out of the location were rejected,  and the thick reinforced concrete and enormous contaminated sites put many companies off furthering these proposals. Now it is just left to nature and the outcasts of society. As with any urban exploration, I urge you to not destroy or vandalise anything, it ruins the experience for others and often makes these places more off limits then they already are due to security. Remeber our credo: take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footsteps.IMG_7115IMG_7121IMG_7094

 

Disclaimer: I never claimed that I visited this place. Nor did I advise or force anyone to visit this place. Entering such buildings is prohibited and can be punished with high fines or in some countries you may be fined with a prison sentence.

Return of the Cows (E)

Wanna check out this place ? Sent a message with your request to Ran Groetjes (FB-Messenger)  and get the GPS-coordinats.

There aren’t many reasons to visit quiet Dietrich-Bonhoeffer Strasse, which lies on the bleeding edge of gentrified Prenzlauerberg’s encroachment into (formerly) gritty Friedrichshain. But Sergej Dott’s whimsical public art installation, “Die Rückkehr der Kühe” (“The Return of the Cows”) just might make it worth the trip.

Halfway down the block, if you peer into the empty lot and look up, you’ll see a green field full of larger-than-life cows “walking” up and down the side of a pre-war Berlin apartment house.

Dott specializes in public installations, including the cow installations he calls “Kuhunst.” Savvy Germanophiles will recognize the pun on the German words for art (“Kunst”) and cow (“Kuh”). Another can be found just west of The Return of the Cows, at Kollwitzstraße 18 in Prenzlauerberg. At the time Angelica and I went there, they were renovating some buildings so the entrance to the cows was fenced and guarded by monitors so watch out !

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