HAUNTED BY HISTORY
Everybody and their dog knows about Beelitz-Heilstätten, which is why I hadn’t written about it before. Not everyone has a dog, though. Some have other pets, less inquisitive or knowledgeable than dogs. So this is for the goldfish.
Beelitz is where Hitler and Honecker were treated for injuries/ailments sustained in World War I and East Germany’s last days, respectively.
The huge military hospital complex is abandoned now, shrouded in mystery, haunting, eerie, waiting to see what fate holds for it next…
A swarm of flies rose to greet me on my maiden visit, buzzing about me furiously as if to guard the secrets of the past. I’d just stepped into the flaky corridor, long and well lit by the grace of sunshine and contemporary window frames with glass intact. Glass is not normally intact in such places.
The flies went berserk, in my face, my eyes, my mouth. I tried swatting the fuckers away but there were too many of them, probably still feasting on the flesh of a discarded patient and angry at the rare disturbance.
I had to withdraw from the infuriated cloud and then it struck me: These were no ordinary flies. They were Hitler’s henchmen, his henchflies if you will, guarding the entrance to the site were he was once at his most vulnerable, preserving the stillness and serenity for him, and driving visitors from rooting around in the past where the past had no wish to be disturbed. Fucking Nazi flies.
But damn it, I wasn’t going to be dissuaded by flies, Nazis or not. I regrouped, gathered myself, and plunged through the swarm, swatting wildly even as the fuckers followed me. Eventually they desisted, left me on my way, and returned to gorging on whatever dead thing had been lying in the corridor.
I hurried on, there’s a lot to see. And smell. The smell of disinfectant still lingers in the operating rooms, permeating through the airy corridors, a caustic whiff in sharp contrast to the gentle palettes of old paint flaking off the walls and fantastic window frames. Beelitz’s dusty tiled corridors really are quite beautiful, and the abundance of fading glory and subtle shades make it a photographer’s dream.
It’s not quite forgotten – some of the buildings have been painstakingly restored – but the rest of the site, once home to more than 60 buildings, is in various stages of decay or preservation. I guess there just isn’t enough money to preserve them all, and it’s not something someone will do unless there’s something in it for them.
Its history begins in 1898, when Berlin’s health insurance authority bought around 140 hectares here to build a tuberculosis sanatorium and nursing home. The newly built 600-bed capacity treatment center opened in early 1902, with separate facilities for men and women.
It was expanded over the following years to cater for Berlin’s sickly population, but all the patients were kicked out on August 3rd, 1914, shortly after the outbreak of war, when it was taken over by the Red Cross and 1,525 beds were made available for the new patients.
Hitler was among 12,586 patients to be treated here during the war, the poor blighter injuring his thigh after some inconsiderate buffoon threw a grenade at the Battle of the Somme. I’m sure he wasn’t complaining as he recuperated in nice peaceful surroundings under the supervision of the Beelitz Mädels.
Of course Hitler was a nobody then, so the nurses probably just ignored him and made fun of his Austrian accent. The real heroes were off fighting at the front and not whining in luxurious hospitals. He managed to while away almost two months at Beelitz until December 1916.
The hospital went back to catering for civilians again in 1920 and it underwent further expansion. Another 200 hectares were purchased in 1928 and by the following year there were 1,338 beds available, two-thirds of them for lung treatments.
The next war saw it commandeered to care for wounded soldiers again. Of course, Hitler was a big wig by then, and indirectly responsible for sending new patients back to his old stomping ground. Not that he had been doing much stomping with his gammy thigh.
The Russians took over after the war, as is their wont. The Red Army took over anything that could be taken over. How they managed to do it all is beyond me.
Beelitz became the largest Soviet military hospital outside the USSR, and they weren’t all that keen to let it go either – they didn’t leave until 1994.
The seriously ill Erich Honecker was admitted here with liver cancer in December 1990, having just seen his country cease to exist. He fled with his wife Margot to Moscow three months later as the vultures of justice began to circle. The Russians returned him, but Honecker’s story is too long to get into here. He died in Chile in 1994.
Those buildings have seen some heavy shit. In July 2008, Anja, a 20-year-old model was beaten with a frying pan and strangled to death by a fetish photographer, who then had sex with her corpse. It was all part of a sex game apparently, sadomasochism gone wrong.
“Something got out of control there. My client didn’t want that,” the killer’s solicitor said.
It got out of control a few years before that, too, when the “Beast of Beelitz” was on the loose.
He murdered five women and a baby between 1989-91, and tried to kill at least three more – he attacked one woman and left her seriously injured, as were two 12-year-old girls in a separate knife attack. He sexually abused most of his victims.
He was Wolfgang Schmidt, a former police employee, who should have been caught a lot sooner but for the incompetence of his former colleagues.
One of the victims was the wife of a Russian doctor working at Beelitz. After killing her three-month old son Stanislaw by smashing his head off a tree stump, he gagged the screaming mother with a bra, strangled her and had sex with her corpse. Must be something in the air.
Schmidt was very tall and had a penchant for pink women’s underwear, earning him the nickname “Rosa Riese” (pink giant). Sometimes he left it at the crime scene. He was eventually caught when two joggers found him masturbating while wearing women’s clothing in the forest.
That was 1991. If the Russians hadn’t enough reasons to leave already with that nutjob hanging around outside…
They left three years later. Some traces remain, like the murals on the walls, graffiti in the attics and the iconic Soviet soldier standing guard outside, but otherwise the ghosts roaming Beelitz have the place to themselves. They like it that way.
LOCATION AND ACCESS (HOW TO FIND GUIDE)
- What: Beelitz-Heilstätten, former TB clinic and sanatorium turned military hospital during the first and second world wars, and kept on as same afterwards by the victorious Russians. Hitler and Honecker were its most famous patients but there were plenty of others too.
- Where: Beelitz-Heilstätten, 14547 Beelitz, Germany. Simple, huh?
- How to get there: You can get a regional train directly from Ostbahnhof, Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstraße, Hauptbahnhof usw. It takes 50 minutes from Alex. Get off at the conveniently named Beelitz-Heilstätten Bahnhof. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you arrive at the train station – it too is derelict.If you turn left when you’re coming out of the station (south east), you’ll find the women’s clinic on your right, and the men’s clinic to your left. That’s the one with the stone-faced Soviet guard out the front. Take no notice of him. He looks severe but he doesn’t move. If you turn right out of the station and take the road in a northwesterly direction, you’ll find the women’s TB clinic on your left and the men’s on your right, where you’ll also find the so called “Whitney Houston House.” Here’s a very handy map that will give you an overview of the complex. And here’s a map of the area so you don’t get lost.
- Getting in: Well, this is the thing. Some of the buildings are ridiculously easy to get into, with doors open practically inviting you to enter, while others are securely boarded up and locked making entry very tricky indeed. Most of the locked-up buildings (and better preserved ones) are to the left of the main road. The ones to the right were no challenge at all, apart from the flies. Of course, it’s always the locked buildings that are the most tempting to enter. Why is it locked up? Imagine the treasures inside! So use your discretion. You’re not going to get into all the buildings, but you’ll probably see enough for a satisfactory outing. I crawled around the drainage tunnels under one building hoping to find a way in, only to emerge in another building I’d already explored. On another two occasions I’d to get in through windows, first by balancing on a metal beam over three meter drop, and then by climbing boarding and squeezing in through a gap on top. It’s worth it though. Just make sure if you’re climbing in somewhere, that you’ll be able to climb out again. It’s good, but it ain’t that good.
- When to go: Go during the week, when you’re less likely to run into tour groups. If you really wanted to avoid them you could check their site to see when they’re visiting to plan around it.Otherwise go early in the day, giving yourself plenty of time and daylight to explore. It’s not really the place to come for parties at night.
- Difficulty rating: 5/10. Getting here is piss easy, getting into some of the buildings easier still, but some of those buildings are stubbornly difficult to get into – if not impossible without actually breaking and entering (very much illegal and in no way encouraged) – which jacks up the difficulty rating a little bit.
- Who to bring: Yes, this can be a romantic adventure for those of a romantic nature so certainly bring along your wives, girlfriends, husbands and boyfriends. What the hell, bring them all! It’s certainly a good idea to bring someone along to call for help if you get stuck in a tunnel or a roof collapses on your head.
- What to bring: Dirty clothes. Do not wear your Sunday best or (as I did) new shoes (the only pair of shoes I had that did not make me feel like a tramp when I met real humans). But definitely bring dirty clothes. It’s worth it. As usual, bring a camera, a couple of beers and something to eat. There are no shops in Beelitz-Heilstätten so you have to bring your own supplies if you want to avoid going thirsty/hungry. And don’t forget – as I always do – to bring a torch. Scrabbling around in tunnels in the dark may sound like fun but, well, maybe it doesn’t sound like much fun now that I think about it.
- Dangers: Again, like in most of these places, some of the buildings are in a sorry state, and you don’t want them falling on you. Use your discretion and be fucking careful. If a building looks like it might collapse it means it might collapse. And as always, be on the look out for wardens, security guards, Polizei and that sort of thing.
Disclaimer – The person referred to as “I” in this post is not necessarily me, nor does “I” refer to anyone in particular. The only thing that can be said in all certainty about “I” is that it’s the letter after “H” in the Roman alphabet. Its appearance throughout this post is probably coincidental. In fact, I, like H, or even this sentence, may not exist at all.
Lurking in the shadows of the forest, Heilstätte Grabowsee creaks and groans through the gloom, sighing with echoes of the past as it sinks into decay.
Horrific experiments on concentration camp prisoners were carried out at Heilstätten Hohenlychen, formerly a complex of sanatoriums, then military hospital.
Waldhaus Buch continued as a TB sanatorium until its patients fell victim to the Nazis’ euthanasia program to make room for wounded soldiers during the war.
came here a few months ago while i was still in Berlin. It’s a pretty damn cool place to go around. saw several other people walking around and exploring the buildings as well. however in a distant apartment sized building not far from that russian statue there was a group of adults sitting in lawn chairs. not sure what that was about but we didn’t bother to find out. look out for deer and other wild animals when exploring the outer garages and such. came about ten feet from something HUGE hiding behind some trees and bushes and scared the hell out of me. not sure what it was but its steps made huge thumps and thankfully ran in the other direction.
Just a quick question. I’m planning a trip to Beelitz and I’m just curious how much the train between Berlin and Beelitz is? I’ve done the hospital before but I traveled there on a prepaid inter-rail ticket so I didn’t need to buy a specific ticket. The Deutsche Bahn website doesn’t have any ticket price information and there’s a few people interested in joining me and they’re just curious how much it would cost.
Thanks for any help and the awesome blog!
Hi, I can’t remember exactly, but it wasn’t astronomical. €6 or €7 or something like that. Certainly no more than €12 return. Bon voyage!
I am amazed! This blog is absolutely great and I am happy I came across it! 😀
This place has a great history,
one day I will visit.
In this place was filmed the clip Mein Herz Brennt?
Is it a map that shows wich buildings are what?
According to Wikipedia, yes.
I did see a map somewhere, can’t remember where. Google around a bit and I’m sure you’ll find one.
In fact, I just googled beelitz heilstätten plan and came up with more images and maps that I can shake a stick at. So yes, it is a map. Several maps.
congrats! really nice blog. really willing to target some of these places soon or later
I was there yesterday and the place is awesome and beautiful! One strange thing happened though, which doesn’t bother me; I have heard that the place is often visited by other explorers… I heard a female voice from the floor above me so I thought (because I was there alone) it would be nice to meet somebody to join/talk with. But when I got to the second floor, it was nobody there! Strange!?
That happening didn’t felt “spooky”, it was more like: I hoped that I would make a friend interested in UE to explore with here in Berlin, which i don’t have.
A funny incident when I have heard from so many sources that the place is haunted.
Thanks for the information given on this blog, it was very helpful!
I’ve heard you have to pay now to enter… is that true?
Nope. Not true. There’s a small historical museum in one of the restored buildings. There’s probably an entrance fee to that.
Great news! Thanks! 😉
I was there in november last year with a group of friends and it was total fun. We spend the whole day exploring the buildings from the right side of the track. Met a lot of explorers or just people that were walking aroubd to enjoy a sunny late autumn sunday afternoon. No one cared about anyone but we did find something strange. There was a woman that was offering paid tours of the buildings and that we met couple of times and each time she told us to go away because if not she will call thr police…that didnt happend…but she was still weird.
I went there yesterday as part of an abandoned asylum: hospital project! This is my first one outside of the uk! Absolutely loved photographing it! Thank you for this incredible blog, very informative and beautiful photographs. Charli x
I went there yesterday and we managed to get into some of the buildings, but there was some kind of photography course going on and they claimed we couldn’t go into the buildings they worked in, because the course was going on. They occupied two of the big buildings close to the Russian statue. Made me wonder if those buildings had been opened up specifically for the course or if they’re always easy to get into.
Thanks for a great blog!
How did you find getting in/around the place ? Any issues with security etc or was it free reign? I am in Berlin for a couple of days and my friend and I want to visit the place.
As a general rule, if there are people already in a building, avoid it. Beelitz is huge. Even if the buildings close to the Russian statue are occupied – and they’re the buildings that are hard to get into anyway – there are more than enough to the west and to the north that are easily accessible and worth exploring too.
I didn’t see any security – but like I said there were people doing a photography course who seemed to have paid someone to be there, they’d put up signs and had badges on them etc. so when they told us not to enter two of the buildings, we didn’t. That said, the signs outside say it’s illegal to be on the whole site but since we met quite a few other explorers (of all ages) there, I assume it’s become “legal” to be on the grounds, just not in the houses.
Irish – yes, you’re right, I had a really good time exploring the other buildings, was surprised so many were “open”.
I was there on Sunday 12 May with a group of 8 and we were stopped by a guard who was part of this photo tour thing. He said we could not get in to the site unless we booked a photo tour which costs 40€ per person so we just took the train back… We met the guy on the female ward side and he said the same went for the other ward across the street.
I’m sorry but this is complete and utter horseshit. There’s a crowd called go2know cashing in on these places, doing tours, and they obviously want to make as much money as possible. They can’t tell you not to do what they’re doing.
Beelitz is huge. If there’s a guard in one part trying to scare people away, go to another part. There’s more than enough to explore. But going with a group of eight naturally increases the likelihood you’ll be seen.
Will ignore them next time so, hopefully the place will still be standing when I return to Berlin in a couple of years. Thanks for all the tips and your great blog.
we were in Beelitz last Sunday (19.05). We first took a guided tour with Frau Krause: sites.google.com/site/beelitzheilstaetten/fuehrungen
The tour took about 2,5 hours and was actually very interesting but you cannot enter any buildings. During the tour, we saw a lot of other people exploring the site on their own but Frau Krause didn’t say anything to them, she didn’t send them away. She just repeated a few times to us that it’s horrible that people keep destroying the place… After the tour we paid our 5 euros and then did kind of the same tour again on our own. This time we, of course, did enter some of the buildings and took amazing pictures. We didn’t see any guards.
So I think for people (like me) who don’t have a lot of experience with visiting abandoned places, it would be interesting to take the tour first. I will definitely go there again.
Your suggestion is a pretty good one. I wouldn’t object to paying €5 for the tour, finding out about everything, and then going off exploring on my own. Thanks for the link, I’m sure others will find it useful too.
The other crowd charging €40 is just a rip-off though. Avoid.
If I was rich and of German descent I would buy this place and restore it Looks beautiful Thanks for the funny comments made me laugh Hitler’s Henchflies LOL 🙂
I was there today and there were a few things that I wanted to share with you about it.
First of all, it looks like they are refurbishing the part on the left (West?) of the train station. This is the part where the Sovjet statue is. The water tower is currently completed and I believe that the other buildings will follow soon, as I could see preparations for it.
All in all, there was still a lot to explore and I did really enjoy walking underneath one of the main buildings. A torch or smartphone with a similar app are highly recommended!
The part on the north east side (right of the train tracks) was interesting… A company called “go2known” put up all kinds of tape to lock down the area. Furthermore, they put up sings that it was illegal to go there as it was their property….. Clearly, I ignored it and during my trespassing I did see many other people there. Everyone was very friendly.
Near the end I bumped into a security guy from the company and he asked me to leave. I confronted him with the fact that his company did not own this property and he said they have permission to do this. I argued with him for some time, but he ended by threatening to call the police. Whilst I wasn’t scared at all, actually it would be fun if the police did show up as the site has 1000s of places to hide… haha.
I just checked this “company’s” website and they are scamming tourist as they charge 40 EUR to do a tour, or 90 if you want a model photo shoot…. bleh…. Not only do they host tours in Beelitz, they also do the same at Teuvelsberg and other places.
I saw a group of about 50+ people being guided through the area, but the German tour guide did not say anything to me. Later on I saw another “security” guy, who looked like a 16-year old boy. So, all in all not very impressing.
Go2known (what a shitty name) is clearly a company that wants to take advantage of tourists. They have no interest whatsoever in restoring the site(s) and only do this for their own benefit. Sickening behaviour!
Anyway, I would encourage everyone to go to these sites for free and let’s annoy the hell out of these bastards.
Hey Tom, thanks very much for your comment and for sharing your story. I agree that that company is just ripping people off, and would also encourage people to visit these places for free. I think all their “tours” are €40. Ridiculous.
I’m going to see this place on Sunday. We’re coming from BC Canada. I found this site on-line and have visited it many times as I find it fascinating. Thanks for sharing this great story with us all. You definitely have us impressed. Cheers!
Very interesting documentary on the subject on RBB TV showing tonight (10.09.2013).
A Frenchman watching German TV, and proudly reporting about it in english! :))
Thanks for the tip! You can watch it again (or for the first time if you missed it, like I did) here: mediathek.rbb-online.de/rbb-fernsehen/geheimnisvolle-orte/beelitz-heilstaetten?documentId=17022890
Thanks so much for taking the time to document these fascinating places. Some UK friends pointed me to your site before my Feb visit to Berlin. I will be back next month for 2 weeks of building exploration.
Went there end of August; no problem at all (on a Monday), no one around or almost. We could get into the little tower on the roof of one of the buildings and see all around, it was a blast! Thanks for the article – as for the other ones; I just left Berlin so I won’t be able to do more than those I did, but I keep reading you for the hell of it. Keep exploring for us!
You are absolutely intriguing the way you talk about the things you experience. It is infatuating.
Ehy guys, I went there today, friday 25-10-2013.
Still to be easy to go in, such an amazing place! You need at least 3 days to see it all, it’s huge!
Tomorrow I’go a couple of days to Vogelsang, I’ll write a note about the conditions of the place when I come back.
I’ll upload some pictures as soon as possible on my page.
Thanks to Irish berlin for such a good job!
Is there any way to obtain an official permission to shoot? From a city hall maybe? Has anyone tried this? 🙂
And what about the fun?!
Thanks to your advice me and my girlfriend went there twice (first time in autum, second in spring). here are some analog pics we took when we first got there andrejrusskovskij.com/?p=309
yes, it’s EUR300 for keys to the site for the whole day.
If you liked the previous shots, take a look at these ones, taken in Beelitz few months later (spring 2013) andrejrusskovskij.com/?p=512
Really? Do you know the contacts? A bit expensive…
I went here on Tuesday great could’nt get in the two main buildings as its been very well boarded up, the others were easy, but I bumped into a film crew there who are going to use the location for a movie . I asked if I could come in but he wouldn’t let me as they probably paid. but he did share the details of who to get in contact with. Maybe my next visit, its along way from Australia though,..
I went today (1st Feb 2014) and I fell straight through a rotten staircase in one of the buildings (the building on the right just before you get to the huge building with the huge elevator shaft in it) and nearly died. My advice: don’t use any wooden staircases. They’re likely rotten. The concrete ones all seemed fine.
Apart from that, the trip was amazing. Is there a detailed map of the underground passages somewhere? Or just a map of the buildings? We got really lost down there.
Yes, as I wrote under “Dangers” – be fucking careful. That goes for stairs as well as ceilings, walls and floors…
does anyone know exactly in which building is the room with the hospital beds and machines?
something like that
You’re too late. It’s all gone.
You were right. I’d love it. I’m going to have to visit.
Great photos, great words.
Get thee to Beelitz!
I normally love to explore places, for the fun of it… but with this one… i was interested to come to this place to shoot photos and videos in a serious way.
When you want to shoot you need time and the serenity to know that no one will interrupt you (or worse).
So i found some contacts info i wrote to, and the answer is:
300 euros for the whole day… take it or leave it.
It’s kind of disappointing, because if you want to do it for artistic sake and with no intention to make any money out of it… it’s a serious expense!
The problem is that there’s no way to know if you paying to an authorized entity…or if it’s just wasted money.
Nowadays it’s sad that if you love decay you have to pay for it… and someone else will make money out of it.
I’m seriously evaluating if it’s worth to pay. On one hand, i really love the atmosphere of this place, and making a good shooting could be a sort of gift to myself, but i can’t help i feel pretty stupid to pay.
I repeat if it was just for the sake of exploration, i would never even think to pay…but in my specific case… i’m battled…
To Spudnik… what do you mean with “it’s too late, it’s all gone”? That picture is amazing, do you mean that stuff like that has been removed?
That’s another doubt i have: i’m gonna make a long trip to come to Berlin, and then there to Beelitz, and i wouldn’t like to discover when i’m there, that all the interesting stuff is gone… anyone knows more details?
Been there today, haven’t seen any buildings that were not completly distoryed on the inside, apart from the building that was renovated. Haven’tbeen to the other side, since a (very friendly) security guard told us it was forbidden to shoot there. Made a few pictures, but I am dissapointed that there wasn’t a lot to see on the side I went on 🙁 Mind you, on that side we saw 2 security guards, with 2 big ass dogs. So be careful! We traveled 8 hours, and it’s probably my own fault for not noticing there was more stuff on the other side, but in my opinion, it wasn’t worth it 🙁 Did get startled by an other group of explorers, and they actually paid for a tour, they were with a pretty big group as well.
That’s my fear…going there, maybe being charged, as i see they ask money… and then not being able to see/photograph anything valuable.
The place has been vandalized and due to that fact people have been employed to guard and charge fees ( which will help to renovate some of the buildings) and they keep,an eye on the people and their wherabouts! As it is private proberty any trespassing is illegal ….not funny ! Pay up , enjoy as long as it is still possible.
Are you on commission? As far as I know, the company charging €60(!) for tours does not contribute to their renovation. They’re in it for the money. So, pay up yourself if you’re happy to.
is this place still okay to visit? is it still accessible?
Any tips? Will be visiting end of june!
It will still be there in June. You’re better off going during the week as opposed to weekends.
I’m not sure wether someone knows it. There was a brutal murder there. A judge met a young woman from the internet there and he killed her and dismembered her body.. its not long ago and a little secret. The people don’t talk about that cause the place has already a bad name in the area around berlin.sorry for my bad english i have to practice more…
This is amazing. I love creepy places but don’t ask me why this one does not seem as scary or haunted to me so maybe I’ll finally get over myself and just go. Dein blog ist echt genial! Hahah du machst das was ich mich nicht traue 😉
I was lucky to get the chance to work in there and it was incredible!!!
So the final word right now is that it costs 60 euro to visit anytime? Are the guards ever NOT there?
taken over by the Red Army 1945th….taken over. This place was in end of April 45 full of wounded German soldiers and medical persons…what happened with them? Where are they? That is damnation of Beelitz, not Hitler or Hoenecker. Dirty pages of history?
Came here past tuesday (8 july 2014). People were at the area with the russian soldier statue, telling us (in a quite unkind manner) we should leave because they were filming there and the grounds were ‘privatgelände’. so we went to the other side of the road and explored a few buildings from the inside there. we haven’t seen anybody there, heard some sounds but that could’ve been dripping rain as well. No one charging for tours, no other explorers, no guards with dogs. All good 🙂
got there on a sunday, caught by a guard who was very furiously chasing us off the ground. when we tried to get back in and were caught again, he took pictures of our passports. dont think that will have any further story to it, but it doesnt make it easy to get in and explore it in peace 🙂
are they guarding the part where the bombed-out-forest-on-the-roof-building is or just the one with the sovjet statue?
Went there saturday afternoon, one hours drive from Berlin, so I was very excited about getting in and the pricing.
I parked at the train station, and walked a few hundred meters, found a grass path left into the area, without using
the main entrance. Met a lot of couples and people with cameras, and was told the price was 70 Euros to get in
(yellow bracelets?) – but that it was worth it.
Never met a security guard until four hours later though, when I was leaving anyway. I was shooting photos in the
three main buildings near the statue on the left of the road. On the right I think they guarded the entrance.
Great rough, beautiful rooms and halls with at least 4 colours of wallpaper, but perhaps I missed some furniture
and hospital gear. I only saw two “hopital bed arrangements”.
Thanks for a great site, which I will definitely use on my next visit to Germany.
Rammstein filmed the video to their song Mein Herz Brennt there: youtube.com/watch?v=CHE-seRNpfc
Hi Irish Berliner,
I have returned to Berlin with time on my hands, and the first port of call is Beelitz-Heilstätten.
I spent 5 hours there, which was not enough.
It was nice to wonder around undisturbed for most of my day.
I did fall lucky (after 4 hours in the buildings to the right of the train track) when I finally reached the Soviet guard, to find the doors to the Zentralbadearnstalt wide open, and a film crew who were busy polishing their cameras. There was even an Ambulance on stand-by, and several huge bodyguards.
It turned out that a Danish Pop/Hip-hop group were getting ready to shoot a video.
Well me being me, I brazenly walked up to them and asked if I could park my bike and be nosey, and I’m so glad that I did.
Not only did they let me in to film the Bath house, but the lead singer also gave me a small guided tour.
What a nice bunch of guys. The group is called L.I.G.A and are very big in Denmark.
They asked if i’d like to hang-out while they filmed their video, but I had to decline, as it was time for my to catch the train back to Berlin.
I’m happy to be following your great work again Irish.
Thumbs up for a great blog!
I hope you don’t mind me sharing a little video 🙂
Its from the Building that’s lost to the forest.
This article is so Awesome man….Definitely plan on going here one day (Preferably with my band to do a music video). And yeah, I think mein Hertz brennt was shot here too. Amazing place man. It has that eerie haunting quality.
Hats off again man. Great article, plus there was humor in it too xD Cheers 😉
I went to Beelitz for the the 4th time this year. We arrived this time to find severe damage to several significant parts of the buildings. It’s getting more and more dangerous to explore the site. For example, a large part of the ceiling in the famous room with the steel-framed bed in it has recently collapsed. Sheer luck nobody was in there since this is a very popular spot. It was also worrying because this was not a wooden floor that fell in; it was steel and concrete.
Next, we walked to the largest building; the huge hospital ward at the end of the site with the elevator jammed in the shaft. Here, the top floor is worse that I’ve ever seen it. The building seems to have deteriorated rapidly over the last few months –– presumably due to rainwater damage. After exploring the roof, we were descending the staircase when there was a huge crash as a large part of the upper floor fell in on itself. We ran down the staircase as more creaking and crashing sounds echoed above. This was probably the most intense experience I’ve ever had urban exploring.
Finally, we decided to make another attempt to reach the iconic Piano Room with the stained glass windows. We made it in here, but access was via a high window at totally the opposite end of the building. We then crossed a semi-collapsed roof and through a series of labyrinthine passageways while night fell across the building. This was deeply scary. Someone has put plastic sheeting on some of the windows and it rustled and bucked in the moonlight. We pushed open a forbidden door which creaked like a screaming child, and then, finally, we were in the piano room.
The piano is in surprising good tune considering. Although the sustain pedal is broken. It felt epic to walk into the room under the moonlight and having survived several collapses.
I think that was the last time I will visit Beelitz. It’s too dangerous now, even by my reckless standards. When steel and concrete floors are collapsing at random, it’s over for me. If you still want to take a look, I’d tentatively trust the lower floors in the big hospital ward, but that’s about it.
Wait a moment.. i’ve been there 5 times and i never found a piano room. Where the f..k is it?
Very interesting and helpful!
I’m going to Germany for the first time in two months and I would love going there. I’ll stay in Berlin, so it’s not far!
I’m a little scared about the guards and the guides, what kind of answers I should give to avoid getting into any trouble? And, who have the right of telling me to leave and who not?
I’ll be going with a friend that is living in Berlin this year, I don’t want to put him in any legal trouble with the police or something just for accompanying me and my craziness into that kind of places, that would be terrible!
If you want safer alternatives, this site offers you plenty of them! I never went to Beelitz, but explored a lot of other amazing places that are presented in this site. My favorites are Vogelsang and Waldstadt. You only need to be in soviet mood to enjoy them!
Some idiots stole an excavator and demolsihed the barricades and the entry of the surgery building. I guess there’s going to be more security from now on…
That’s what they say, but they say that all the time. They might try and take better care of their precious construction equipment but I’d be surprised if there was much done about the buildings themselves.
Thanks for a great blog. Always really interested to see the articles and the info is great.
Hope you don’t think this is too much to spoil the place for anyone that plans to go – but I am sure there are a lot of people looking at this who will never make it there and thought this would offer a different perspective and better insight for them!
Hopefully this link will come up OK
Keep up the great work with the blog – looking forward to seeing some new places…..
Just saw this video and desided to share it with you 🙂 youtube.com/watch?v=hmZNPvOkFek
So, here it goes. I have to do my best to be brief (won’t happen) 🙂 Irish; THANK you for your post on Beelitz here! You certainly do have a way with words AND your camera, so kudos to you!
WARNING: A small URGENT update for anyone planning on visiting the Beelitz Heilstätten site in the upcoming days: I was there for the third time this Thursday (March 19th), and there were people working there – builders and demolition, etc. Metal posts have been lined up around some of the buildings and one building already has the complted result: Metal fences (not possible to go through, but certainly not impossible to climb – but will tear your clothes and skin) are being boarded up around the buildings. This goes especially for the building with the terrace on one side and has at least two turqoise oriels which, this Thursday, was nearly completed. SO GO SOON – if you want to see the buildings from the inside and don’t want your clothes and skin ripped. The ripping will only be due to the ends of the metal posts which are quite pointy. They haven’t put spikes at the end of em or anything 😉 If you don’t care if your clothes/you get a little ripped, fuck this post 🙂 Where there’s a will, there’s a way 😀 I like life hacking and this is definitely a chance of doing exactly that 😉
CAUTION: For everyone. I might be a bit of a scaredy-cat (;)) but be careful when inside of the buildings. There are some of them where there are literal holes in the floors/ceilings, etc. and where half a floor and half a (concrete!) staircase have come crashing down into the next one. In those buildings I stay at the ground floor 😉 Just stay safe and beware, everyone. There have been enough deaths at Beelitz for a century 😉
QUESTION TIME: Perhaps mostly for our Irish Berliner here but anyone who knows (not just conjecture) why there has been a change in the trespassing department. Previously, it was legal to go to the premises, right? How long ago was that, anyone know? A fellow photographer told me a story about a man having been granted access about a year ago in spring, signed the document that entering the compound was on his own volition and responsibility and accidentally plummeted to his death in one of the buildings. At which point, the owner of the premises didn’t grant anyone access anymore. Is this true? Did someone die there in the past two years cos of the decay taking place in the buildings? Would just like to know whether or not to tread more lightly next time I go 😉
THANK you! That was it for me 😀 Lots of love to all of you <3
P.S.: For you who 1) go to see the apparatus in some of the rooms, it’s gone. If that’s your sole/primary purpose, I recommend you don’t go. For you who 2) are fascinated by the juxtaposition between civilization and nature and the force of the latter; by all means go during late spring and all of summertime: The trees growing up out of concrete floors inside the buildings, the tree branches smashing the window glass and leaves streaming in through the windows, the trees growing on top of the buildings’ rooftops (how I do not know but they are) and the roots of trees gracing your hair when walking around inside some of the floors of buildings; BY ALL MEANS, FUCKING GO! 😀 This to me, is pure magic and reminds of other abandoned places such as Chernobyl and Pripyat 🙂 Simply magical 🙂
Signing off :*
Add to the post above: With the turqoise oriels was the women’s lung sanatorium, I believe 🙂
Add to the post above: that’s right, they are working in 2 of the 4 areas in Beelitz.
For the women’s lung sanatorium they are planning studios for artists etc.: refugium-beelitz.de and facebook.com/refugiumbeelitz. And in the area around the surgery they’re building a park which will open this summer: heilstaetten-park.de/media/HeiPa.pdf.
we were there on friday and spent a few hours wandering around the place. unfortuantely, the most interesting buildings were tightly locked, so no way (for us) to get in. we approached guards near the well preserved buildings and they told us (very friendly) to leave the place or to book a tour for 40 euros. so, buildings are still accessible, but the most interesing ones need to be visited with a tour guide.
It’s not true to say you need a tour guide to see “the most interesting ones.” Some buildings are easier to get into than others but nearly all are accessible without a tour guide. Just go when the tours aren’t there. €40 is a rip-off and there are other groups charging even more.
true, but if there are security guards with nervous dogs… we did not have time to come back later, so maybe you could write some hints for others where the sweet spots of those buildings are.
Is it really away? The bed and the lamp? I’d like to visit it and one of the reason is this cool spot for photos.
Hi there guys. First of all thanks for keeping the blog updated and thanks for all the comments who keep us informed… So, I was there on Thursday, my plane was to go there alone and sleep one night, but sadly I decided to catch the last train and spend one night at the Berlin ZOB… Anyway. I arrived there around 12 O’clock, and there were already people with tripods, also old tourist who came to see the place. First “Lungenheilstätte für Männer” (on the right on the train station). There were some some workers and a lot of cars. Bildings 9 (on the images are colonized). Than I was by building 4, It was a wreck, and most of the small building around it too. There are fences all over the place. There we’re two construction workers, and there was a way to go in there, from the left side of the building, but… I decided to go on the right, after the first few shoots, some guys came running to me, so I decided to buzz off. Than I went around it, the was this shaft/pit which was probably connected to the “air tunnels” and a small 2 by 2 building.
Than I made my way to building 5 (the big one). Getting in was pretty easy, the second big door was open, and there was a way in also from one of the basement windows. Inside I meet at least 20 people, one lady with her dogs scared the shit out of me, but I managed to stay there for 3 Hours and shoot some videos. I hade to keep silence and duck few times because of the guards car (A red one) which was passing buy and looking thro the windows. So I did my things and I went out to see the other buildings.. and the I stumbled on a group of tourist.. luckily at the same moment the two guards with their German shepherd arrived. There were polite.. asked me, what was I doing there and If i was with the group.. I was stupid to tell them that I just came In (in English of course… this is always a good way to handle some Germans).. so they told me to get out and that was it. So I didnt see buildings 2 (on the map) but they are secured with fences. Than I met a Dutch couple, and they told me that most of the town is buzzing with construction workers and there was no way to get in buildings 7 and 8, and that most of the buildings in the left of the train station were inaccessible.(17,18,5,16,15 on the map). But they also told me that there wes no security and workers on buidilings “Satanorium für männer” where you can go into at least 6 buildings or even more. The bakery, few other houses, the “butcher shop”, and so on (12-14-13-15 on the map). I spend the other 3-4 hours there, It was pretty relaxing and I only saw 5-6 people. I also saw that one of the buildings was restored and there were people actually living there. The rent is around 450 Euro for an apartment, which is pretty cheep? Also there were two smaller houses which were reconstructed with some wheels inside – like museum or something.
How ever, the central bathroom and the pavilion for men (15 and 16 on the map, the big ones) were secured with fences and there was a car with security guards (E.A.D Mobilzaun was probably the owner ot reseller).
Anyway… I hope I was helpful in some kind of way. So here’s that map I’m actually talking about. Green – for Go, Red for hold your breath and always go with someone else who can watch your back, and Orange.. yep for the same, be quiet and speak English hah.
Sorry for the messy, almost abstruse English…
thanks for the information fleisch, interesting to here what is going on in Beelitz! I went there in October ’14 and March ’15. At this time I had no problems to get into the buildings, now the situation has changed.
It’s being reconverted now and guarded with security. Was here in the end of May 2015.Most buildings got permanent fences now.
I went today 9th july 2015 and most of the buildings of any worth are boarded and in the process of being renewed which is great , as i think its an amazing place. new life just a shame i missed all of the great old ruins and graffiti …but thanks to this blog I’m loving the Berlin info and the witty commentary lol Cheers
Hey guys, I don’t know if anyone have seen this before, but one of my favourite bands (don’t judge please) shot their latest video here. It looked familiar so I asked them where it was made and I was right with my guess. So, if you’re interested, there you go: Saltatio Mortis – Wo sind die Clowns? (Official V…: youtu.be/7J6_YCLj5zg
I think it turned out pretty cool!
(Not sure if the last one works) youtu.be/7J6_YCLj5zg
Hi, will it still be there in November when we go over there? We are from Australia and very keen to see this place. Can anyone message me on gypsysnail[at]gmail.com and let me know the address? We will not have a car, so we will have to go by train…..
I went here on Easter 2015. The part next to the train station is all closed but I met a couple and went inside of an open door, no way in the building though. At the other side of the road there were building fences all around the woods and buildings and some people who I think we’re guards were watching me closely. there’s a way in through a little path next to a house. There’s a big building, practically empty, but cool enough. From there, walking through the woods you can go to the surgery pavilion which is so cool. From there, there are other buildings that were closed and fenced up, but didn’t wander too close because I could get caught by the guards that were watching me before, since there’s a path from the road with clear views. After that I went back and visited the part with the soldier’s statue, which was in restoring process. There were people working, they saw me and I said “hallo” to them, I took some pics and left. There was a fully restored building there with some pics of the complex inside. It was a very cool visit.
That’s usually when I wonder if by posting pictures on internet – out of sheer pleasure to share a passion – you are inevitably meant to attract jakals and other scavengers who will “eat” from the spoil. It’s sad but don’t publish if you think you endanger the object of your potos.
We went there yesterday (Sunday), unfortunately we only arrived around 2pm, so we could`t explore the whole area. But according to the map (see link above) we visited the “Krankenstationen” in area D; we went through the forest and passes a fence at some point, but apparently one could reach the area easily and more direct from the road. The houses have been easy to get in. There was always an one open window somewhere, we could climb through (at least with someone giving a leg-up, it should work).
The houses 4 and 2 are connected by a cellar tunnel (!!!), accessible in house 4, if you climb down outside the house into a kind of machine or boiler room, which can`t be entered from the inside. Just walk around the house, you`ll find the the cellar entrance with picket fence around and even a ladder. The cellar itself has some strange small rooms – stirring up your imagination even without knowing anything about the place.
Apparently they have started to clean the houses from inside, to secure dangerous areas and to prevent further roof damage by rain. But no renovation work yet.
Near the house there are modern family homes, so we decided to stay away from some windows, but these neighbours weren`t interested at all; we don`t know about the would-be workers though.
Travelling in a group from Berlin, a VBB Kleingruppen-Tageskarte currently costs 21,50€ for up to 5 people.
Turned into the Disneyland by these guys: baumundzeit.de/baumkronen-und-zeitreisepfad.html ridiculously expensive, very crowded, fence, security etc but really beautiful as well.
The buildings from the other side of the train station are in a terrible state. Floor collapsed when we were there. Hopefully, no injuries. Anyway, would not recommend to waste time on that thing to tourists – takes to much time to get there, not abandoned at all
We went there in July 2016. It’s true that some buildings are being renovated into appartments and art studios. The bigger, better known “abandoned” buildings, such as the Sanitoriums and Lungenhellstätten are well protected by fences, guards and tour guides. The tours seem to happen on weekends, so you might get a better chance getting in without being thrown out during the week. There’s a lot of climbing involved… The buildings next to the train station were more easily accessible, though in rough shape. There you can still see the bakery, butchery, hot water station, etc. It’s a very large area so there might have been more small accessible buildings we didn’t see. It’s worth seeing if you happen to be around Berlin. Hurry before it’s all gone!
Been keen to visit this place for some time now…
Just read your blog here and wow its awesome! I love your fun hearty writting 🙂
So many facts about the place that i just didnt know. So Thank you!
five bananas doesnt equal two pinapples
Just been there. There is some tourist attraction going in in one part of the Forrest where it is possible to get a tour guide around some of the buildings and a “skywalk” over one of the most damage red areas. Of cause we didn’t go there;) on the other side of the road there is a large building. Open door. Easy to get in. And there where a lot of other buildings there where easy to get into. Some had a fence around it. We crawled under and got in through a window. Amazing places to see and a bit scary to. Watch out for the roof in some places there’s huge wholes in it. I will definitely recommend going there.
I went here twice this week.
One thing I can say for sure is that I was not expecting it to be so touristy with many of the really beautiful buildings plagued by walking tours *shivers*. Even when I though I could get into one building (that I believe is featured in some photos here) I was greeted by..I guess..a staff member..who gave me a card and said if I wanted to enter to take look, take photos or ‘do what you like’ that I had to book waaay in advance. I was pretty disappointed.
Nonetheless, instead of turning right and walking towards the very touristy part..If you turn left (go under the bridge) there are quite some many buildings there (including this factory-like building featured in the video I have linked). There is another immense building there with very little public people around however, they have it quite well fenced off, bordered up, and there looked like there were some constructions going on.
I would still recommend you check it out..Really look at the map beforehand, the place is huge, the forest surrounding is massive..and the droves of tourists..are plentiful.
Hello to all
I had to serve in the Soviet Army in 1987-1989 in Democratic Germany, and in 1988 I spent 1 month in this kind of town-hospital (we know not by our own will). no matter what stories and legends telling us about this hospital (hate and perverted local soldiers to Soviet soldiers), we did not really believe them. It was time to split up in the section and swoop under the territory, – the building is insurmountable. It’s time to visit these places, but not as a patient, but as a tourist after 30 years. I hope next year to visit Potsdam in Kirschallee and Beelitz
Been there on the weekend. Very poor to see that rich people makeing money with rotten building and take money out of your poket. In my opinion this kind out history belongs to the public not to some priviledged people.
Got into some buildings anyway. But some staff member caught me and wanted to call the police…. Eat the rich. Peace
I was just there and am on the way back now on the train. It was super easy to get in to, and we luckily saw no guards or anything. The place is huge! Had a good time, another awesome place that I’ve been to thanks to this blog. Thanks!
Hi there, did someone visit this building recently? (2020) How it is looks like now? Is it still there or it is under demolition?
Just visited it last week (november 2020), The gate was open however the buildings were all closed, the windows and doors were blocked but we managed to get into the Bad building there was a small opening on the side. Then when we were outside looking for an other opening we ran into a guard who told us to leave.
Was there today. The whole thing is getting turned into some kind of amusement park. Fences with barbed wire almost everywhere. Got caught by a guard while getting over the fence. He simply accompanied me to the exit.
Been there today (Jan/2021). As far as we could see, the buildings are all either in use, construction sites, or heavily boarded up with CCTV cameras. We did find one tunnel which we guessed led into a building but a security guard instantly appeared to tell us the forest was privately owned and to fuck off. Sadly I think paid tours are probably the only way to see things going forward.
I’ve been there three days ago and all the “bahnhof area” is “gone”. They are renovating the “Zentrales Wäschereigebäude”, the old bakery had been destroyed, like most of the garages. The “Heizkraftwerk” is fenced. You have tons of cameras. And the forest all around has been cut off. Apparently the buildings and the forest have been sold for private housing.
In 2022 all fenced out and in renovation. No way to get inside