The Beelitz clinic near Berlin: First built to separate the lung health of the capital Berlin, to minimize further contagion epidemics. Then refugium for Hitler or Honecker, Germans or Russians, photographers or simple vandalism.
palace of a hidden beauty
photo by my wife Barbara F., click on the picture to enter our galleries on
The Beelitz-Heilstätten: First built to separate the lung health of the capital Berlin, to minimize further contagion epidemics. Also, to give them a chance of cure in a green environment. During the First World War, the “Beelitz-Heilstätten” quickly turned into a military hospital. So Hitler came there to benefit from the care. During World War II, Hitler used the very same place of concealment to organize the rapid killing of sick people. No longer the germs have been eliminated but the affected people: the location became the camouflaged headquarter of the boss of Nazi-euthanasia. After the second world war was Beelitz Russian military area. When communism collapsed, thanks to the liberal thinking ability of Russian president Gorbachev, the political leader of East Germany, Erich Honecker, withdrew on the Beelitz-site escaping from protesting people and West-German justice (Honecker was responsible for killing German refugees near the wall when they tried to run from East to the West). Honecker was saved by Russian military from Beelitz to Moscow. Next he fled to South America – where the Fascists of Germany already had their residences (escaped after 1945). The walls of Beelitz are now overgrown by trees or ruined by graffiti sprayers and other sorts of vandalism. This is perhaps what makes our present: After the idiotic systems of fascism and communism have failed, the uneducated and unemployed hordes of presence are changing the “design” of this almost aristocratic architecture. Of about 60 buildings, only a single building was restored as a rehabilitation clinic. Then the investor went bankrupt. When photographers increasingly wander around these buildings, and they highly stylized the secret cult object of a sadomasochistic scene: How much horror or admiration, contempt of exercising power or glorification of hierarchies are found in such actions?
translated from the original (German):
Die Beelitz-Heilstätten in der Nähe von Berlin: Zunächst gebaut, um die Lungenkranken der Hauptstadt Berlin zu separieren, weitere Ansteckungs-Epidemien zu minimieren. Auch, um ihnen eine Heilungschance in grüner Umgebung zu gewähren. Während des ersten Weltkrieges wurde das schnell zum Kriegslazarett umfunktioniert. So kam Hitler dort in den Genuß der Fürsorge. Im zweiten Weltkrieg nutzte eben derselbe Hitler die Verstecktheit des Ortes dazu, die zügige Tötung von erkrankten Menschen zu organisieren. Nicht mehr die Krankheitskeime wurden beseitigt sondern die erkrankten Menschen: Der Ort wurde zur getarnten Operationszentrale des medizinischen Chefs der Nazi-Euthanasie. Nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg wurde Beelitz russisches Militärgebiet. Als der Kommunismus dank der liberalen Denkfähigkeit von Gorbatschow zusammenbrach, entzog sich der politische Führer Ostdeutschlands, der an der Mauer durch Deutschland Flüchtlinge Richtung Westen höhnisch erschießen ließ: Erich Honecker – er entzog sich auf dem Beelitz-Gelände dem Zugriff des empörten Volkes sowie der Westdeutschen Justiz. Ausgeflogen nach Moskau. Weiter geflüchtet nach Südamerika – wo vor den Kommunisten Deutschlands zuvor auch die Faschisten der Hitler-Zeit hin entwichen waren. Die Gemäuer von Beelitz werden nun von Bäumen durchwuchert oder von Graffiti-Sprayern und anderen Vandalisten ruiniert. Das ist vielleicht das was unsere Gegenwart ausmacht: Nachdem die idiotischen Systeme des Faschismus und Kommunismus gescheitert sind, machen sich die ungebildeten und arbeitslosen Horden der Gegenwart an dieser fast aristokratischen Architektur zu schaffen. Von ca. 60 Gebäuden wurde nur ein einziges wieder medizinischen Zwecken zugeführt und als Rehabilitations-Klinik restauriert. Danach ging der Investor Konkurs. Wenn Fotografen vermehrt in diesen Gebäuden herumirren und sie zum heimlichen Kult-Objekt einer sado-maso Szene hochstilisieren: Wieviel Grusel oder Bewunderung, Verachtung von Machtausübung oder Verherrlichung von Hierarchien steckt in solchen Aktionen?

About frizztext

writer, photographer, guitarist

21 responses to “Beelitz

  1. Very interesting post, as are all of yours. i learn so much here. This place sounds fascinating – but not too unlike some modern hospitals – ha!

    To think that so many ill people stopped here – Erich Honecker, Hitler, etc.

    Thank you for sharing history in such detail . . . please keep it up!


  2. Laura Bloomsbury

    interesting photo essay with an awe-full history – always find it worrying that the medicals have worked so closely with the authorities.


  3. What a fine building. It seems sad that it cannot be brought back to productive life. But perhaps the grim associations are too hard to erase,


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  5. It must have a lot of stories to whisper in our ears. Why are they not interested in restoring the building and use it for something productive today?


    • hi Mary-Ann,
      my reply, following Tish (above):
      “…perhaps the grim associations are too hard to erase…”
      the East German parliament building in Berlin used by former president Erich Honecker (Palast der Republik / Palace of the Republic), was completely extinguished. On the same place being reconstructed: an old aristocratic castle (formerly extinguished by communism) … – seems to be a never ending story …


  6. It must be a chilling sight to see. Fascinating photo.


  7. wolfgangfoto

    what a place
    and what a picture
    compliments your wife barbara

    this clinics were built to heal the lung tuberculosis
    with special drugs on a place with good air
    under this therapy the cases with lung tuberculosis were dramatical reduced and so the lung clinics were no longer necessary
    in our time there is an increase of cases with tuberculosis to see

    learn more :


  8. wolfgangfoto

    hitler had problems with his lung after a poison gas attack in the world war I, nowtimes an actual problem once more


  9. Very good post for a very good picture. Look at A


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  11. I love this photo Frizz and as you know I wrote the first part of a story based on it.


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  13. I thought the image was familiar somehow. I remember this post 🙂


    • familiar, because my wife and my daughter tried to develop a mood, a photo-style which fit the charm of the abandoned architecture in a new way: usually professional photographers choose this location for nude photography, often with a sadistic touch. Many movie directors took the location for World War 2 stories. My wife and daughter decided to search for a third way.


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