HomeDocument of the WeekBeelitz Sanatorium

The sanatorium in Beelitz, 50 kilometers southwest of Berlin, is a major monument of architectural and medical history. The vast complex was erected according to the latest medial and technical standards in several construction phases between 1898 and 1930. It included four corresponding subzones, sanatoria for consumptives and for non contagious diseases, both separately for women and men with large bed- and treatment- as well as with small office and service buildings. One of the patients in 1916 was the then still unknown lance-corporal Adolf Hitler, and Erich Honecker stayed here for three months after the end of the GDR in 1990/91, the former general secretary of the central committee of the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany).

Most of the landmarked buildings are vacant today, being popular settings for photo shootings and films, such as Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” or “Valkyrie” by Tom Cruise. Their effective protection against further vandalism and decay has started just recently, but it turns out to be difficult to find daring investors, such as the operating company of a neurological clinic or a company currently constructing studio apartments in the former clinic for consumptive women.

I have read about the history of Beelitz during the weekend and I have visited the place for the first time. Therefore this is my monument – not a document this time – of the week.


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