Tim Knifton

Back from Germany……location quality over quantity

October 2013

Another euro tour ends, back from Germany with some interesting places visited plus a lot of sealed or heavily guarded places on the list meant we photographed fewer places than a trip to Belgium or France.

I decided a while back not to get obsessed with numbers and aim for getting the most out of an explore rather than try to get as many done per day as possible.

That is not to say that I don’t enjoy every location and get as much out of it before moving on but in my mind in the past, one location a day is not much of an achievement.

This trip to Germany involved driving large distances to find that after an explore and a wander through forests to get to our destination, we were finding that places were sealed down, sometimes very recently and in one place, being caught and escorted offsite by security. Some were also destroyed or had been redeveloped but you have to find out for yourself sometimes if some of your contacts do not know the situation.

With this happening, we didn’t feel too demotivated and pressed on to the next location. Nights were spent in good, cheap hotels and with food and beers consumed and a good nights sleep so it wasn’t bad at all.


Dai and some traditional currywurst for our evening meal

First morning there, we heading to one of our most wanted places which was Beelitz Heilstatten.


A place filled with history including the hospital where a young 17-year-old Adolf Hitler was treated in October and November 1916 after he was shot following a leg injury during the Battle of the Somme.

Beelitz-Heilstätten, a district of the town, is home to a large hospital complex of about 60 buildings including a cogeneration plant erected from 1898 on according to plans of architect Heino Schmieden. Originally designed as a sanatorium by the Berlin workers’ health insurance corporation, the complex from the beginning of World War I on was a military hospital of the Imperial German Army. In 1945, Beelitz-Heilstätten was occupied by Red Army forces, and the complex remained a Soviet military hospital until 1995, well after the German reunification. In December 1990 Erich Honecker was admitted to Beelitz-Heilstätten after being forced to resign as the head of the East German government.

Following the Soviet withdrawal, attempts were made to privatize the complex, but they were not entirely successful. Some sections of the hospital remain in operation as a neurological rehabilitation center and as a center for research and care for victims of Parkinsons disease. The remainder of the complex, including the surgery, the psychiatric ward, and a rifle range, was abandoned in 2000. As of 2007, none of the abandoned hospital buildings or the surrounding area were secured, giving the area the feel of a ghost town. This has made Beelitz-Heilstätten a destination for curious visitors and a film set for movies like The Pianist in 2002, the Rammstein music video Mein Herz brennt and Valkyrie in 2008.

Not processing much so far, these are two that I have done so far that show the slow decline of a historic set of buildings.

'Corridors of the past'

'We would like to live as we once lived, but history will not permit it'Thanks for reading.

This entry was published on October 13, 2013 at 10:00 am. It’s filed under Architecture, Europe, HDR, Hospital, Photography, Travel, Unseen places, Urbex photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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