The Olympic Games in 1936 took place a long time ago, but within the Olympic Village on the outskirts of Berlin the spirit of that time lives on. It was interesting to see such a historic site which also served as a haunting backdrop for this set of analogue photographs.
Sunday at about 2pm, we were almost alone on the 540.000 m² (5.8 million square feet ) huge plot of land. The weather was in its dismal, cold, windy, and wet glory; perfectly emphasizing the eerie atmosphere of the former Olympic Village.
True facts: In 1906, Germany applied to be the host of the Olympic Summer Games and was awarded the honor. Unfortunately, the start of WWI thwarted those plans and the games were canceled. In the 1920s Germany applied again and was finally given the honor to host the Olympic Games in 1936. This time, the Games did push through even though preparations for it were overshadowed by signs of another impending war. One can only imagine how unpleasant the construction of the facilities (which were later used as a military base) were under Hitler’s government. For instance, the National Socialist Party ordered that only “pure German workers of Arian descent” were allowed to take part in the construction sites.
Back then, the plot contained a station building, about 140 bungalows and a 5 two-storey living quarters for the participating teams, the large dining hall called “House of the Nations”, a building for the kitchen, and the “Hindenburghaus” (the central recreational facility named after the late Gen. Marshall Paul von Hindenburg). There was also the quarters for the commanders, a gym, pool, sauna, a medical building and the hospital.
Today, the Olympic village has been placed under the protection of the country’s historical heritage. The best preserved ruins on the area are the House of Nations, pool, gym and a few of the teams’ quarters. Additionally, there’s also the building where Jesse Owens stayed in during the Games, which was recently reconstructed
Today, looking at the empty building can make your skin crawl. Between April and October, the village can be visited daily starting at 10 in the morning. Price of entry is 1.00€ per person; guided tours are also available but must be booked in advance. The Olympic Village isn’t very accessible through public transport although Bus Line 663 will take you directly to the Olympic Village.
14627 Wustermark (close to Berlin)
More about the history can be found here (unfortunately only in German)