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Lost Places: Grabowsee

2 min read
„For the sake of goodness and love, man should not allow death to have dominion over his thoughts..“
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
Lost Place: Horror Sanatorium in Brandenburg © BlackbirdStreet, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Beware of panic attacks: the former lung sanatorium at Grabowsee in Oranienburg, about 30 kilometres north of Berlin, is a gruesome place that attracts horror fans and photo tourists. The setting, most of which is a listed building, is located in the town of Oranienburg on an area of just over 34 hectares, surrounded by dense forest and a dark lake. The dead silence is only rarely disturbed - by the occasional bird call or ... Those who come here voluntarily will have their reasons.

The plant in the 1930s © Vasa.veter
The kitchen building in 1897 © Vasa.veter

Gloom and terror

As the first sanatorium for pulmonary tuberculosis in northern Germany, the clinic was founded by the German Red Cross in 1896. During the First World War, it was used as a military hospital for the treatment of soldiers with lung diseases and for the accommodation of prisoners of war. In 1920, the hospital became the property of the Brandenburg State Insurance Institution and was extended from 1926 onwards. From 1945 to 1995, a Soviet military hospital was housed here - and today? The site with its decaying buildings is popular with filmmakers and photographers with a penchant for the gloomy: in 2013, the German-American co-production "Monuments Men" with George Clooney was made here, and five years later, director Michael David Pate shot the German horror film "Heilstätten" on location. After filming was completed, the film team answered the question of whether they would ever spend a night in the old sanatorium with a resounding no.

Ghost hunters instead of residential development

Now, for decades, almost nothing has been done on the clinic grounds at Lake Grabow. Plans to build housing on the closed-off area have failed. Roofs have fallen victim to the ravages of time, greenery is sprouting everywhere between the dilapidated walls. Broken windows and collapsed walls, rusty gates and rotting doors make the ruin a morbid backdrop that can be explored on organised guided tours. But it is not for the faint-hearted - numerous people have breathed their last here. And who knows whether one or the other is still wandering around in the darkness ...

© Mathilde Doiezie
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