Historical And Abandoned Hohenlychen Sanatorium

Heilstätten Hohenlychen is a decommissioned sanatorium facility in Lychen that operated from 1902 to 1945. The Hohenlynchen was utilized for military reasons after WWII until 1993, when it was closed and abandoned. 50 Images from the Decommissioned Hohenlychen Sanatorium


Heilstätten Hohenlychen is a decommissioned sanatorium facility in Lychen that operated from 1902 to 1945. The building complex has been boarded up and rotting for many years. Tiles collect dust and paint flecks from walls.

The old sanatorium was located next to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, where professor Karl Gebhardt, medical administrator of Hohenlychen, conducted medical and surgical experiments on reluctant female detainees. Hohenlychen Sanatorium was utilized as a bunker for Himmler and Albert Speer during the Nazis’ last days. With the end of the Nazi government, the Hohenlynchen was utilized for military reasons until 1993, when it was shuttered and abandoned.

History of Hohenlynchen

Private sanatoriums for rich patients originally formed as a result of TB therapy created in the second part of the nineteenth century, which required a lot of sunlight, clean air, a balanced diet, and enough exercise. Nonetheless, the sickness mostly afflicted a major portion of the workforce. That is why the state insurance institutions that developed in the 1890s following the introduction of the first social laws felt compelled to create more therapeutic facilities. From 1898 through 1904, there was a true construction boom in Prussia, with 49 new health resorts created and old ones extended.

Gotthold Pannwitz, the creator of the Central Committee for the Creation of Heilstätten für Lungenkranke, purchased around one hectare of property from the city of Lychen for the German Red Cross Folk Healing Association in 1902. einsteineruploaded with. Two barracks, each with 16 girls and 16 boys, were built. There was also an economic barrack. Meals were served in the adjoining inn “Schützenhaus” in 1902, and by the summer of 1903, there was a separate dining room with a kitchen on the grounds.

After early opposition, the city consented to an enlargement of the site by another two hectares, and the first big structures were completed in 1903 to house 60 children. The girls’ facility for 20 patients opened in October. The architects Paul Hakenholz and Paul Brandes created the design for the Heilanstalten. After all, the institution’s grounds encompassed over 16 hectares.

Heinrich Venn donated the Helen Chapel in 1904. Another association joined the initiative in 1905, and by 1907, the “Cecilienheim,” constructed for 90 children, was completed, becoming Prussia’s first clinic offering surgical and orthopedic services to children. A third bedroom facility for pulmonary tuberculous children was erected in 1907, along with a bathing institution.

The facility has being steadily enlarged. By the mid-1920s, 47 structures had been built on the Hohenlychen site. The medical facility included 15 departments, the most notable of which were the “Viktoria-Luise-Kinderheilstätte” for TB patients’ children and the “Kaiserin-Auguste-Viktoria-Sanatorium” for tuberculosis patients’ women. There was also the “Waldfrieden” children’s leisure facility for children at risk of TB, the “Werner Hospital” for surgical interventions, the vacation colony on Lake Zens for tuberculosis children, and the “country colony Queen Louise Keepsake”. A small farm and the state-approved nursing school “Augusta-Helferinnen-Schule” were part of the complex. The Heilstättenverein also had its own spa hotel near the Lychener Bahnhof beginning in January 1910.

During World War I, the facilities served as military hospitals. The significant pre-war gifts did not materialize after 1918. Inflationary pressures exacerbated the financial predicament. The rural colony and advanced training schools were forced to shut. There was a brief uptick from 1924 and 1927, when rehabilitation work could be completed with financing from multiple ministries and the Red Cross in preparation for the 25th anniversary.

At this period, Hohenlychen rose to international prominence, particularly for his achievements in the orthopedic and surgical treatment of bone and joint tuberculosis. The League of Nations Hygiene Commission convened in the Heilstätte in 1927. Nevertheless, because to financial constraints, the children’s entertainment facility “Waldfrieden” had to close two years later.

Karl Gebhardt took over the management of the Hohenlychen in 1935. When the number of TB cases declined, the hospitals’ focus switched from the prior lung hospitals to three other departments, and the facilities were re-profiled. There were 133 beds filled at the time of the seizure in 1933. The emphasis was now on sports and occupational injuries, as well as reconstructive surgery. Adults with joint disorders and lung ailments now have surgical and internal departments for specialized care.

Subsequently, the Hohenlychen was converted into a sanatorium. Because to Deutsche Sporthilfe funding, investments may be used to extend and renovate the facility. The clinical section for sports and job injuries was quite popular. When many national players and elite athletes were treated and cured in Lychen, former national coach Otto Nerz spoke of a possible “Hohenlychen national squad” that could compete against practically any football team.

Hohenlychen served as a “fashion home” for relaxation for Nazi Party officials in addition to treating patients. For instance, Heinrich Himmler and Rudolf Hess were regular visitors. Many Nazi leaders are listed as having visited the Hohenlychen in the guest records. There were also foreign delegations from Italy, England, France, Portugal, Chile, Peru, Argentina, and Reich leaders, Reich sports leaders, state secretaries, and army staff physicians among them in addition to Hitler himself. Together with the Greek Crown Prince couple, the mayor of Tokyo spent his holidays in Hohenlychen. There were lectures given, notably for the medical elite, in addition to treating and recuperating patients and authorities. The hospitals now had more than 500 beds.

The Hohenlychen provided significant benefits to the city of Lychen, particularly through tourism. Between 1933 and 1942, about 25,000 patients were treated. Several locals found employment at medical facilities. A second station was constructed to improve infrastructure and provide a speedier link to Berlin. Ludwig Stumpfegger, Hitler’s second personal physician, worked under Karl Gebhard, as did Fritz Fischer, Herta Oberheuser, and Kurt Heißmeyer, all of whom, like Karl Gebhard, performed human experimentation in the Ravensbrück and Neuengamme concentration camps.

Hohenlychen was turned into a military hospital at the outbreak of WWII. Human studies with wound infections were later conducted. Following the assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich, who died of a wound infection in Prague, and the deaths of other injured persons from infections in front-line hospitals at the same time, a viable medication against bacterial wound infection was sought. The Western Allies had already found penicillin, which Germany had yet to find. Because the number of injured was continually rising, particularly on the Eastern Front, and their lives depended on the testing of the well-known but contentious antidote sulfonamide, doctors began to test aggressively and, due to time constraints, directly on people.

The sulfonamide impact experiments were sent to Karl Gebhardt, who reported on clinical testing on women at Ravensbrück concentration camp on August 29, 1942. The experimental groups included 36 women who had bacteria put into their thighs, some of which contained wood and glass fragments. Three of the test participants died, and it was shown that sulphonamides are ineffective at preventing wound infections. Ludwig Stumpfegger performed tests on bone, nerve, and muscle transplantation in parallel with the sulphonamide trials.

Heißmeyer conducted human studies to battle acute TB in the Neuengamme detention camp near Hamburg for his habilitation thesis. He hid the results of his habilitation work in a zinc box on the grounds of the Hohenlychen because he did not want to lose them at the conclusion of the war. They were located in March 1964, following a search effort, and placed a great weight on Heißmeyer, who had previously escaped unharmed.

As Himmler knew the war was drawing to a conclusion, he wanted to make a good impression on the Allies. He talked with Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg, the leader of the Swedish Red Cross. Himmler also visited with Bernadotte at Hohenlychen during these discussions. The rescue mission for the White Buses was decided upon during these discussions. Himmler, on the other hand, had no intention of surrendering. With the conclusion of the war, the hospital was fully evacuated. Around this period, Heinrich Himmler’s field command post, codenamed “Styria,” was also located in Hohenlychen. The command post was aboard a train and positioned on the Britz-Fürstenberg railway branch line.

Because the buildings were outfitted with red crosses on the roofs, there were no bombing attacks during the war at first. Nevertheless, 32 troops were killed in an air attack on April 27, 1945, and the mainly intact facilities were given over to Soviet infantry without a struggle two days later. The Red Army, led by General Nazarov, robbed and destroyed all of the facilities. Surgical and X-ray facilities were either partially destroyed or removed. This devastation also claimed the Helen Chapel. The altar and organ were dismantled, and the chapel was converted into a fuel storage facility.

The Soviet Military Forces group in Germany used the medical facilities as a military hospital and maternity unit. With 200 beds, the hospitals could no longer function as intended and were largely turned into army housing. The final Soviet command departed the hospitals on August 31, 1993, thereby ending the Soviet occupation era.

During the GDR, Deutsche Post ran a holiday camp in the hamlet for the enjoyment of its employees’ children.

Michael Neumann, a civil engineer from Freiberg, purchased nine structures totaling 12 hectares from the Brandenburg state in 2009. Then Neumann created a design for a home in Lychen Park. His daughter Anne Neumann maintained these preparations with family in his thoughts before he passed away in 2019.

There are already nine vacation apartments, a café, and 44 barrier-free rental flats, practically all of which have already been occupied. 40% of the listed structures have already been renovated. In the upcoming years, 15 rental flats and further vacation rentals will be added.

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