KDF-Bad PRORA - Prora - Germany

Address: Situated along the seaside in Prora (See map)
Telephone: +49 (0)38393-13991
Website: http://www.dokumentationszentrum-prora.de

Shop: no shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: restaurant
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2005
Overall rating:

Description: It just stretches on and on along the seaside: block after block, room after room, window after window... 'immer weiter'! The immense PRORA complex, built by the Nazis in the thirties, is 6 floors high and more than 4 kilometres long. The northern edge of the building consists of ruins while the middle and southern parts are more or less intact. An extensive information centre can be found in the middle of the complex, next to a huge Discotheque and a few shops.

So, why was this monster of a complex built on the shores of the picturesque Isle of Rügen? Well, very much for the same reason why people travel to Rügen nowadays: to spent holidays. The Nazi-organisation Kraft-durch-Freude (roughly translated "Strength through Joy") ordered the building of PRORA, which was to provide room for a stunning twenty thousand holiday makers! The general idea was that German workers and their families could rest from their labours here, getting fit for more labour and of course for war.

In the end, not a single German worker spent his holidays in PRORA however, because war broke out in 1939 and the building was put to a halt, its builders and building materials being channelled to projects more crucial to the war effort. During the war, the partly finished complex was used as a training facility for (para-)military personnel and as shelter for German citizens who became homeless after the bombing of Hamburg and the Soviet invasion of East-Prussia.

Visitors can stroll along the outside of the building at their own accord and visit the information centre or a few shops to get some rough idea of the inner parts of the building. For some die-hard bastards (like our good selves!) that won't be enough of course. Although the fact that all the doors and windows on the lower floors are boarded up might indicate that entering the building isn't considered wise or wishful, there is always a way in for he who dares... The thousands of rooms and hallways inside are fascinating, but be warned: it is an old building with loose and collapsing parts, in some areas it is pitch-dark, there's the risk of falling down, you can easily get lost and on top of that: you never know who you might encounter. In general, we would advise not to enter and simply get astonished by this unique building from the outside!

You get an idea of the vastness of the structure when you compare it to the size of the person standing in front of it. It is f***ing huge!

View from the beach.

The countless wings at the back of the main building house the staircases and central washing rooms.

One of the endless hallways filled with a weird silence.

It seems that the local graffiti artists have discovered the potential of the thousands of square metres of wall the PRORA complex provides!

Remains of one of the many washing rooms. Notice the decorative tiles on the floor and the walls.

One of the standard apartments.

Dokumentationszentrum PRORA, housed in a small part of the complex.

PRORA from a bird's point of view.

The dokumentationszentrum provides a lot of detailed information on the building and the use of the complex.