Uncle Adolf's Holiday Camp
June 22, 2011 3:21 PM   Subscribe

"A vacation complex along the Baltic coast with 10,000 sea-view rooms in eight identical six-story blocks of steel-reinforced concrete, each one the length of five football fields." Built to last but never finished, Prora has been largely unknown until recently, as Germans debate its future use or demolition.

Prora was constructed to bring rest and relaxation to the citizens of the Reich in strictly egalitarian fashion. Propaganda was definitely part of the program. It was, however, never occupied. Many feel uncomfortable with its Nazi origins. Here's some film with spooky, moody music. What next for Prora?
posted by kinnakeet (31 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Was thier plan to be Leben in the lap of luxury?
posted by Renoroc at 3:31 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Man, that's some resort.

Prora: The Cabrini-Green of the sea!
posted by evidenceofabsence at 3:34 PM on June 22, 2011

'Guests were to be fed endless Nazi propaganda'

Dr. Heiter, I presume?
posted by chavenet at 3:43 PM on June 22, 2011

Luxury Condos? Just add a doorman and marble in the bathrooms and you are good to go.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:44 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sounds remarkably like a Las Vegas strip hotel before all the finishing touches are added.
posted by hippybear at 3:45 PM on June 22, 2011

It looks exactly like you imagine a Nazi holiday resort would look. It's so relentlessly brutal you'd think it was a parody.

Next up, the Nazi's design sex toys.

Hint: it's a concrete breezeblock with linoleum on it too.
posted by fire&wings at 3:49 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

The video of this is like watching a giant Star Wars spaceship cross the screen for the first time: it just keeps going, enormous and sorta cool and very scary all at once.
posted by cmyk at 3:56 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's so relentlessly brutal you'd think it was a parody.

posted by entropone at 4:06 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]

I don't get this kind of architecture, esp at that much repetition. I'd find it very depressing to live there. Unless the landscape would be designed to make it better somehow?

Interesting problem, though. The whole, what do we do with this? No wonder it hasn't been touched!
posted by evening at 4:40 PM on June 22, 2011

That "Third Reich in Ruins" page (the second link) is amazing! Thanks for posting it!
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 5:03 PM on June 22, 2011

+++ For the title.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:10 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Google Maps
posted by xbonesgt at 5:15 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Fascinating stuff.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:29 PM on June 22, 2011

Whoa. I'd love to sneak through there and check it out.

(hopes, hopes, hopes to find work in Germany soon)
posted by dunkadunc at 5:31 PM on June 22, 2011

My father grew up on Rügen and played at Prora as a kid during its construction. We went to visit a few years ago. It was his first time back since fleeing the advancing Russians at the end of the war. Architecturally the buildings are awesomely awful. As I recall there's a small museum, a few artist studios and some community center-type tenants, but mostly it is square, spare gray blocks of emptiness by the sea. The beach that Prora is on is pretty amazing - several miles of nothing but white sand.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:36 PM on June 22, 2011

Summary: Nazi timeshare scam vacation.
posted by humanfont at 5:51 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Avon Barksdale is drooling.
posted by bwg at 6:30 PM on June 22, 2011

"It was, however, never occupied"

That's just not true. As the article itself says "new rulers took over the complex, which is nearly three miles long, to house soldiers -- first from the Soviet Red Army, then the East German National People's Army.

That, too, produced its share of pain, particularly among a small group of East Germans who used a little-known law permitting them to object to military service and were sent here as "construction soldiers" -- in essence, conscientious objectors carrying shovels instead of Kalashnikov rifles.

The debate about the complex "is not only about the memory of repression" in East Germany "but also about the history of the peace movement, the creativity in the niches of East Germany, the people who said no," Stefan Wolter, a former construction soldier, said in a newspaper article last year.

"But it seems that in the debate about Prora, people want to keep alive the taboos of East Germany. History is already being concealed."
posted by joannemullen at 6:55 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Apparently there are a ton of reinforced concrete buildings built by the Nazis - bunkers, armories, etc. - that are still in the process of being dismantled, especially in what was East Germany, who didn't have the money or the tech available to their brethren to the west.

Modern technique involves huge counter-rotating grinder-wheels and/or a gigantic jackhammer, at the end of an excavator arm, that literally chews the building to rubble that's then carted off. It's a long, slow, dirty, noisy, expensive process.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:24 PM on June 22, 2011

I'm going. I need to see this.
posted by the noob at 8:17 PM on June 22, 2011

The British have done quite well by repurposing some of their more brutal holiday camps into sites for indie and electronic music festivals. Given its Baltic location, Prora could be an Übër-Fëstïväl venue!
posted by meehawl at 10:05 PM on June 22, 2011

This is very interesting. More extensive documentation is to be found at dokumentations zentrum prora.
posted by unliteral at 11:08 PM on June 22, 2011

See also (briefly, at the beginning) Jonathan Meades' excellent JERRYBUILDING: UNHOLY RELICS OF NAZI GERMANY.
posted by Prince Lazy I at 12:48 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was there three years ago. It was surreal. I had read up on it and seen many pictures, but when I emerged out of the pine forest and saw it stretch away to both sides of me, I almost became dizzy. Like great natural phenomena, it sort of transcends reality, or warps it.

I snapped a lot of pictures, and then I found a passage through to the beach, searching for new angles on the building. A couple of minutes after I reached the (quite lovely) sands, I realized that it was a clothing optional beach and I looked like an asshole with my clothes and DSLR, so I quickly left.
posted by Harald74 at 1:38 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

A clip of Julia Bradbury's visit to Prora as part of the BBC Four series German Wanderlust.
posted by rory at 3:45 AM on June 23, 2011

Here's some film with spooky, moody music

In case anyone was wondering, it's the theme music from Coppola's Dracula, composed by the great Wojciech Kilar.
posted by Ljubljana at 4:04 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks, Ljubljana. I had indeed wondered as it was rather lovelier than the images it accompanied.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:30 AM on June 23, 2011

The camp with the difference
Never mind the weather
When you come to Adolf's
The holiday's forever!
posted by slogger at 6:26 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Holy cow. Some really ugly ugly minds devised and built this monstrosity.
posted by chance at 7:48 AM on June 23, 2011

I don't get this kind of architecture, esp at that much repetition.

It's cheap and fast since you can reuse the concrete forms.
posted by smackfu at 8:22 AM on June 23, 2011

Some weather info for Binz, which looks like the nearest town.

Nothing says beach party like 70° F high temperatures, 60° F water, 7-8 hours of sunlight, and 14-15 days of rain a month in July and August. "A refreshing Baltic Sea climate," indeed.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:32 PM on June 23, 2011

« Older "The problem stems not from there being 'too much'...   |   The Bravest Woman in Seattle Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments