World's Biggest, Most Bizarre Resort May Be Resurrected

Open Jaw

75 years after Adolf Hitler built a massive resort consisting of 100 6 storey buildings that would house 20,000 tourists, the long-abandoned property is getting new life. Or getting a life, as the massive white elephant never really hosted any guests.

The sprawling resort is set along a magnificent 4 km Baltic Sea white-sand beach on the island of Ruegen. It was the 1st of 5 resorts that Hitler fashioned along the lines of Britain’s Butlins Holiday Camps to offer affordable getaways for German workers.

Called Seebad (Seaside) Prora and completed in 1939, it never officially opened to guests as Hitler invaded Poland and WWII began just weeks before the 1st guests were to check-in.

Weirdly it’s been basically empty since, apart from several rooms converted into holiday flats some years ago, a 400 bed youth hostel the local council opened in several blocks in 2011, a little warts-and-all museum of the Nazi era, and a small off-beat art gallery that’s been dubbed “Beatnik Berlin” – that eGlobal Travel Media reports is ironically the exact free-expression type of thing that Hitler’s Nazis so vehemently hated.

Hitler’s concept for Prora was 3 fold: he would use thousands of the huge mass of unemployed in 1936 to build it; it would provide cheap and affordable retreats for Germany’s working classes and, although promoted as a ‘Seaside Resort for the Common Man,’ daytime activities would be largely orchestrated with Nazi-approved exercise programs, ‘educational’ courses that pushed the Nazi cause and evening ‘entertainment’ that would be pure Nazi propaganda. Sounds like a blast.

The enormity of the resort, dubbed by locals The Colossus, numbs the mind. All 100 of the 6 storey blocks, which are in turn grouped into 8 larger major wings, are inter-connected by corridors up to 1.6 km long.

Prora was to offer over 10,000 rooms, all exactly alike and measuring 5 m by 2.5 m with central heating, two single beds, a wardrobe and a hand sink and all facing the sea just 150 m away.

Guests would enjoy (?) vast communal shower and toilet facilities. There were also cinemas, swimming pools, a school for children of resort staff, a hospital, a ballroom for each of the 8 wings and vast dining rooms that could each seat a thousand. One project never completed at Seebad Prora, however, was a massive meeting hall that would seat all 20,000 happy campers at one time for more Nazi propaganda lectures and programs.

After the war Ruegen Island was taken over by the Russian Army which occupied, and largely stripped it, over 10 years to 1955.

Now 2 wings have been sold by the government and are being converted by developers into luxury hotel rooms and private apartments.

When the 1st blocks went to auction they sold for about $4 million - 3 times the reserve bid -- with the buyer currently converting them to a 400 room luxury hotel and several hundred luxury apartments that will all open in 2015. The 2nd developer bought a smaller number of blocks and is converting these to 60 luxury apartments, also to open next year.

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