FDGB Ferienheim Bärenfels


The ‘FDGB Ferienheim Bärenfels’ dates back to the early 1900s. By 1950, it had come under the ownership of the Free German Trade Union Federation, known in German as the Freier Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund.

During 1986, about 98% of all workers and employees in the DDR were organized in the FDGB trade union. For this reason, it had 9.6 million members. Following the Eastern Bloc system, the FDGB was in charge of ideological control and conformity in companies. In addition, also social tasks such as hospital visits, presenting awards, giving gifts on special anniversaries, even extending as far as organizing health spas and the hard-to-get holiday bookings. The FDGB’s own holiday service was responsible for the latter. This was intended to gradually improve the vacation options for working people and make the unions more attractive. 

The guesthouse is situated in the Eastern Ore Mountains, a popular destination for nature lovers. The small town accommodated many tourists during the season, many more as the village had inhabitants. Vacation in the FDGB home was simple, but also inexpensive. The price was based on the income, so workers with lower income only had to pay 25 to 33 percent of the actual costs.

After the Iron Curtain fell, the building was listed for sale. However, tourists did not come, leading to the abandonment of the old hotel over the years. The photographs of ‘FDGB Ferienheim Bärenfels’ were captured in 2016 on my road trip through East Germany. To see other reports of FDGB homes, click here and here.

Built 1905
Abandoned 1995