Haus der Offiziere

Built: 1912

Abandoned: 1995

Visited: 2016

Wünsdorf, Germany

The city Wünsdorf was the Red Army’s headquarters in Germany, it was the biggest Soviet military camp outside the USSR.

The military history of Wünsdorf goes back to the early 1900s. In 1988 two shooting ranges, Kummersdorf and Jüterbog were linked by a rail line. The whole area really gained in strategic significance with the construction of this railway. By 1910 there were quite a few army barracks in Wünsdorf-Zossen. A telephone and telegraph office was established in 1912 and the infantry school followed the year after that. The 60,000-acre area had become Europe’s largest military base by the time the First World War started in 1914.

Wünsdorf remained important from a military perspective even after the war, with barracks, a military hospital and stables. These buildings were part of the ‘Militärturnanstalt’ or ‘Heeressportschule’ that was established in 1919. The German team trained here ahead of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

1945

In 1945 the buildings became ‘Das Haus der Offiziere’ (Officers’ House) under Soviet administration. The Cold War started and in this building the Russians prepared themselves for the Third World War. The Officers’ House were most certainly the most luxury part of Wünsdorf with leisure facilities such as a theatre and swimming pool. Wünsdorf was a closed town during the time it was occupied by the Soviet forces, and effectively became a Soviet town in the heart of Germany. A daily delivery via a direct rail link from Moscow allowed the town to isolate itself from the surrounding areas. In the 1950s the site was modernized. The pool was rebuilt, the gymnasium was turned into a theater and there were many more buildings added. Shops, barber shops, schools, a museum and special radio and television studios, the town had it all. A giant statue of Lenin was built in front of the central building looking over the old soccer field.

The site was abandoned in 1994. When the Soviet army left in 1994 the population dropped from 60,000 to just 6,000 people. Read this article for another urbex location in Wünsdorf.

Photos Haus der Offiziere

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