Olympisches Dorf Berlin
THE ABANDONED OLYMPIC VILLAGE IN GERMANY
The ‘Olympisches Dorf Berlin’ was built to house all participating athletes, as well as officials, trainers and other workers for the ‘1936 Summer Olympics’.
The ‘Summer Olympics’ in 1936, officially known as the ‘Games of the XI Olympiad’, were held in the German capital Berlin. About 4000 people from 50 nationalities lived in this Olympic Village during the games. The architect Werner Mach designed the village as well as the Olympic stadium by order of Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler. They started building in 1933 and within 2 years there were 150 buildings, a gym, swimming pool and a football field ready.
The site consisted of one and two-floor dormitories, a large dining hall named ‘Speisesaal der Nationen’, a swimming pool, gymnasium, running track, and other training facilities.
Hitler saw the Games as an opportunity to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy and antisemitism. German Jewish athletes were barred or prevented from taking part by a variety of methods. Jewish athletes from other countries seem to have been side-lined in order not to offend the Nazi regime.
After the Olympics the site is transformed to a military hospital, named the ‘Olympia-Lazarett Döberitz’. Also until 1945 it was used as an Army Infantry School before the Soviet army took over the site. During the Cold War it became part of the Löwen-Adler Kaserne. The Soviet soldiers and families lived in the old Olympic Village until the fall of the iron curtain in 1992. The place was left abandoned until 2004. The city of Berlin started to restore the buildings to its old glory. Today the village is a nice open air museum worth the visit. You can see the room where athlete and four-time gold medalist Jesse Owens stayed. I visited the ‘Olympisches Dorf Berlin’ in 2008 and 2016.