Sanatorium Deutsches Haus Agra
THE ABANDONED HOSPITAL IN SWITZERLAND
‘Sanatorium Deutsches Haus Agra’ was opened for tuberculosis patients in 1913 by the ‘Stiftung Deutsche Heilstätte’ as a branch of the ‘Hochgebirgsklinik Davos’. In those years tuberculosis was the number one cause of death, wiping out entire families.
The building is designed by the Swiss architect Edwin Wipf, who later also built railway stations of the Centovallibahn in Ticino. The decline of the house was initiated by the chief physician Hanns Alexander, who raised the swastika flags on the sanatorium and founded an NSDAP-Ortsgruppe in Agra. He had Hitler portraits on the wall and denied Jews to the sanatorium. It caused a shock among patients, employees and the local population. But the Swiss authorities did not intervene and allowed him to do so. After the defeat of Germany in 1945, the clinic had fallen into disrepute by Alexander’s activities and could no longer attach to previous successes. The year 1969 was the final closure.
Resort Collina d’Oro
In 2004, Ticino entrepreneur Silvio Tarchini bought the total of 400.000 square meters of land for 7 million francs. He decided to convert it into a wellness hotel. After several years, Tarchini received permission from the municipality and the canton to carry out the conversion. However, the safety of the construction workers was not ensured by the stale building structure of the old clinic. Finally, the former sanatorium was renovated, a part of it re-opened in 2012. The ‘Deutsche Haus’ today shines under a new name ’Resort Collina d’Oro‘ in new, if rather contemporary, glamour. I visited ‘Sanatorium Deutsches Haus Agra’ in 2007.