Soviet Ghost Town in the Woods near Berlin

Abandoned places have a special magic: this former military object of the Soviet Army in Brandenburg was a large garrison town on the edge of a military training area. With each passing year, however, this lost place is taken back by nature.

Already the access to this abandoned place in Brandenburg creates a crackling tension. The cobbled street leads straight into the shady forest. Since the street is a dead end, there is no traffic here. The atmosphere is ghostly when suddenly a long wall and behind it the first buildings with matt yellow facades appear in the forest.

Although many buildings have been dismantled in recent years, the dimensions are still impressive. It is an abandoned city in the forest that nature is gradually taking back. Thousands of Soviet citizens once lived here on the edge of a large military training area. The condition of the houses is already so bad that numerous roofs and false ceilings have collapsed - entering is dangerous. They transform to small biotopes with moss, grasses and even young trees in the rooms. There is a damp, musty smell in the air.

Like many other Soviet garrisons, the Soviets took over this object from the German military and only added a few new buildings to the existing buildings. The settlement structure therefore appears to be varied when, next to a building from the 1930s, a modern prefabricated cube suddenly protrudes from the pine forest.

Along one of the long main streets are identical, two-story buildings that served as soldier accommodation. Here were the dormitories for the ordinary soldiers, each with only one bed, a stool and a bedside table. The rooms were heated with tiled stoves, the fire hatches of which were located in the long corridors.

On the other hand, there were some large facilities such as a huge dining room with an attached canteen kitchen. Even more than 25 years after the last Russian soldiers left, the hustle and bustle and the background noise can be very well imagined when hundreds of soldiers ate their meals here at the same time.

Not only soldiers lived in this ghost town, but also civil employees and family members of the officers. The primary school was located in a long building. This is evidenced by childishly naive drawings on the wall, which include represent simple math. An equally naively drawn father Frost wishes a "Happy New Year" (С новым годом).

Political education and cultural activities for the military played an important role. Each Soviet barracks had multifunctional halls that were used for theater or film screenings. The large hall in the former officers' mess is already a scene of destruction, because the roof has fallen into the audience area. On the small stage in an adjoining room, a mural illustrates the former clout of Soviet military technology.

The great importance of sport in the Soviet army can be seen from the many sports equipment in the courtyards and even an outdoor pool. The young conscripts in particular were exposed to a tight drill because the Soviet army was on permanent stand-by. The idyll of the forest cannot hide the fact that Germany was a central front line in the Cold War.

Further interesting blog posts about Berlin's Soviet history as well as guided tours in Berlin, Potsdam and beyond can be found on our pages.