We are in Berlin, where an empty, tumble-down, complex sits amidst handsome new apartment buildings in Weissensee neighborhood. Though a curious passerby probably never wouldn’t guess it, this crumbling graffiti gallery was once a cutting-edge pediatric medical facility, abruptly banished 20 years ago to a bizarre limbo that continues to this day.
The story of so-called Kinderkrankenhaus-Weißensee (Weissensee Children’s Hospital) began in 1908, to help combat rising infant mortality rates at the time. Construction got underway in June 1909, overseen by the prominent architect Carl James Bühring, who built a load of stuff in Berlin and then later in Leipzig.
Inaugurated on July 8, 1911, it was the first municipal hospital of Prussia, and incorporated innovative concepts like a 2.8 hectare park for therapeutic purposes but also milk production facilities, with a cowshed, dairy and everything needed for milk storage and transportation for the young patients, their mothers, but also the surrounding neighborhood. The hospital survived two World Wars and the Cold War, and was enlarged in 1987 when the East German government added a new wing.
If this wasn’t enough, the facility even survived German reunification for several years, but was eventually closed its doors in 1997. Empty since then, the buildings and grounds are protected as historic monuments under the care of the municipal government. In 2005 the property was sold to a Russian investor and medical cooperative that proposed converting it into a new clinic. After years passed without any construction or even basic maintenance at the site, curious journalists found the new ownership led only to a sketchy location housing multiple shell corporations.
Further inquiries yielded a surreal story of Russian doctors who had discovered a method of curing cancer and AIDS with radio waves and, apparently, this method had already cured many people in Russia. Unfortunately, their results proved difficult to verify, as the patients they cured were all quickly killed thereafter by mismanagement by conventional doctors.
In any case, after years of lawsuits, local courts ordered the fraudulent Russian owner to return the property to the municipal property management authority and now the future of the former children’s hospital is as yet unclear.
Today the abandoned children’s hospital is frequented by homeless people looking for a place to sleep, as well as graffiti artists who have used the site to create more or less interesting street art. It also remains an attractive target for curious and urban explorers, despite each visitor should be very careful, as it is a very old and decaying building. And, in addition, vandals set the place alight 17 times in 2013 alone….
Article in collaboration, Ivan & Anya – random-times.com