Abandoned Berlin | Documentary

Updated : Oct 20, 2019 in Articles

Abandoned Berlin | Documentary


I think there’s a certain fascination in why a place is abandoned. In the first place, because it’s not really normal for a building to be abandoned. When plans are first drawn up to build a building no one actually ever thinks that it’s going to be abandoned. People presume it’s going to be used forever. So when you have an abandoned place it’s just, it seems like such a waste of a building. It’s fascinating in a way that a city like Berlin can just afford to have this huge area totally desolate and totally wrecked. I have this fascination on the one hand with how a building is abandoned or why it’s abandoned and there’s almost always like a tragic story or sad story behind it as well. When you see an abandoned place you always have to wonder about the story behind it. And I think the fascination comes from that. When I see a fence and it says ‘Betreten verboten’ or trespassing forbidden it’s almost like an invitation, you have to accept it. Just this burning curiosity to go over the fence and see what it is that you’re not supposed to see. But I think for abandoned places, in particular in Berlin, it’s just that Berlin is so full of history and it’s had such a traumatic past that it has created all these, all these places all over the city and all around, especially in East Germany, because after the wall came down and a lot of businesses were left and abandoned or sold off or closed down. So it had created all these buildings that are no longer in use. So there was just this huge amount of material there, so many stories to tell. And I just kinda landed by accident in the right place to tell them or to discover them or whatever. And now I feel it’s kinda my, it’s almost like a mission to tell those stories. It started when I was kind of overcome by curiosity when I was outside the former fairground park Spreepark in East Berlin, and I just climbed the fence one day when I got enough courage. And when I went in I was just amazed at what I found because there was just… it was incredible. There were fallen dinosaurs, there was a ferris wheel, this roller coaster… and for me it felt like such a shame to have this magical place in the edge of… pretty near the centre of the city but nobody seemed to know about it. So when I got home I decided I would write about it straight away. And as I was writing about it I looked up the history and I found it had a crazy story as well involving drugs smuggling and… just crazy stuff you couldn’t make it up. So I wrote it all together on my own kinda personal blog and published a little guide so other people could find it and put a little map for people to find it. So now it’s kinda, it’s turned into a sort of documentation project that I need to go to these places while they’re still before they’re reclaimed or restored or knocked down all together, take photos often in their state and write about their stories then as well. There are always clues in abandoned places from their past, and in that way they explain their stories. So when you go into even an empty room there may be a chair in the corner and you may find like I found once a soldier’s jacket on the back of a chair in an old Russian barracks. Obviously it was a clue to the past that at one stage or other there were Soviet soldiers here. So I think that when you have abandoned places, even all the people have left, there are always items that they have left behind, which give clues to the past which tell a bit about the story or try and tell the story. The story is never really complete because, I guess, items on their own can really tell the story but that adds to the sense of mystery involved. Does a city care for its past? A politician will tell you: of course we do and of course we care for the past. It is a hard question to answer. Especially in Germany you have this because of the bad history. There is this, I guess, sort of an understandable urge to cover up the past and not to… to just kind of try and forget all the terrible stuff that happened. You have like former sites associated with the Nazis which are just left to rot in the woods. No effort is made to preserve them at all. And I think that most people would prefer that they just disappear without a trace forever. There are a lot of examples of the city prioritizing investors over historical objects. Things that should be preserved and things that are linked to the past which would perhaps remind people of mistake that should not be made again. In that respect I think Berlin is not very… it gives to much priority to money over history. In many cases for investors is much cheaper to knock down a building or wait for it to fall down and then rebuild a brand new building. And for me that, you know, it doesn’t make much sense, I mean, historically. It’s obviously a waste of a building to have it just abandoned and, you know, rotting in the woods and it was actually one of the reasons why I decided to publicize locations because I felt at least if people come along and they can take photos there, and do what they want, it’s not so much of a waste. in my own personal, selfish way, I’d love for all abandoned buildings to stay abandoned forever and to remain this kind of lonely, mystical places but you have to be practical about it as well, and I think unless if nothing is done with them they’re all just gonna fall to the ground, and vanish anyway. The forest will reclaim them or nature will slowly reclaim it. So I think an effort has to be made to kinda somehow preserve them in a way wich… which honors their past or which doesn’t really take away from their past, so that their stories aren’t lost. Maybe it’s not even possible to restore buildings in such a way that their stories aren’t forgotten but I think some element to preservation is required. No way around really restoring a building without losing some of its magic because obviously some of the magic comes from the cobwebs, the flaking paint on the walls… The decay is in itself attractive in buildings so when you take that away obviously you lose some of its magic but I still think that you know, historical buildings can be restored in such a way so as to at least kinda preserve a bit of some part of their historical past. Personally I think that abandoned buildings, each abandoned place, has its own message , its own story, its own very personal particular story. All together… you have to look at a place like Berlin, East Germany and wonder why there are so many abandoned places. And I think the message from that is that, you know, people made mistakes, huge mistakes, and were just wasteful. They closed down factories, they closed down businesses after the wall came down… It was just a huge waste of resources. I think abandoned buildings, in general, their main message when you take them all together is that people are very wasteful Should maybe learn to be a bit more careful with what they have. And maybe, treat their buildings a little better. That’s about it. I just think a lot of mistakes were made and many of these abandoned places are the result of those mistakes.

46 Comments

  • This is sick, man. I just moved here last week and I can't wait to get into some of these spots. Thanks for taking the time to make this!

  • Very interesting film – thanks! Tempelhof isn't fully abandoned though – when I was there last December, we were told that refugees were gonna be housed there. If you can, get on a guided tour – it's excellent.

  • Awesome video! And it's nice to hear the voice behind abandonedberlin. That nice soothing voice … actually, together with that great choice of music, I'd even pay for audiobooks of those explorations.

  • dude, you are 15 years late…everybody knows about this buildings and 1000 photos and videos have been made there, thats why they are covered in graffitty ! not new not special

  • Jordi, thanks for this material. I've enjoyed it from start to finish! There's a sort of magnetic mystic around all these abandoned places. Regards from Argentina!

  • hi, this documentary is amazing, i would like to visit all this places, can you write the name of the area, and I will use Google maps

  • Disappointed by the background music you should have used something ambient/atmospheric I have been following abandoned Berlin the blog for years I always put on some ambient music while going through pictures and reading the descriptions.. In the white by katatonia (Frank default mix version) for instance.

  • Thank you for your video! In Ukraine there is also a big amount of abandoned places. And a lot of places just look like abandoned.

  • I grew up in West Berlin and never saw the park in the East. I lived there from 1984 til 1988. It is rare to see derelict buildings in Germany. The Germans are very clean and efficient and I don't ever remember even seeing a slum. Not like here. I do feel the autor thoug, there is something mystifying about abandoned places like this. Look at all the waste, and scarp metal. The ferris wheel alone is probably 15k + worth of scrap metal. And why? Where did the people go? What happened. Templehof Airport? I used to work there as a teenager fro summer hire. Can't believe such an historically important place is now derelict!

  • I agree with you. Many of these places, including the items left behind, should be conserved for historical purposes.
    Sure, there are many places where terrible things have happened but there is nothing wrong with looking at history
    and remembering history.
    That is primarily what drives an urban explorer, the chance at touching history and being where history happened.
    There is a sense of excitement when you step into a building previously occupied by an important person from the
    past, even if they were not famous on a global scale.
    There are so many abandoned homes, castles, villas, hotels, hospitals, factories, buildings, airports, resorts, the list
    goes on. Simply search for "Abandoned" in the YouTube search box to find some amazing urban exploration videos
    of abandoned history all over the World.
    If you don't understand the importance of history, your doomed to oblivion.

  • brilliant documentary! i am going to Berlin with my college in march and i've been looking at some urbex places to check out!

  • That was so helpful i just gave you 4 subscribers from my 4 youtube accounts lol. Are these places restricted? I am thinking of doing a short film in some of them and I am wondering if driving there with a crew might be a waste of time. Waiting for your reply.

  • Looks amazing! I have joined a similar abandoned Berlin tour which was private and hosted by a local of Berlin. It was super amazing! This is the tour I joined ( https://triple.co/berlin/outdoor-activities/abandoned-berlin-photography-tour-435/ )

  • Heading to Berlin soon. Been there a few times before and was always looking forward to this kind of sightseeing. Thank you!

  • I think it's a shame when abandoned places stay abandoned. I feel like these places/areas need to be re-purposed or cleaned up and returned to their natural state. But I came here because I was curious when the Kriminalist entered an abandoned train station, and I wondered why it would have been abandoned. thought I would find a clue somewhere on youtube. 🙂

  • A documentary about all the Soviet ruins still in the woods (not just Vogelsang) would be great, before they all get torn down or burned up in a forest fire (that just nearly happened!).

  • Scrap metal for resale and old concrete for sea walls (ask the Dutch). Use machines and employ more people for the teardown, and then more construction and another form of employment (?).
    Photo documentaries can record the past which must Never be forgotten.

  • Nice work. I agree with you across the board. I’m going to visit Berlin in the future for a couple of days. Any advice on any ww2 or Cold War abandoned area I could visit while in town on a short stay?

  • Thanks for share this video, I just move 1 month ago to Berlin and I want to know a lot more about the city, but I think it should focus more on the history of these amazing places, not just in the personal thoughts that are repeated over all the video or says like 300 times many mistakes were made in the past… Yes, we all know that, like most of the European countries, many mistakes were made in the past… Would have been nice for the video to be a real documentary. Regards.

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