So it’s was all decided, one weekend in September the Talkurbex crew were going to hit Germany for 3 full on days of exploring. 14 explorers and a list of locations as long as your arm. 8 from the Uk planning to meet up with 6 of our European brothers. Itinerary drawn up and maps printed it was now just a waiting game.

The time was finally upon us but myself and Oldskool being Northern monkeys had to get different flights from our Southern counterparts which meant we would miss out on the first mornings explores, but it still left us with about 10 locations still on the list. Arriving at Schoenfeld airport in Berlin, a quick text to Shando and we were on our way, not before we had indulged in the local tipple 🙂

The guys had already had a successful morning and were going to finish it off with a last explore of the day to Teufelsberg Spy Station but light was getting low and the location was proving to be somewhat elusive, even with our prep, so we headed back to our apartments. It was an early rise in the morning.

Saturday morning and the alarm clock at 4a.m was not a very welcome sound after the amount of alcohol that me and Oldskool had drunk on the plane and at the airport waiting for the guys but it was Beelitz first on the list and this was one of the big ones. So after a few moans and groans and 4 Annadin Extra we were on the minibus and on our way. It was here we met up with Frits, Bertus, Daniel and Roel, 4 of the European crew and having already teamed up with Jim and Chris the other Europeans the TU crew were all together. Pleasantries exchanged it wastime to head in.

BEELITZ 

A large hospital complex of about 60 buildings. Originally designed as a sanatorium by the Berlin workers’ health insurance corporation, the complex from the beginning of  World War 1 onward was a military hospital of the Imperial German Army. During October and November 1916, Adolf Hitler recuperated at Beelitz-Heilstätten after being wounded in the leg at the Battle Of The Somme. In 1945, Beelitz-Heilstätten was occupied by Soviet Forces, and the complex remained a Soviet military hospital until 1995, well after the German Reunification. It finally become a civilian (and German) institution again in 1995, although due to its poor financial performance most of the buildings would be abandoned in 2000.

As this was our first explore of the day the light was magical, pouring through every orifice of Beelitz’s natural decay, casting rays and shadows you could only dream of. 14 explorers means lots of queuing up to get that special shot so off we went in various little groups so as not to cause a bottleneck.

The vastness of this complex is beyond belief and if we used our whole 3 days to explore just this site we would only be scratching the surface.

The Green Circular Room, not sure what this room was for and my brief search of google returned no answers either.

The corridors were fantastic, open doors and open windows pouring light into the dimly lit hospital

A good few hours were spent here before we decided to move on to another building on the site, but on our exit we were greeted by the owner who, in a polite and pleasant way asked us to leave the premises. I made out fines and police in his broken English so we made our exit with the full intention to return before the weekend was out to shoot the bath house!! Watch this BLOG 🙂

So back in the van it was and on to our next location. I think the most we had to travel between locations was about 1/1.30 hrs, so fuelled with exhaustion, mosquito bites and German radio, plus the inability of James to let a full song play out before he tried to find a better tune we were parked up at our next location. 

Russian Hospital “J” –

Can find very little information on this place but what i did manage to find out after google had translated the page was that it was a German shooting range to start off with but gradually expanded and expanded into a full military training base. Hitler once again makes an appearance in 1938 at an artillery exercise.

To my shame I didn’t really have anything to do with the planning of the locations for this trip, in my defence I probably would have messed it up anyway, so massive thanks the guys for including this place. Even though the majority of it was stripped, it was however vandalism free and housed 2 of the best rooms on the trip. With huge compound eyes and a table and chair straight out of a horror movie, the crew shots were imminent, and with “The Mad Doctors” on tour with us it was only a matter of time before the mayhem began. 

We arrived with 14 explorers but only 11 left. Just one of the crew shots that were inevitable once the rooms were found.

I think I managed to spot at least 5 of these eyes in various rooms in the hospital.

If this was in the Uk then these eyes and tables would have long since been gone. Thank God it wasn’t!! 

With so much to see and so little time the schedules were down to military precision, however we seemed to carry them out like Dad’s Army. So time to move on again and hit the Pilot School. A new one on me, had seen no images prior so was eager to see what it had to offer. 

The Russian Pilot School – 

Once again, with the added trouble of google translate history was a bit of a struggle but I managed to piece a little together.

On August 14, 1933, the newly appointed Minister Hermann Goering issued a decree on the establishment of special schools for the secret to be kept 
Structure of the Air Force. That program also included a technical school, where technicians and engineers should be prepared to maintain military aircraft with its various components, maintain and make repairs. Old west of camp on the site of Niedergörsdorf , where was the imperial period the large area of the airship port, the extensive air force garrison was built. Besides the pilot, an air-finished technical school office (now the Barbara Hall), the new airport and an aviation medical research institute was given the code name the military area “Forest Camp”.

After the initial trek of getting to this place and avoiding the live part it looked pretty impressive on first inspection. Looked quite a large site with numerous buildings to check out. However, aside from the main building which in itself was a little bare and characterless, it just seemed to lack something for me. Don’t get me wrong it was better than most of the places in the Uk but after the 2 awesome locations we had seen so far today it was just a little bit of a come down. All the out buildings we checked were all just stripped bare and you only need to go in one as they were all pretty much the same same design. Even the gym was just a shell of it’s former self and apparently we missed a swimming pool that may have scored it a+1.

It was here we parted company with Frits, Roel, Daniel and Bertus as they were heading into Poland and The Czech Republic but we would be meeting up again for the Monday morning return to Beelitz.

Probably the best part of this location was this staircase situated it the main building.

A lone shopping trolley awaited us in the gym.

The Russian reads – 4th Heavy Howitzer Artillery Division

Hunger was kicking in a little now so before we headed off to our last location of the day  we sought out a food/water source…….miles from home and we end up in Netto!! lol. Saying that though the snacks were cheap and the much needed water was plentiful. Fed and watered we were back in the bus and off to another one of the eagerly anticipated ones.

Krampnitz 

 Abandoned in 1992 by the Russians in the wake of German Reunification, this former military training school has been lying idle ever since, its ever-increasing overgrowth disturbed only periodically to make films such as Enemy at the Gates and Inglorious Bastards.

The Nazis moved their army riding and driving school here from Hannover in 1937. Of course, lessons ended with the loss of the war, and their victors remained at the site until the fall of the Berlin Wall made them redundant too

This, along with Beelitz is far to big to cover in a couple of hours and many more return trips are required to fully explore the site, because of this and the late hour we headed for the showpieces of the site. The Officers’ Mess and the of course the mosaic eagle on the ceiling. Both were found easily enough so we got to shooting them before the battle with the light was finally lost. 

The magnificent domed ceiling in The Officers’ mess.

Outside the Officers’ Mess. I may be wrong but I think a scene from “Enemy At The Gates” was shot in front of this very building.

Another from the movies shot, Inglorious Bastards shot scenes from in here.

So That was day 1,tired, but euphoric at such a successful day it was time to head home as another busy day was ahead of us tomorrow. It was planned that we would head into the city to relax and shoot some night scenes but the days were too long and the starts just too early. Berlin “The City” will have to wait for another time.

if you want to see more shots from the trip look out for day 2 on here or you can always go and check out my flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/38177739@N05/ as slowly but surely I’m processing more shots from the trip.

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Comments
  1. fun to read
    great photo’s

    good blog my friend

    Grts Bertus

  2. Mr.Monster says:

    just awesome bro…nice story! 😀

  3. Nice ones guys, was an awesome trip!!! just wish I could put it into words a little better 🙂

  4. t. bailey says:

    What a killer post! And as always, fantastic shots & processing… Can’t wait to read about the rest of the trip. 🙂

  5. sergio bukini says:

    great report dude! will def lookout for day 2 report!

  6. Thanks sergio, will be up soon jjust got to juggle processing the pics, writing the report, 2 kids and a job 😀

  7. Mark Simpson says:

    Hopefully heading to some of these locations in April 2012, when I’m in the Czech Republic…

  8. D-Kay says:

    Bout time you updated your blog punk!

    Love the write up mate, and looking forward to part 2

  9. just going to start it now dude lol!!

  10. […] after the awesome start that was Saturday and a solid 4hrs sleep ( who can survive on this?? ) it was Sunday morning and what can only be […]

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