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The "KdF Sea Bath for 20.000"

The east coast of Rügen with its white beaches and old pine forests underwent change during the 30’s of the last century. The NS community “Strength through Joy” constructed a 4.5 km long building strip, consisting of 5 blocks each with a length of 500m; The “KdF Sea Bath Rügen”.

“Strength through Joy” was a sub organization of the “German Labor Front” whose main objective was the extensive organization of leisure time for the Germans, especially the layout of holidays.

The leader of the “German Labor Front”, Robert Ley, has consistently stated that Hitler himself has had the idea of building five “KdF Sea Baths”. However, it is only in Prora where this has been realized. In the beginning of 1936 a competition was held in which 11 architects participated. There were clear building regulations: all rooms must point towards the sea. A festival hall is meant to hold up to 20,000 people. Hitler himself supposedly chose the design by the Cologne architect, Clemens Klotz. The central festival hall is meant to be constructed according to the plans of Erich zu Putlitz.

Modell der Anlage, 1936

Model of the complex
1936


Architectual perspective of the design by Clemens Klotz, 1936

The laying of the foundation stone took place on the 2nd of May 1936, the third anniversary of the “Storming of the Unions” in which the trade unions were destroyed. It was a mass spectacle that was broadcasted via radio. The Navy and Air Force participated. Robert Ley held the main speech.

The laborers began their construction of the foundation during April 1938. In the summer of 1939, the so called accommodation houses that are parallel to the beach and the skeletal construction in the centre were completed. Construction was halted with the beginning of the war in 1939, seeing as the construction companies were needed in building facilities necessary for the war.

As of 1940, more than 1000 police officers- one Battalion- received military training, prior to being sent to the Eastern Front. From 1942 till the end of the war, young men and women were trained as Intelligence Assistants of the Navy and were stationed at a sick bay. This usage of the compound was already planned and anticipated during the architectural competition.

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