Elisabeth-Sanatorium (Sanatorium E)

Filed 2/7/2014 |
Curtains flutter forlornly behind cobweb-covered panes, paint flakes wistfully from long-neglected walls and doors slam in vain for attention – BANG! BANG! BANG! – only nobody’s there to hear them. 
The doors keep slamming but no one fucking cares. There used to be patients but they’re all gone, all cured, or out of their misery. Staff posts are deserted. Service has gone to the dogs. Even the dogs have left, haunted out of their kennels.
What would Elisabeth make of it all? It was all for her, dear Elisabeth.
Her husband, Walter Freimuth, had the Elisabeth-Sanatorium built a hundred years ago. Construction began in 1912.
There was nothing wrong with her as far as I know. He was a doctor and into all that stuff. The sanatorium was one of the many around Berlin treating patients for tuberculosis (TB), which was all the rage at the time.
Another mostly fatal infection took hold of Germany later when the Nazis rose to power. Elisabeth was Jewish and the Freimuths wisely decided that avoidance was the best cure. They fled the country, initially for England, from what I could ascertain. (Facts and details are proving hard to find for this tale.)
The sanatorium continued treating patients without them and it survived both the Nazis and the war. Then in 1952 it was given a new purpose, when it became a clinic for skin and lymph node tuberculosis, the only facility of its kind in the DDR.
In 1967 it became a skin clinic under the umbrella of the then district hospital in nearby Potsdam. A dozen doctors and 25 nurses looked after the patients, with 90 beds available in the main building. The others were used as an administration building and for employees’ accommodation.
It was modernized in the 1980s but abandoned then in 1994, when the skin clinic was moved to the Klinikum Ernst von Bergmann in Potsdam.
I guess Mauerfall played a part in its demise, like everything else. The sanatorium was eventually handed back to the family heirs. It ended up with one Ursula Freimuth in the United States but she has done nothing with it since.
The building received “Denkmalschutz” or protected status in 2005, not that that means anything in this country. Germany’s idea of “protection” is a strange one. Everywhere you look there are “protected” buildings falling to the ground or even being dismantled to make way for more lucrative endeavors. Don’t get me started on the East Side Gallery again…
Back to the Elisabeth-Sanatorium. Apparently a French construction company wanted to turn it into a hardware store and there were plans for a craft village. But pretty much all plans are doomed to failure unless they do away with the motorways that encircle the site.
All that can be heard now is the monotonous din of traffic whizzing by on all sides by without a thought or a care for the forgotten sanatorium. Its poor ghosts must be driven demented.
I saw a man’s foot approaching when I looked down at a photo I took. AAAAAGH!! My heart shot into my mouth. I looked up from the camera and saw it was just a bag or something. The mind plays tricks in places like these. When I looked at the photo again I saw the man’s foot again. Perhaps it was a ghost after all.
They used to have a piano to play, and it was the centerpiece for many a prized photo, but it was cruelly taken away and now the ghosts can only amuse themselves by frightening intrepid explorers. Sure who could blame them?

What
Elisabeth-Sanatorium, former tuberculosis clinic that morphed into an East German skin clinic before being consumed by the fallout of Mauerfall, as indeed anything East German did. Now only haunted by traffic-tormented ghosts.

Where
Potsdamer Damm 1, 14532 Stahnsdorf, Germany.

How to get there
Maybe there are better ways, but I got the S-Bahn (S1) to Potsdam Griebnitzsee and cycled from there. It’s not far to cycle but easy to lose your way, as I did. Best to head in a southeasterly direction until you find yourself on Steinstraße. Follow that and keep going straight until you find yourself at a circle with eight paths to choose from. (Seven if you don’t include the one you just used.) Take the third one to your left and this should bring you before long through the tunnel under the motorway. Keep going. You’ll come to a busy intersection – keep going there too, until you come to a roundabout. If Friedenstraße is the road to your left you know you have the right roundabout. At the roundabout turn right, get in off the road, and follow the fence/trees until you see the burnt parts, where the fence is pulled down. Hop in. You’re in. Here’s a map in an attempt to make it a bit easier.

Getting in
See the previous instructions. Follow them and when you get there, come on in. All the doors and windows are open.

When to go
Daytime is best for photos and general snooping.

Difficulty rating
3/10 It’s a bit awkward to get to but otherwise quite easy.

Who to bring
Boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife (or all of them) for a romantic sunset in the middle of a motorway carousel, like-minded explorers for exploring.

What to bring
Bring some beer lest you get thirsty. Maybe some mozzie spray if you go later in the summer. (There were no mozzies when I was there, possibly because of the traffic, but it’s something to consider.) Bring a camera and a torch. And a piñata. Damn it, the world should have more piñatas.

Dangers
The roof is a little dangerous in places – rivers of rain run through – but otherwise it seems safe enough. One of the outside buildings looked like it was being used by a homeless person so I suggest you leave that alone. That was it. No security or any living beings were encountered in the making of this post.

Many thanks to Robert for the tip! And thanks as always to Mark Rodden for his diligent proofreading.

tuberculosis (TB) 70362134257156418

44 comments

Sweet! This one has been on my list for a while, but someone told me some construction workers were already busy demolishing it, so I didn't bother. Seems to be not the case though.

Another fine spot will now die because of you :( there is a guard at the place. Hopefully he will catch some of the tons of people there will now be going there. RiP

Your silly comment just proves your own narrow-mindedness. And to give readers here better information: There is no "guard", but a dog training club does use parts of the area. And an elderly person does live in a building at the main gate. That's all. The once famous piano is long gone...

There was no security guard when I was there last week, so I'm sure the "tons of people" will be fine.

Been there today - beautiful place, a lot of Windows still intact, hardly any graffity... hope it stays this way for a while... already saw the next visitors when we left! Lots of beautiful footage for photo&video guys like me...

I visited the site on wednesday, easy acces through a hole in the fence near the rotunda and no security. there where a lot of cars though presumeably from the construction workers down the road (saw some guys walking back and forth between the cars). We saw no one in the building itself.

As said before, the building is still in great shape, most windows and doors still intact (pick up a door knob to open doors without) and loads of curtains still fluttering around.

http://www.diyphotography.net/yet-another-example-urbex-remain-secret/#more-9602

been there this week in the afternoon. not at all creepy (except the basement). in the sunlight its a very peaceful place with a beautiful wild garden around the house (ok the streets are very noisy but still!). top floor (attic) has some wholes in the floor but in general i felt safe walking around. did not meet any other explorers or squatters or guards :) great tip, it was very unique

Went last Saturday, but a guard found us before we had even got into the building. He escorted us off the property. ;-(

Very sorry to hear that! Maybe you were just unlucky. No one around when I was there...

Be warned folks! Caution required.

That's what happens when locations are revealed. Feel free to deny it, but that's just a fact. I was there several times before you posted the location and it was never a problem with security. Your blog reminds me about a story i once read about a food manufacturer, that in lack of a quality product, decided to put gold in the packaging, because that was the only way they could sell their product. In other words, if you would stop posting locations and directions, people would immediately stop following your blog. Do you take the challenge or will you come up with a stupid rationalization? Let me guess. Option number 2?

Nice example for a typical half-witted "urbex" comment. Elisabeth-Sanatorium has been a place "to go" for several years now. Long before this blog has even been started. There have been several comments on its history and present fate in the papers. Do you want to censor them too? Since the forest around it has been cut down its clearly apparent to many thousands commuters on its "traffic island" or what is left from its surrounding terrain. When the piano had been removed there was a note in Potdamer Neueste Nachrichten and they mentioned a security service then. But that was in mid-January. And the piano was gone a fortnight before. So I'd say security there is not guarding every day. And even if, this would not be a consequence of this blog.

You seem to be missing the point. Perhaps you're purposely ignoring it. It's not about people following the blog. It's giving locations so people can find these places and discover them too before they're gone. That's the whole point - making these places accessible to others. Is that rationalization stupid enough for you?

Hi. I find your site very interesting and awesome. I went to the Elizabeth Sanatorium to take a couple of shots and your directions and advises were perfect :). Thanks. Keep up your work!

Why spoon feed locations and access to lazy people who dont make any effort to stuff out for themselves? Thats about 75% of the fun.

You might aswell start taking photo requests to finish the job off, could be a nice lil earner.

Visited last week and it sure was a beut, i liked the fact that almost every room had curtains left blowing in the wind. Managed to bump into another explorer that found the place on this site (hi! sorry if i was awkward, was just so perplexed to meet someone there :D) and im very grateful for the time and energy you are dedicating to this site.

Yeh the windows being intact and the lack of graffiti won't last long anymore, now that the location is on this blog..

I always go with my best friend and my son on photo tour.
He loves to make those "forbidden " things with his mummy!; D

This place looks awesome going next week there

Some guy is sending take down notices to photographers claiming he is notarial legitimated representative of the owner. He is threatening the photographers to sue them for entering the property and taking pictures inside. Just take care that you don’t get caught by any guards since they might involve the police in future.

The place isn't that "easy to get in" anymore. I and a couple of other photographers were "rausgeschmiessen" by the police this weekend. Some people from the dog school, that is just the next door to the Sanatorium are its official supervisors. At least so claimed the policeman. Later we tried to contact the proprietor in order to ask for an authorization but we failed.

This place is enchanting, very inspirational for a story, very creepy at night too, I suppose. :)

Has anybody been there lately? What is the situation now? Thanks in advance!

was there this afternoon...no problem to get in. And there is a nice graffiti now on the staircase!

i went there today and there was a guard but you can climb over it

Visited this place past Sunday. There's a bus stop very close by named Guterfelde, Friedenstr.
Getting in wasnt hard. On the northeastern side of the compound (next to the highway driveway) you can walk through the bush, when you reach the fence you can find a hole and just crawl through.

It was nice to see that this place wasnt completely trashed, in contrast to the abandoned buildings in Berlin city. Still some stuff left such as chairs, curtains and even a bed frame. We walked around for about 45 minutes when we noticed 6 people standing outside, 5 of them were wearing orange reflection vests and 1 guy was just smoking a cigarette. One of them saw us so we decided to leg it and left.

I went today with my brother and we had no problems at all. The gate was open because there was a class going on in this dog school - but no one seemed to care about us. We went inside when nobody was looking and also met two other explorers. The street art next to the stairs is awesome - whoever did this, come to my place and do the same here in my kitchen pls ;-)

M, o vampiro de Dusseldorf, Fritx Lang, 49 min

Hey hey!
Today we went there for 5 hours, nobody was there! no neighbours, no dog school, nobody at all! On the top floor, there were some cloths, but no sense of a person or somebody living inside.
Getting in was easy, as you said.
Thank you very much for information! Really nice creepy place!

We went yesterday, the dog school guy was there but we entered from the opposite side. There is a whole lot of new fence around the place which is very solid and totally fixed on the ground. You can get in but it doesn't say "please come in" any longer.

I spent about 2 hours there yesterday, it's still looking like on the fotos! No security, easy to get there by bus. Thank you for the great tip and for sharing all these locations, I love your blog! keep it going :)

yeah, still a nice place easy to enter and at least I didn't see some dog school guys or things like that. Have fun at your visit ;)

We spend 3 hours there. Nice place! We entered through a hole in the fence, just follow the "Trampelpfad". Doors are open, nobody there except for a few other explorers.

I went last week. What a wonderful quiet place. There was nobody else around. But please be careful when you walk the corridors of the upper floors as parts of the ceiling are not in a good condition. Bring some flashlights and watch your step. There is a lot more graffiti compared to the photos above, but still worth a visit. Thanks for sharing!

Go for it! An old man seems to "secure" the place, but I wouldn't be worry about him. He was sweeping the alley in front of his house the whole time.
There are still some really nice rooms. And fun fact, I'd say half the windows still have glasses.

Ursula F, who lives in the usa. I am not divulging her last name to protect her, she is up in age, with heart problems. It's a shame you guys trespass. If something happens to you, the problems to the family will be huge. Have you ever tried to manage a property from another continent? I watched their struggles to stop the highway from being built, they made it into a DEnkmal in hopes to stop the highway. Seeing those photos makes me really sad. The American family who owns this has a lot of health issues. Please have some respect. Do not trespass, if you get hurt there, it's going to be a real problem. The heirs already struggled enough. Please do not trespass, the liability is huge. These are pretty normal people, they are not rich. They do not have the resources to restore such a large place. Seeing those photos is scary, I have seen how the property looked only 5years ago, before the person who cared for the property passed away after a long and sudden illness. He traveled to paint some portions of the rooms, he fought against the state to stop the highway. Please have some respect. Do not trespass. And, yes, I understand the allure of visiting an abandoned place, but .... Before you do, think twice. There are real people behind this, they suffer too.

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