Königin-Elisabeth-Hospital: When the hospital becomes the patient

Filed 7/6/2015 |
It’s fucked now but the Königin-Elisabeth-Hospital saw better days, days when it used to care, used to give a damn. Don’t bother expecting any treatment now unless you’re plagued by an ailment that needs a roof falling on your head. I know plenty who are but they don’t know they’re ill.
The hospital wasn’t named after your wan currently sucking the blood out of British public finances of course, though she’s probably ancient enough, but Queen Elisabeth of Prussia, originally from Bavaria until she married her way out of Munich. And who could blame her for doing so?
Her hospital was established on April 14, 1843, while she was still queen on account of her husband, Friedrich Wilhelm IV. The “Small-Sick-Children-Preservation-Institution,” as it was called, was based in Mitte at the time and didn’t move to the site we’re concerned with at Oberschöneweide until 1910. It moved to Kreuzberg before that, getting the slightly more palatable name of Elisabeth Children’s Hospital in 1844.
Once it moved to the 130-bed facility at Oberschöneweide (Karlshorster Straße at the time, now Treskowallee), a department for internal medicine and surgery for adults was created and it was renamed the Königin-Elisabeth-Hospital (Queen Elisabeth Hospital) to reflect the new all-inclusive approach to patients.
An epidemic of scarlet fever in 1913 caused severe overcrowding and it was decided after that to reduce the hospital’s less busy kids’ department.
Then the First World War broke out and a lot of its doctors and deaconesses were sent off to the fronts to look after patients at the source of their problems. A military hospital with 150 beds was set up alongside the 100-bed civil hospital in Oberschöneweide to cope with patients returned back from the front.
If only they’d put the front at the back and met in the middle perhaps they could have avoided all the fighting. I suppose it’s too late to tell them now…
Things weren’t all that much better after the war, what with the depression and hyperinflation and all that. It was 1924 before the hospital could really get going again.
Just when things seemed to be looking up, however, Germany caught Naziitus. It seemed innocuous at first; no one believed the warnings, most were more concerned about preserving their own hides.
The Nazis took control in 1933 with implications überall. Chief internal department physician Dr. Walter Wolff had to leave the Königin-Elisabeth-Hospital in Feb. 1936 due to being of “non-Aryan descent” and Prof. Dr. Richard Dobbertin, head of the surgical department, quit and went into retirement the same year. Wolff was reinstated after the Second World War, in Sept. 1945. I guess he was one of the lucky ones.
By then the Soviets had taken over. They used part of the hospital as a military hospital initially and it wasn’t so inclusive after that, catering only to Russian soldiers from November 1945, when the rest of the patients were kicked out.
The Königin-Elisabeth-Hospital was effectively forced to move to another hospital in Lichtenberg, the Städtischen Krankenhauses Herzberge, which was renamed the Evangelisches Diakoniewerk Königin Elisabeth (EDKE) in 1980.
The Russians remained at the Oberschöneweide hospital a few years after Mauerfall, until 1994, by which time they’d realized that the confident new Germany wasn’t as welcoming to them as the former DDR had been.
The EDKE bought the site back from the state in the early 1990s and initially had plans to develop a mixture of housing, nursing homes and a discount supermarket. But these plans were shot down and it was decided to sell the site in separate parts. A school for people with disabilities was built, other buildings were torn down and a new building was built for an elderly care center.
The two buildings remaining are the last ones standing. Now they’re the ones in desperate need of care.

What
Königin-Elisabeth-Hospital, or the little that’s left of it (not much). Initially a kids’ hospital, increasingly catered for adults, in the end it catered only to Russian military types. Now it’s the one with a Kater. (I mean hangover, not a male cat, which wouldn’t make any sense at all. Or maybe it would.)

Where
Treskowallee 210-232, 12459 Berlin, Germany.

How to get there
Get up off your lazy ass and cycle, the best way to get anywhere in this city as long as your wheels don’t get caught in tram tracks, taxi drivers don’t run you off the road, the Polizei don’t hound you for breaking red lights, or someone doesn’t steal your bike. If your bike is stolen just make sure it’s stolen before any of the other stuff happens – otherwise you’d be really pissed off.
If you’re not cycling – on reflection perhaps a wise decision – you can get the S-Bahn to Karlshorst and walk down Treskowallee from there. The train will be going east if you’re coming from Berlin, so make sure to turn south when you come out of the station. The hospital will be on the right, down near the busy junction with Rummelsburger Straße.
Here’s a map to assist you.

Getting in
Go around to the side where you’ll see those huge water pipes that you get around Berlin. Apparently the site sits in a protected area for drinking water. You’ll need to duck under those and go to the part where the wall is broken. It’s incredibly easy.

When to go
Daytime might be safest. I don’t think it would be a good party location due to the proximity of the old folks’ home or whatever it is beside it – someone is bound to call the Polizei.

Difficulty rating
1/10, nearly too easy. The building closest the road is hard to get into but I don’t think it’s worth the effort of trying to get in to be honest.

Who to bring
A like-minded explorer.

What to bring
Beer, wine, gold tequila, orange and cinnamon. Drink the beer and wine separately of course. Slice the orange, sprinkle cinnamon on it, and eat that before or after you take a slug of tequila. I can’t remember which. Fuck it, it doesn’t matter. Take a camera if you want to take photos, a torch if you want to explore the basement.

Dangers
The usual – dodgy ceilings, nosy neighbors, Polizei. There’s no security.


Thanks once again to the overworked Mark Rodden for scouring the text for embarrassing mistakes. If you see any they’re all his fault and his fault alone.
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13 comments

Easy to get in as stated, I stepped right in from the main road next to the old folks home and only later find the entrance through the woods. Really only one building to explore (that I could find) but it was quite OK! Also really enjoyed the massive tubing running through the woods, just felt a bit out of place! Don't plan a full day for this site, it is done in 1 hour or so, perfect if you have other things you would like to pack in to the day.

I went yesterday and it was very easy to get in, so I met other explorers as well. What it really cute: there are currently 2 or 3 bird families and one has their nest in an old fuse box :)
Unfortunately I also met some strange guys when I wanted to get out again. They didn't do anything but were a bit like 'get the f*** out of our area', so pls be careful when you go alone.
And another thing I need to say: awesome website! It's amazing how many beautiful and scary places there are to discover in Berlin, but I also love the way you write!

I went yesterday and was amazing, but similar with the guy who write before me, we met some strange naked old guys and very strange energy, thy didnt talk, just looked very angry, litlle bit scared to go alone.

Today I was there with 2 other girls and there was many strange old guys and they don't talk to each other and one of them was also naked lol. In the basement lays new pages from a pornoheft so I don't know whats going on there but it's really strange. In my opinion you should not go there!

I went yesterday afternoon and had a great time exploring the building and area, especially loved the roof and seeing how nature is re-claiming the building. Walking along the old water pipes through the forest was also quite fun. There were at least 5 men at the site, first we saw a few sitting outside drinking when we entered, they clearly knew we were there and didn't confront us. Later when in the building, we heard that there was someone who had also entered but we didn't encounter him inside. When we left we saw him watching us through the window. Upon leaving the property, we wanted to walk a bit further around the buildings and then saw someone getting a blowjob, and decided to leave. Overall, we didn't feel unsafe, only uncomfortable, like we were invading someone's space.

I went today and would like to clarify the situation with the people on site having sexual intercourse. I explored the buildings together with a girl and we directly approached the people, greeted them and asked about their usage of the site. They explained that the abandoned hospital and the area around is used by gay man for explicit purposes ;-) and they prefer not to be disturbed. It is clearly visible, that they use most of the rooms for sex, as condoms are all over the place and in some of the rooms of the basement are mattresses as well.
Anyway, they seem to tolerate people visiting the house, but not all the parts of the surrounding area.

I'd like to also mention, that the house near the street is used by a homeless but nevertheless friendly and kind old man who obviously prefers not to have visitors breaking into his shelter. Anyway he was helpful and tolerating our inattention. I gave him some money because of his kindness. If you consider going there, why not do something good and help him with some €uros.

Have fun exploring the site, couldn't be easier to get in.

sorry for my english, it´s not the best :)
friday i was there. it was very easy to get in, on the right side you go in forest and after 300 meter there´s a hole in the wall and you´re in. the area is very clean and beautyful old with a couple buildings and 2 shelters. after walking around in go in the main house with 3 floors. it was awesome and i got some really nice pic´s. at the beginning i saw 2 people but not the naked man (the comments before me) :D

it was a great tip

haha i went on monday and did not read the comments until after. It most defiantly is a gay hangout. not that that is a problem, but just be warned and read the comments first otherwise you might get an awkward surprise. the naked man really shocked me haha. I cleared out pretty quick after that. it was an awkward uncomfortable feeling around the place. be warned

The hospital is great for a visit, basically we visited it today, and we did not have the chance to read the comments before. But to confirm all of them, this is a gay spot. Not a problem, however I would not go by myself.

Went a couple of weeks ago, hospital is still there and easily accessible (follow the pipes way back until there is a turn).

Didn't see the comments about it being a gay hangout but I can confirm it is one; I went on a Sunday and there were about 10 other people wandering the grounds.

Me pondré en contacto con usted para mostrar mis fotos de ruinas. Este tema me apasiona

Visited this a couple of weeks ago, quite interesting although as mentioned, it is used as a gay hangout - there was a guy chilling naked outside but he realised we were exploring and it was fine. Lots of tissues and used condoms everywhere, which was a bit disgusting, but otherwise still an interesting place to explore!

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