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Olympic Village from 1936 in Berlin

Olympic Village from 1936 in Berlin

Olympic Village of the Nazi Games

In 1936, the German Nazi regime organized the Olympic Games. Therefore, the Olympic Village was built on the military domain of Döberitzer.

The town is barely 15 kilometers from the Olympic stadium, and there was a good connection with the nearby army barracks in Döberitzer. It could host 4,000 (male) athletes from 50 different countries.

The Olympic Village consisted of about 140 residential blocks, each bearing the name of a German city, a gymnasium, a swimming pool and Finnish sauna, training grounds, a cinema and a hospital.

House of Nations

The athletes could have breakfast, lunch, or dinner in one of the 38 dining rooms of the Speisehaus der Nationen, an elliptical building with all windows expertly boarded up. Afterward, the structure served as a hospital.


The athletes could virtually follow their colleagues' matches on television in the Hindenburghaus community hall.

The images from the Olympiastadion in Berlin, about fifteen kilometers away, reached the village with a delay of about two minutes.

Concentration camp

A publication by the German Historical Museum (DHM) shows that not everyone was equally keen on the architecture of the Olympic Village by architect Werner March: the reception building is said to have been very similar to the entrance gates of the concentration camps in Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald. "The design of the village gives the impression of a concentration camp," said the Estonian newspaper Päevaleht, to which DHM refers.

"The design of the village gives the impression of a concentration camp."

The home where athlete Jesse Owens probably stayed has been completely restored. The (black) American athlete made the Nazi regime quite nervous by winning four gold medals at the Games, putting a dampener on the Nazis' racial theory. 

Soviet flats

Barely three months after the end of the Games, the builder of the Olympic Village, the German army, moved into the buildings. The Russian military relieved them in 1949, and the new residents have left their mark: the stately reception building is no more. Although it is unclear how and when it was wiped off the map, it was probably heavily damaged in a bombing at the end of the Second World War.

Dozens of skeletons of Soviet flats can still be admired in weed-covered streets, and about twenty remains of the Olympic houses remain. Initially, Soviet officers and their families lived there, but in the 1970s, the site was used to train GDR athletes. In 1992, the Russian army withdrew, and decay and vandalism continued until 2004, when the DKB Stiftung opened the site temporarly to visitors.

Swimming pool

The showpiece of the Olympic site was the practice pool, renovated in 2010. The roof was seriously damaged when young people from the neighborhood started a fire there in 1992. 

Construction of a new residential area on the site will start in 2017, and around a hundred homes will be housed in the protected Speisehaus der Nationen.

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