It’s a base, silly! This isn’t Pathology walks for health! Though as I was in the Charite hospital the other night to visit a friend, I could probably do both! 😉 One of my side interests is historical ethics in medical advancement.
BUT I WILL NOT DIGRESS! At least not this early.
The WarWalksForHealth crew, which includes your favourite author and her willing vict- I mean friends, do not advocate doing anything that is against the law. No breaking the law. So all that you see here? I admit to nothing. NOTHING! All the pictures that you see here? Spy satellites. Yep. I may have gone to the fence… I may have looked through the fence… but all the rest? I admit nothing!!!!!!!! Except spy satellites. I haz mad skillz!
Yup. Yup. Ok.
This week, I went on a really exciting adventure to the abandoned Wehrmacht and then Red Army Kaserne (barracks) at Krampnitz in Brandenberg. Now… I thought that goingthere was more of a….grey…area… and less of a…. well…. misdemeanor. But given the amount of the graffiti and empty beer bottles inside the base, incursions happen with seeming regularity.
And Krampnitz is AWESOME! Though I think we can call this one a war walk for crippling, because I am crippled now.
We started our adventure with some good, old fashioned recon… driving along the fence line, looking for a discrete entrance, which wasn’t to be found… so the one native on our trip took us to a bordering nature preserve so that we could hike in.
Now… Berlin is in the middle of an ice age… so when I say Brandenburg nature preserve, I mean calf deep, unbroken snow (30 cm) on uneven terrain with no trails.
A link to our route. As you can see, we barely scratched the surface. Why did we go in winter? I had heard there was some patrolling of Krampnitz and assumed that there wouldn’t be much in the winter. If I was a security guard, I wouldnt be driving around a big base in the snow.
Cold and snowy, it was…
One of the first things we saw was this… an abandoned car… probably a Lada from the astroturf type floor matting. Also note the log in the background which has been eaten by beavers.
After a slog through the woods which made me feel like a cross between James Bond and Ernst Shackleton, we found a way in through the fence. We stepped over. No wires were cut. It was an entirely open spot.
Most of what we looked at was built in the 1930s. There was some later plattenbau, but we ignored it. The Wehrmacht used this base as a cavalry school and then the Red Army kept the 35th Guards Motor Rifle Division here until 1992.
Our super spy, Kookie, stands behind iceclezilla, which she had rather blithely walked under just seconds before. Note the Russian graffiti!
Some of the buildings were incredibly atmospheric.
The back entrance of a building that would have been much easier to get into had we walked around to the front.
But no. I managed to walk up the snow covered ex stairs there…. to find….
The STAIRWAY TO DEATH! Which Kookie and Lobster (super spy names only here at WWfH) told me go up, and if there was something interesting up there (read I wasn’t violently slaughtered by the vampire king at the top of the stairs) they would come up. HAH!
Ok. Very important. When exploring abandoned buildings (which I wouldnt do as that would be trespassing!) ALWAYS maintain the two man rule. Don’t go alone. Keep your buddy close. The two man rule is super important- both for SCUBA (which I also do!) and adventures. If it is good enough for the men in uniform, it is good enough for me.
And the building was incredible. Though well spray bombed since the Russkies left.
All of these buildings were concrete. That is another reason we didn’t enter the plattenbau. The Wehrmacht built things to last.
The bones of these barracks are beautiful and in grave danger of being torn down for something nasty and modern.
The Deco features were lovely.
And through these doors was a marvel…
An old theatre.
And very 1930s ceiling.
Rooms with strange, abandoned bits of furniture….
Echoes of the men who served here.
Their dreams of home…
And none of us could figure out what this was. The Stalin mud bath?
The bathrooms… with terrifying squat toilets. These are sink stands.
Layers of peeling paint.
Rooms wallpapered in old newspaper.
I would love to know the story of this soldier from 1984.
It was cold, wonderful and desolate. We even found some uniform bits, but we left them there.
One of the building exits. A few buildings had these pretty, but rather parochial exits.
It was like a town the people had forgotten.
Being reclaimed by the forest.
The Lobster… hitching!
Actually, it wasn’t long after this that we were discovered by the park ranger who works on this base. He told us he wasn’t worried about us being there, but that it was Verboten and we should leave. He then said he wouldn’t call the police, but if people saw us through the fence, they probably would so we should go. He also confirmed that ‘Enemy at the Gates’ was filmed here. Cool!
But we wanted to see the HQ building, which was sadly all bolted shut now. Inside are some original Wehrmacht murals with eagles and swastikas. I had seen pics. But we were denied.
But what I could see through the windows was AMAZING! I could stomp the person who graffitied that wood panelling!
And I wasn’t climbing up to the open story windows. Spiderman, I aint!!!
We had to find a way out, and after some exploring of the fence near the HQ building, we decided to go out a window in the main guard hut. Now… there you see Lobster… a strapping 6’2 from the rough end of the Loch! Look at where that window edge is, relative to his waist. He is VERY fit, and he got out fairly easily. Kookie is 5’2. That required some work, and standing on an old rickety fridge or AC unit. I am a fairly unfit 5’8. But we all got out of that window.
He is laughing, and wondering how he is going to reef us out. One Lobster and no crane.
Truly… had I not started the War Walks project, I would not have been able to attempt the Krampnitz adventure.
That window… that guardhouse. I went through there. GO ME!
Or I didnt. Because if I *had* it would have meant I was on the wrong side of the fence, and I admit to NOTHING! SPY SATELLITES took all these pictures!
Kookie, though, is guilty as sin! 😀
No log… but it was about -4 and very snowy. I did about 5km on the adventure, and another couple later in the day.
There are many more pictures and a lot more to explore. Some talk of a daring 4 am raid in the summer…. We shall see… there are so many abandoned military bases around Berlin.