Elisabeth Sanatorium in Stahnsdorf is an abandoned clinic that was built in 1912 and was first used to treat tuberculosis. Later, during the DDR era, it became the only facility to treat skin and lymph node tuberculosis. But this was a long time ago and there is nothing left of these years of glory.
We explored the Elisabeth Sanatorium in Stahnsdorf on a cold Sunday morning back in January 2015. There was still some snow on the ground and everything was gray around this abandoned building between Berlin and Potsdam. Curtains flutter every time a strong wind comes by and you can listen to dogs barking like they are inside the room. The blame for this is the dog training facility in front of this old clinic.
The history of the Elisabeth Sanatorium in Stahnsdorf states back in 1912 when it was built by Walter Freimuth who decided to name the facility after his wife. This sanatorium was one of the many around Berlin that treated patients with tuberculosis, a disease that was pretty nasty back them. When the nazis rose to power in 1933, everything changed for the sanatorium since Walter Freimuth and his wife were jewish. They fled Nazi Germany and the sanatorium kept on treating people.
You always have this weird feeling that there is someone behind you when you are walking the long hallways of the Elisabeth Sanatorium. The doors don’t lock anymore and they move in a way that could scare some people. And since we kept hearing noises from the dogs outside, walking around this abandoned building was a weird experience to have on a early sunday morning.
A dozen doctors and more than 20 nurses used to work in this place after 1967 when it became a skin clinic. More than 90 beds were available in the main building and you can almost picture their places when you go from room to room right now. The Elisabeth Sanatorium survived the Nazis and the Second World War but it didn’t survive the Fall of the Berlin Wall. At least, this is what we believed it happened to this place that was abandoned back in 1994 when the skin clinic moved to Klinikum Ernst von Bergmann in Potsdam.
In 2005, the building received protected status, Denkmalschutz in German, but we all know that this doesn’t mean much. As we researched this place, we read about construction plans but nothing that seemed to be happening soon.
If you want to visit the Elisabeth Sanatorium in Stahnsdorf, the hardest part of the journey is getting there. This abandoned building lies between Potsdam and Berlin in an area that most people never seem to go. Take the S-Bahn to Potsdam Griebnitzsee and you will be close enough to walk there.
All the doors and windows seemed to be open but we saw some people from the dog training center snooping around. Be careful with them and you will be fine. Don’t forget to look up since the ceiling seems to have seen better days.
And the piano that used to be there is no more. But you can see how it used to look like here.