We called this place the Abandoned Hospital in Neukölln, but its official name is Verlassenes Frauen Krankenhaus. The complex of hospitals for children and women was built in parts; the first one was built in 1917, then it was expanded in 1969, and a new building for premature babies was built in 1978.
Everything was going well for the Krankenhaus until 2005, when the complex was shut down and moved up the road to an even bigger complex. Now, this hospital lay abandoned in the middle of Neukölln.
October 2016 Update: We’re in front of the hospital this morning, and a lot of construction work is happening there. If you plan to go there to take pictures, don’t even try. There are too many people there, and everything seems to be being rebuilt.
2020 Update: This place is completely gone now. Buildings were rebuilt and there are people living there. I hope one of them reads this and likes the pictures.
We first found out about this place in the autumn of 2012 when I was walking around Neukölln and saw this weird burnt-down building. It was already dark, or else he would have gotten inside and explored for a while. The exploration part happened for the first time a few weeks later when I was looking for a place to do a photo shoot, and this abandoned hospital in Neukölln came to our heads.
We learned about the end of this place during our last visit in March 2015. We were there with a few friends who wanted to see more abandoned places in Berlin after we took them to Blub Berlin, and this is where we went. The first thing we noticed is that it wasn’t as easy to enter as it was before.
There were no holes in the outdoor fence, but we found a way inside. After getting inside, there was another problem.
Most of the windows and doors seemed to be blocked. Something completely different than the other times we have been there. We knew something was going on, so we looked for a way in and, in a hurry, we entered one of the newest buildings with a goal in mind: the view of Berlin from the last floor of this abandoned hospital in Neukölln.
Everything was different the first time we explored the Abandoned Hospital in Neukölln. There was no fence between the property and the street, and we just walked by without anyone looking at us. We took a few pictures of the place until a homeless guy approached us and told us to not take pictures of the people who were living in this abandoned hospital. Of course we said that we wouldn’t bother them and, in English, asked him how could we enter one of the buildings that looked completely closed down. He gave us tips and pointed the way, and this is how we found our way to the top of the building in 2012.
The Krankenhaus on Mariendorfer Weg was one of the last hospitals built by the last German Monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Back in 1913, the Prussian King thought that Brandenburg needed a midwife school, and four years later, still during the First World War, the hospital was opened on July 1st, 1917.
Under the leadership of Prof. Sigfrid Hammerschlag, the hospital developed and quickly became an important center for births, children, and women in Germany. It was so important that, by 1928, more than 20.000 children were brought into the world. Everything changed when Germany became Nazi Germany, and Dr. Hammerschlag was forced into retirement because he was Jewish.
In November 1933, Professor Benno Ottow took charge of the hospital and promised to reorganize and include the clinic in the National Socialism state structure. Professor Ottow was in charge until 1945 when the war ended. He managed to escape to Sweden, where he lived to be 91 years old when he died in 1975.
Another time we visited the Abandoned Hospital in Neukölln was back when we used to host photography meetups in Berlin. One of the biggest meetings we ever had was at this hospital when we brought more than 30 people to see what this building used to look like. The graffiti on the underground floor was still impressive, and we didn’t see any homeless people on the premises. But, unless you like seeing smashed walls and windows, there is nothing to see inside the newer buildings except on the top floor.
This was early 2013, and we had learned about some companies trying to buy the area to develop some buildings. But, as always, there is something stopping these companies from closing the deal. The problem at the Krakenhaus in Mariendorfer Weg is that the original building is under monument protection and this might mean nobody can just tear it down and build something on top. And from the inside, it is pretty clear that whoever gets to buy this building will have to spend some money cleaning up the mess that is there.
So, back to our last visit to the abandoned hospital in Neukölln. There we were with a few friends, walking around under the suspicion that somebody was always close and that we would get caught. With this idea in our heads, we went all the way up to what we believed was the coolest thing about this place: the view of Berlin.
From up there, there is nothing in the way of you. There are no buildings as high as this one and north of the hospital is where you can find Tempelhof Field. Because of that, this place has one of the best views of Berlin we ever stumbled upon.
There we were, on the top of this building, when we saw that, in one of the hospital entrances, there was a white trailer parked with a guy walking around. Of course, we didn’t have any place to hide up there at the top of the building, and we ended up being caught.
It’s our first time being caught, by the way. He came all the way up there and as escorting us to the exit when we started talking to him about our visits to the place, and he decided to show us the hospital complex and tell us stories about what had happened during the last few years there since it as closed down.
He told us about what will happen to the area in the summer of 2015. The whole area was bought by a company that will start building flats focused on low and medium-income families. We didn’t find any information about this, but we can only hope it is true.
This might be the place to go if you want to see Berlin from Neukölln without all the hipsters on the top of Neukölln Arcaden. Too bad it’ll be over soon so get your cameras there before it is too late. You need to take the U-Bahn to Hermannstraße and follow the map below.
The Abandoned Hospital in Neukölln aka Krankenhaus Mariendorfer Weg
Mariendorfer Weg 28, Neukölln
Be careful where you step; follow the tips we wrote in our Urban Exploration Guide, and you will be right. Try to not get caught since we got lucky and maybe you won’t be.