Remnant of Nazi Germany Alive in Prora

An old remnant of Nazi Germany and the communist regime that followed is still standing in Prora, although it does not look quite like it once did. Now, some have decided to use the structure to spread more positive messages regarding the Second World War, the state of East Germany afterward, and the need not to repeat these states of history. In this way, a symbol of Nazi Germany can actually become a symbol of hope for the future.

The remnant in question is a large concrete and metal structure, which was once to be used as a holiday camp for Hitler’s forces. The structure can be found a few miles north of the coastal resort location of Binz, which is located on the island of Rügen. Here, in another beach resort called Prora, stands a piece of Nazi Germany that was originally meant to boost the morale of Hitler’s men by allowing them to relax while maintaining their ideology. The camp itself was never completed, as there was little time for rest and relaxation once the war started. Even so, the structure has been left standing.

Once the war was over, East Germans found a much more militaristic use for the site. For forty decades, their National People’s Army used the site as a major base. Now, their regime and that of Nazi Germany is echoed with a much more hopeful message that is spray-pained across one of the more dilapidated walls of the miles-long structure. This message reads, in all capital letters, “NIE WIEDER FASCISMUS.” The translation? “Never again fascism.”

This message is not the only more hopeful symbol that has been planted upon the massive structure. Similar to the manner in which conscientious objectors in the United Kingdom were offered the choice of doing hard labor, those who did not wish to fight in Nazi Germany were required to work in Prora. There were thousands of such men, and a group of those who still survive recently went back to the structure for an unveiling ceremony of two different memorials. This was a key moment for these “shovel soldiers,” as they finally received a level of respect that many of them had been requesting for quite some time, The Irish Times reports.

On the whole, it is not likely surprising to many people that Nazi Germany punished many of those who did not join the ranks during the war. Even so, the stories of these particular laborers are not as widely known as those of the Jews and Allied soldiers who were required to slave away in work camps. Prora is now something of a tourist attraction, and many rooms in the large structure are currently being rented out as apartments. For many, a dilapidated remnant of Nazi Germany is not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking “real estate.” For others, there is a keen level of interest when it comes to purchasing a piece of such an important time in history.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE