Should a Nazi Ghost Town Be Saved?

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Should a Nazi Ghost Town Be Saved?

Should a Nazi Ghost Town Be Saved?

Some buildings have a hard time shaking their past, and when it comes to architectural relics from the Third Reich, the past becomes even harder to shake.

Plans to renovate a former vacation home for Nazi party members, known as “The Colossus of Prora,” have sparked much controversy in Germany as to whether buildings tied to Nazi Germany should be left to rot, rather than be turned into opportunities for growth and development.

Located north of Berlin, on the island of Rügen, Prora’s buildings—spanning 4.5km in all—were part of the Kraft durch Freude, Germany’s “Strength Through Joy” program, a large state-operated leisure organization in Nazi Germany that was set up to promote the advantage of National Socialism.

Strength through Joy, or KDF, as it was referred to at the time, became the world’s largest tourism operator in the 1930s.

KDF’s intention was to bridge the class divide by making middle-class leisure activities available to the masses. This was underscored by having cruises with passengers of mixed classes and having them, regardless of social status, draw lots for allocation of cabin. They were also Nazi sympathizers or party members and their families. []

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