A Journey Through Vogelsang: Once USSR's Massive East German Nuclear Military Base, And Now A Ghost Town

Tyler Durden's picture

And now for something completely different. Instead of scary tales of horrifying Math 101 (soon to be banned in one of the many upcoming Eurosummits), which confirms that no matter how it is spun, the global reality is ugly and getting worse (and ever more diluted in paper format), courtesy of Spiegel we present a photographic journey through Vogelsang: formerly one of the biggest Soviet military garrisons housing nuclear weapons and numerous nuclear launch pads, home of the 25th tank division protecting the USSR's most prized external asset, located in the forest near Berlin and housing over 15,000 people. It is now a surreal ghost town, and as haunted as any of the "cities" one can find deep in China.

From Spiegel:

Vogelsang is not exactly a boomtown. Located just northwest of Berlin, it has a mere 100 residents and a tiny train station. It is extremely quiet.

 

But in the forest nearby, there is a different Vogelsang. It its day, it was completely autonomous from the nearby village, had its own residential buildings, cinemas, warehouses and even a school. Some 15,000 people once lived there, and it was seldom quiet. The second Vogelsang was the home of Soviet troops, the warehouses were crammed full of tanks, howitzers and all-terrain vehicles. The cinemas were for the soldiers' families.

 

Vogelsang, one of the largest Soviet garrisons outside of the Soviet Union, was the base of the 25th tank division. For almost 40 year, soldiers belonging to the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany lived here -- until they finally withdrew in 1994.

 

Sine then, Vogelsang has been left to the elements, a ghost town in the middle of the Brandenburg forest. And yet, two decades after the last light was switched off, there is still plenty of life at the site. Deer and raccoon roam among the trees as do feral sheep and goats.

 

The barracks too still hint at the life they once contained. While most look the same from the outside, plenty of differences can be seen on the inside. The type of heating within, for example, indicates whether they housed officers or mere foot soldiers. The former tended to have decorative, tiled wood stoves instead of simple potbelly stoves. Window grates in the form of a shining sun likewise provided a bit of ornamentation.

 

The residential buildings, similar to the gigantic halls housing military equipment and vehicles, were painted in standard shades of gray, blue, green, yellow and sometimes even pink. The resulting mixture is a photographer's dream.

 

One part of the facility was sealed off from the rest, surrounded by high walls and barbed wire. It housed the prison, full of tiny cells, some of them with no window. The only furnishing was a wooden bench that stretched from wall to wall, leaving little open space in the cell. It is difficult to believe that people were locked into the rooms, but messages scratched into the walls continue to bear testament to their former prisoners.

What will be the ghost towns of 2034?

Vogelsang, the forgotten city near Berlin, is little more than ruins today. But...
Vogelsang, the forgotten city near Berlin, is little more than ruins today. But from 1952 to 1994, it was one of the biggest Soviet military bases in the world. Here, a decaying sports hall.

 

The Soviets used to hold atomic weapons at Vogelsang -- ready to strike at a...
The Soviets used to hold atomic weapons at Vogelsang -- ready to strike at a moments notice. This crumbling fresco of Russian astronauts serves as a reminder of the former might of the USSR.

 

A derelict kitchen. The site is full of reminders of the life it was once...
A derelict kitchen. The site is full of reminders of the life it was once filled with.

 

The buildings did not only house soliders but their families too. Pictured here...
The buildings did not only house soliders but their families too. Pictured here is an abandoned classroom in the school that was built on the site.

 

Construction at the site began in 1951. This image shows the entrance to the...
Construction at the site began in 1951. This image shows the entrance to the on-site medical care facility.

 

Quitely rusting away: Pictured here are the old coal ovens that used to heat...
Quitely rusting away: Pictured here are the old coal ovens that used to heat the buildings.

 

A wall in one of the dining rooms is still adorned with a traditional Russian...
A wall in one of the dining rooms is still adorned with a traditional Russian scene once intended to remind soldiers of home.

 

The obligatory frieze of Lenin likewise adorns one of the walls on the site.
The obligatory frieze of Lenin likewise adorns one of the walls on the site.

 

Another view into the boiler room. Some 15,000 soldiers and civilians lived on...
Another view into the boiler room. Some 15,000 soldiers and civilians lived on the site.

 

An abandoned pool where the former inhabitants used to soak.
An abandoned pool where the former inhabitants used to soak.

 

A memento of days past: Here a jacket still hangs on a nail in the boiler room.

A memento of days past: Here a jacket still hangs on a nail in the boiler room.

 

An empty mess hall, completely emptied of tables and life.
An empty mess hall, completely emptied of tables and life.

 

Vogelsang also had plenty of facilities to provide for residents'...
Vogelsang also had plenty of facilities to provide for residents' entertainment. This room used to be a theater, even if nothing is left to indicated its former use.

 

This staircase leading to the theater would once have serviced uniformed...
This staircase leading to the theater would once have serviced uniformed officers and their companions on their way to watch a show.

 

The Soviets took a lot of material home, but some things, such as the sinks...The Soviets took a lot of material home, but some things, such as the sinks pictured here, remained.

 

A room that used to serve as an office, now empty, surrounded by forest outside.
A room that used to serve as an office, now empty, surrounded by forest outside.

 

The glass may be broken on this window at Vogelsang but the metal bars remain.

The glass may be broken on this window at Vogelsang but the metal bars remain.

 

An empty wheelbarrow lies abandoned on the grounds. Vogelsang was the base of...

An empty wheelbarrow lies abandoned on the grounds. Vogelsang was the base of the 25th tank division.

There is nothing left to indicate what this room may have been used for during...

There is nothing left to indicate what this room may have been used for during the Soviet era.

 

The inhabitants were afforded different levels of comfort depending on their...

The inhabitants were afforded different levels of comfort depending on their status. While officers warmed themselves at tiled ovens, lower-ranking soliders had to make due with improvised, potbelly stoves such as this one.

 

Nature is slowly reclaiming the site.
Nature is slowly reclaiming the site.

 

A former prison cell. The only thing that remains is the graffiti the unlucky...

A former prison cell. The only thing that remains is the graffiti the unlucky prisoners scrawled on the walls.

 

A chair at the end of the hall by the prison cells.
A chair at the end of the hall by the prison cells.

 

A tree grows inside the building as the forest reclaims what it once owned.
A tree grows inside the building as the forest reclaims what it once owned.

 

Here a shot of an abandoned bath in the afternoon sunlight.
Here a shot of an abandoned bath in the afternoon sunlight.

 

Most of the furnishings have vanished from Vogelsang. Some, however, like this...

Most of the furnishings have vanished from Vogelsang. Some, however, like this stool, remain.

 

A window quietly leans against a decaying wall.
A window quietly leans against a decaying wall.

 

A pail lies rusting in the doorway, where it was abandoned decades ago.
A pail lies rusting in the doorway, where it was abandoned decades ago.

 

Vogelsang Soviet Nuclear Missile Launch Pads - photo 1
Vogelsang Soviet Nuclear Missile Launch Pads - photo 2

 

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wandstrasse's picture

beautiful! err.. sad! er.. terrible.. err.. visionary!

cossack55's picture

Ordensburg Vogelsang is much more picturesque.

Spirit Of Truth's picture

Moscow let go of East Germany and the Soviet Union in the hope of gaining the world:

http://thespiritoftruth.blogspot.com/2009/11/fall-of-berlin-wall-rise-of...

BigJim's picture

In two thousand years' time, archeologists will dig up the remians and decide this must have been one of the fortified capitols of Germania during the 'zombie years' (2008 - 2060 A.D.)

smiler03's picture

But but Jack Sheet said this of Der Spiegel, "ZH should be wary of acting as their mouthpiece."

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/how-germans-feel-about-more-european-bailouts#comment-2596369

GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

beautiful! err.. sad! er.. terrible.. err.. visionary!

 

It's Marxism.

 

jeff montanye's picture

imo it is a more common phenomenon of man and his pride: http://holyjoe.org/poetry/shelley.htm

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Reminds me of the abandoned mining cities in New Mexico after the various commodity crashes in the past. At least the ones in NM produced something useful and never housed weapons of terror.

Benjamin Glutton's picture

reminds me of 2 sites on State road 905 north of Key Largo and just south of the very exclusive Ocean Reef Club.

 

Love the pics but what point comradski ZH contributor?

Freddie's picture

Zombie of Hopium and the Euro mit die EUSSR.

I remember after the wall fell that the Russians did not want to go back because they had it so good in East Germany.  A bit like wanting to stay in a shithole like Chicago versus having to return to Detroit.

Great photos.   I love how nature reclaims this place, Chernobyl and Detroit.  God help Fukashima.

 

Precious's picture

Priceless.  Well done.  

A foreboding of America's future as a people of the government, by the government, for the government.

Gee.  Look.  Nothing left to govern.

GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Yup......what our hospitals are soon going to look like. Forward.....straight off the cliff.

 

James_Cole's picture

How is this sad? Thank God it's in ruins. Look forward to the day Bagram looks like this.

BigJim's picture

Yes, the Taliban must look at these photos and smile.

First the Soviets, then the West...

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

The Soviets and the West caused their own downfall with the Taliban when they refused to leave out of pride. Pointless, economy destroying conflicts.

SheepRevolution's picture

I fear we will read equal stories and watch equal pictures of American cities in 10-20 years from now.

Dick Darlington's picture

As horrible as the modern version, EUSSR. Just replace Lenin with Herman Van Rumpty Hump or the mao-extremist Barroso.

I am Jobe's picture

A glimpse into the USSA. Not too far off the way things are going.

financial apocalyptic contagion's picture

Looks like Detroit with less people

Disenchanted's picture

 

 

 

 

I really like the irony of this one:

 

"And you shall say God did it"

 

http://cache.io9.com/assets/images/8/2011/11/f2374ac9bcf11f5f4a22ef3d2b8...

Yellowhoard's picture

Detroit should aspire to look that good.

TrainWreck1's picture

Indeed.

Ruins, but no trash or graffiti.

Cruel Aid's picture

We've got new motor cities popping up in the south.

There is a correlation in there somewhere.

blunderdog's picture

Nice pics.  If that were in the USA, there'd be residents by now.  Guess the German economy really IS doing pretty well.

Temporalist's picture

This proves housing has bottomed!  Get Jim Cramer and Steve Liesman on the horn!

macfly's picture

Wow, what a great story and fascinating images, stories like this really are the topping on the cake of already excellent journalism that makes 0-H my #1 daily read, even though I don't really comment so much anymore.

WhyDoesItHurtWhen iPee's picture

Glimpse of a post human environment, kind of like the ancient Mayan cities with trees growing out of the temples.

oguz's picture

This is what NY is gonna look like 50 years later. 

q99x2's picture

On a side note: Hillary doesn't have the access to launch nukes does she?

cossack55's picture

Only the SLBMs.  Bill is in charge of erections.

Rogue Trooper's picture

Ohhhh, that IS scary......... good scene from Crimson Tide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeFfny1K8FQ

knukles's picture

Talking about strangeness...

All of the MSM's focus on London's upcoming celebratory media frenzy of sports seem eerily overly focused upon threats, cautionary tales and the organizers' and participant's goober-mental entities efforts to ensure that naught comes to harm.  Even going so far as to, in some reports, be worried about alien invasions.  Meaning green people, not green cards.

Like, cut me a break.
Stoke up the fear based memes
Ensure that if nothing happens, Success in defense of peace and freedom.
If something happens, look ma, it coulda been a gazillion times worse.
And along side it, blast all the conspiracy theorists as being fuck nuts
Enjoin further credibility to the center of politics
Treat us so well as to justify raising taxes further (to keep your asshole free of evil reamings)

Fills all the necessary wants and desires of the unholy alliance between the press and goober-ment.

So how's this tie in here?
This is how it all ends.
Empty, useless, ill planned, unnecessary and downright wrong.

 

Village Idiot's picture

The new ZH compound we've all been dreaming about.  Tyler(s) and Max can start broadcasting RT from the gym. 

ZeroAvatar's picture

Dibbs on the makeshift potbelly stove!

Kimo's picture

abandoned because of the economic collapse of the USSR. 

Should we hope/fear that Ramstein will look the same someday?

Black Forest's picture

Don't worry. Ramstein will be bought by the Chinese People's Liberation Army and completely renovated.

Kimo's picture

Thank you for that... there is order in the world, after all.

cossack55's picture

Only Ramstein Hospital after Oromney care kicks in.

Gavrikon's picture

Actually, there isn't much of a hospital at Ramstein AB, per se.  The main military hospital is located at Landstuhl, several kilometers distant.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

The frieze of Lenin must have inspired all who served here.

duckarooni's picture

All empires come and go, there are no exceptions.

max2205's picture

Could be Detroit ?!