THEO DERKSEN

photography & media

PRORA

Seebad Prora / KDF Prora

In the early 1930s the starting signal was given by the then government for the construction of a large complex for the recreation of the German soldiers who were at the front. The special recreation hotel had to accommodate 20,000 recreational workers from the working class, in order to relax and relax. In addition, it could occasionally be used as a hospital.

For the construction of the complex a design competition has been written out and various designs have been proposed, Adolf Hitler already had some preference architects and in the end the design of Clemens Klotz was chosen.

On May 2, 1936, the German Arbeits Front (DAF) began the Kraft durch Freude (Strength through Joy) complex. KDF is a part of the government agency DAF.

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KDF, was a travel agency of the German government that made it possible to book affordable travel to various destinations in Germany for the working class. When a good work was delivered, one was rewarded with a trip. It was possible to book trips to concerts, operas and various day trips at KDF. In a later stage, a cruise ship was built for KDF (willem gustloff).

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The architect Klotz made a plan for a complex for more than 20,000 people, every guest would be treated the same and every room had sea view. The complex would consist of 4 huge buildings of about 500 meters per building. In total there would be 10,000 double rooms. In addition to the facilities, there would be a pier between each building with restaurants, 2 wave pools, theater, cinema and a banquet hall for more than 25,000 visitors.

The 10,000 rooms in the complex were all the same size, the dimensions of a single room was 5 by 2.5 meters. Every room had beds, a seating area and a sink. The showers and toilets were at the wings, here were also the stairs.

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All large German companies were involved in the construction of the immense complex. The goals of the DAF and KDF were simple, the complex would be ready for use in 1940. After the start of the Second World War in 1939, the construction of the complex was shut down. At that time there were 8 blocks, 1 theater and the quay in carcass construction. After the beginning of the war, there was further built by prisoners, these have further reduced several buildings.

The immense complex is 4.5 kilometers long and from the water the roofs of the buildings are clearly visible, from here you get a good idea of ​​how big the complex was and has been. In addition, it is very interesting to view the various aerial photographs of the building, which also give a good impression!

After the war, the Red Army moved into the building and it was used as a barracks. At this time it was tried to demolish the building. However, there was so much explosive needed for this work to eventually be discontinued.

It is very interesting to know that Prora was never used for the purpose for which it was built, alongside the budget for this complex was never announced, there was first talk of 35 million german d-mark, probably around 200 million German d mark cost. The exact costs have never been announced.