Written By: Karla Cortes
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Waldhaus Buch : Abandoned Sanatorium in Berlin
Just a 30 minute S-Bahn ride from Berlin’s Center sits a beautifully large abandoned hospital called Waldhaus Buch. Modeled on the courtyard of an Italian renaissance palace, the T-shaped hospital was left to decay with many untold stories of Nazis and their victims. Many patients, including children, has fallen victim to the euthanasia program during the Nazi regime at Waldhaus. Local explorers, ghost hunters, mediums, and more have visited the once thriving tuberculosis sanatorium searching for hidden stories and eerie energies. Due to the loss of power in East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Waldhaus Buch was cleared out and left for those like us, who dare to enter its beautiful remains.
Building and Designing
In March of 1899, city councilors of Berlin decided to build the first tuberculosis sanatorium of many in Berlin-Buch under the name of Heimstätte für männliche Brustkranke. Construction began in 1900 under the direction of the architect Ludwig Hoffman, along with the sculptor August Vogel and painter Franz Naager in order to create “the presentation of a simplified facade design and resulting in lower costs” according to the city council. The T-shaped building based on a neo-baroque castle and specifically designed to ensure sunlight and fresh air was then completed and occupied by 1905. Under the independent name of Waldhaus Buch deemed in 1927, the sanatorium wasn’t its own independent hospital until the year 1962 when it included two pulmonary sanitariums, a nursing home, and two psychiatric clinics. Since then, Waldhaus Buch had been up and running until the year 1992.
Nazi Euthanasia Program
Waldhaus Buch treated tuberculosis patients of all types up until the war bled into Germany. Once the Nazi regime settled in 1942, Waldhaus Buch was turned into a Military hospital serving for wounded Nazis. This meant that the 150 beds being occupied by tuberculosis patients needed to be cleared. How did they fix this problem? The institution of the horrifying Nazi euthanasia program was put in place.
Up to 200,000 people who were either mentally or physically ill were killed under Nazi Germany. They were seen as genetically defected/financial burdens who were not worthy of living amongst the Aryan race by the Nazis. In 1939, Philipp Bouhler and Karl Brandt lead a secret killing operation targeting disabled children which also affected Waldhaus Buch child patients. On March 28th and 30th, 1940, the first Waldhaus Buch patients were transported to the “euthanasia centers” of Bernburg und Brandenburg even causing one of the clinics in Waldhaus to close due to a lack of patients.
The second wave of patient killings under Nazi regime was the Aktion Brandt scheme from 1943 which was a program centered around creating beds spaces for alternative hospitals and hospitals in hospitals and nursing homes. This scheme cleared many more Waldhaus Buch patients for wounded Nazis.
Brains at Buch
Up to 698 of the murdered patient’s brains made their way back to Buch on account of Julius Hallervorden, an appointed physician under the hand of Adolf Hitler who conducted brain research. He supported, even witnessed, children being killed under the euthanasia program in order for them to become his “donors” on October 28th, 1940. He had no trouble carrying his research on those children’s’ brains back at the Buch-based Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research (Institut für Hirnforschung).
After the War
Waldhaus Buch then became an orthopedic hospital after the war and was later integrated with other hospitals in 1963. The power within East Germany came to a close after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 which lead to Waldhaus Buch being officially closed in 1992. Since then, the eerie past of the abandoned hospital was left behind to roam the empty halls of victims and their Nazi perpetrators.
A Grave Encounter
The sky turned grey and rain started to fall upon my arrival at the Berlin-Buch station. My friend and I looked at each other when we noticed this with looks of fear and excitement. After walking for about 10-15 minutes, we finally arrived at the abandoned hospital that was poorly gated. There was an opening in one of the side gates, so we crawled and started to walk around the immense building. Intimidating in size, Waldhaus Buch towered over us with steel plates blocking all the accessible windows. After searching for half an hour, we found a small window with a steel plate ripped off in order to access the inside. The only problem was that this opening was to the pitch black basement. My friend immediately got a sense of dread and even mentioned that she felt a bad energy present. After debating on what to do, we decided to turn back and leave this journey for another day.
After a few days, I came back to Waldhaus with another friend and together. My friend took a minute to say a few words in German to whatever energies or spirits lay within the hospital and with that, we crawled into the pitch black opening. This made the atmosphere feel more welcoming, especially since the cold feeling instantly went away once we entered. As shown in the video, the basement was one of the two most terrifying parts in the hospital. It seemed as though each room was used as a surgical unit or a bathroom as the walls were all lined with green tiles. We finally found the stairs that lead to the rest of the building, and with that, we roamed free.
For the most part, Waldhaus Buch treated us well. The main hallways were littered with decay or graffiti, and some of the rooms still had pieces of wallpaper or posters stuck to them. Two of the rooms would suddenly change in temperature when we walked in, which was a clear indication that something, or someone, was present and did not want us there. Every time we felt this, we agreed to keep moving. My friend felt this especially when he got close to the shoe in the middle of the main hall as seen in the video. The second most terrifying part was the attic, where we not only felt a cold temperature, but also felt a sudden feeling of anxiety, nervousness, and fear. This grew as I kept moving deeper into the attic, until my friend told me that we needed to turn around before anything happens. I agreed, and we decided to turn back. An interesting event happened where my friend had set a timer for us to leave after an hour and right before the timer set off, a piece of the ceiling fell onto his face and something rang in his ear as he pulled out his phone to check the time. This was caught in the video. As we were entering the basement, I stumbled across an old newspaper clipping which we most definitely did not see when we came in nor was it in the video. On the train ride home, my friend mentioned that the newspaper clipping was of women who suffered from breast cancer, and that the back listed all of the deceased.
Did you like our review? Comment below.
You may also like our other historical articles.