Hitler's holiday camp: how the sprawling resort of Prora met a truly modern fate

By Owen Hatherley

Having stood for decades as a relic of Nazi hubris, the immense site of the ‘Strength Through Joy' camp at Prora is being redeveloped and will soon serve its original purpose – housing holidaymakers

“You'd have thought there would have been a big hall or something,” declares an disappointed American voice on leaving the Prora Documentation Centre, a museum on the edge of a half-disused, half-renovated holiday camp in north-east Germany. What he was hoping for, in the largest single surviving remnant of the Third Reich, is some hint of the past. But there is little of that here today.

The Third Reich destroyed many cities, but it never built one. It began some – notably the industrial city of Wolfsburg – and it planned many others. But mostly, its ideas about what they called the Volksgeimenschaft (“people's community”) went unrealised. With one exception: the Strength Through Joy (Kraft Durch Freude) resort of Prora, on the Isle of Rügen.

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