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Photos of the abandoned Olympic Village built for the 1936 games in Nazi Germany will give you chills

The International Olympic Committee granted Germany the right to host in 1931, just as Adolf Hitler was rising to power.

Image: Business Insider

THE 1936 BERLIN Olympics are shrouded in myth and tragedy.

The International Olympic Committee granted the German capital the right to host in 1931, just as Adolf Hitler was rising to power.

By the time the games rolled around, the oppressive Nuremberg laws were in effect, and the Olympic flag hung alongside banners bearing the swastika.

Remains in ruins 

Today, the 1936 Olympic Village, which actually lies in Elstal, Wustermark, on the edge of Berlin, remains, but it is in ruins.

Photographer Sylvain Margaine visited for his book, “Forbidden Places: Exploring our abandoned heritage,” and website With permission, we’ve published a selection of his photos here.

In 1931, Berlin won the right to host the 1936 Summer Games. The city threw all available resources behind an extravagant village, erecting 145 buildings and a 120,000-seat stadium.

in-1931-berlin-won-the-right-to-host-the-1936-summer-games-the-city-threw-all-available-resources-behind-an-extravagant-village-erecting-145-buildings-and-a-120000-seat-stadium Source: Wikimediacommons

As construction of the Olympic Village ramped up, so did the Nazis’ reign. The newly passed Nuremberg Laws marginalised Jews and stripped them of most political rights.

as-construction-of-the-olympic-village-ramped-up-so-did-the-nazis-reign-the-newly-passed-nuremberg-laws-marginalized-jews-and-stripped-them-of-most-political-rights Source: AP

Here we see Hitler, centre, and two aides enter the Olympic Village for an inspection. The gateway inscription reads, “To the Youth of the World.”

here-we-see-hitler-center-and-two-aides-enter-the-olympic-village-for-an-inspection-the-gateway-inscription-reads-to-the-youth-of-the-world Source: AP

Jewish and leftist groups threatened to boycott the Games, but the International Olympic Committee insisted that the Games’ message of unity would tame the Third Reich.

jewish-and-leftist-groups-threatened-to-boycott-the-games-but-the-international-olympic-committee-insisted-that-the-games-message-of-unity-would-tame-the-third-reich Source: AP

Of course, the Games accomplished no such feat. While Hitler’s regime dialed back its persecution of Jews that summer, it went on to commit some of the gravest crimes in human history.

of-course-the-games-accomplished-no-such-feat-while-hitlers-regime-dialed-back-its-persecution-of-jews-that-summer-it-went-on-to-commit-some-of-the-gravest-crimes-in-human-history Source: AP

Today the 1936 Berlin Olympic Village is in ruins. Photographer Sylvain Margaine visited the site for his book, “Forbidden Places: Exploring our abandoned heritage.”

today-the-1936-berlin-olympic-village-is-in-ruins-photographer-sylvain-margaine-visited-the-site-for-his-book-forbidden-places-exploring-our-abandoned-heritage Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places/ Business Insider

The House of Nations, a main dining hall, was the centrepiece of Berlin’s Olympic Village.

the-house-of-nations-a-main-dining-hall-was-the-centerpiece-of-berlins-olympic-village Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places/Businessinsider

The large, horseshoe-shaped building housed 38 dining rooms, designated for different countries participating in the Games.

the-large-horseshoe-shaped-building-housed-38-dining-rooms-designated-for-different-countries-participating-in-the-games Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places/Businessinsider

Records show that in three weeks, participants consumed 100 cows, 91 pigs, over 650 lambs, and 8,000 pounds of coffee — mostly prepared here, in the kitchen.

records-show-that-in-three-weeks-participants-consumed-100-cows-91-pigs-over-650-lambs-and-8000-pounds-of-coffee--mostly-prepared-here-in-the-kitchen Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places/Businessinsider

When athletes weren’t wining and dining, they were training. The gymnasium was once sunlit and airy.

when-athletes-werent-wining-and-dining-they-were-training-the-gymnasium-was-once-sunlit-and-airy Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places

A indoor pool allowed swimmers and divers to practice and relax before competition. It now sits empty and unused.

a-indoor-pool-allowed-swimmers-and-divers-to-practice-and-relax-before-competition-it-now-sits-empty-and-unused Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places/Businessinsider

Conservationists spent a reported £1.7 million restoring the pool house’s roof.

conservationists-spent-a-reported-17-million-restoring-the-pool-houses-roof Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places/Businessinsider

The changing rooms, once painted in electric shades of blue and olive, have since decayed.

the-changing-rooms-once-painted-in-electric-shades-of-blue-and-olive-have-since-decayed Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places

In the amphitheater, a base-relief sculpture by German artist Walter von Ruckteschell depicts German troops marching.

in-the-amphitheater-a-base-relief-sculpture-by-german-artist-walter-von-ruckteschell-depicts-german-troops-marching Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places

This drawing of Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin points to what became of the historic Olympic Village. The facilities later served as a German military academy, then a hospital for troops wounded in World War II …

this-drawing-of-russian-revolutionary-leader-vladimir-ilyich-lenin-points-to-what-became-of-the-historic-olympic-village-the-facilities-later-served-as-a-german-military-academy-then-a-hospital-for-troops-woun Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places

… and eventually, an interrogation and torture centre under Communist rule. For 50 years, Soviet forces occupied the grounds. These barracks remain, rotting away on the village outskirts.

-and-eventually-an-interrogation-and-torture-center-under-communist-rule-for-50-years-soviet-forces-occupied-the-grounds-these-barracks-remain-rotting-away-on-the-village-outskirts Source: Sylvain Margaine/Forbidden-Places

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