Secret documents uncovered recently in northeast Germany have revealed that Hitler had a string of Butlins style holiday camps planned with the guise of providing ‘affordable holidays for the average worker’.
The documents found last week in the state archive of Greifswald in north-east Germany uncovered plans for several ‘Butlins’ style holiday camps to be built along Germanys Baltic north-east coast.
The Nazis controlled every aspect of society including work, hobbies, science, food and medicine, so having control over people’s holidays was the next step for the domineering party. The entertainment planned for the holiday sites was to be pure propaganda and days would be spent participating in Nazi-approved talks, courses and exercises.
Only one holiday camp was actually completed due to the outbreak of the Second World War, and no-one ever actually got to stay there. Located on the Baltic Island of Ruegen, the Prora resort was finished in 1939, just as early mornings were being taken up with invading Poland as opposed to laying towels on sunbeds. Other resorts planned for Wilhelmshaven, Usedom, Hamburg and Bremen, never came to fruition.
Dr Robert Ley, head of the German Labour Front was tasked with providing the workforce to construct the resorts, and claimed that Prora should cost no more than the equivalent today of £25 million to build, however costs soon soared to a massive £750 million. Despite the argument that this money would be better spent on armaments, funds were somehow found as Hitler appeared determined to become a ‘bigger tour operator than Thomas Cook’.
Planning permission had been granted for the chosen sites, all of which were to be self sufficient with water treatment plants and electricity generating stations on site.
The Nazis had also approved plans to build two cruise liners, one named Wilhelm Gusloff and the other Robert Ley, these were commissioned to take loyal party members on cruises before docking at one of the planned holiday camps.
Today, the ill fated holiday camp at Prora houses a museum and a youth hostel; however, plans are in place to turn several of the derelict blocks into luxury apartments.