Activity here began during the Prussian Empire. A military laboratory and testing site was constructed here as part of the Kummersdorf Complex. In the early days, before the construction of facilities at Peenemunde, Wernher von Braun began work on his rockets near here.
The site was taken over by the Soviet Army in May, 1945 and left mostly abandoned for over five years. At that point, the Soviets began looking for a place to build an airbase ideal for heavy transports. From 1958 - 1960, the basic layout of the facility was done with the use of inmates from a nearby prison. During the 1960's, construction continued as Soviet soldiers built the command bunkers. Finally, from 1972 - 1974, civilian contractors built hangers, dispersed shelters and installed improved electrical service. The runway was extended to 8,200 feet.
The base was returned to the newly reunified Federal Republic of Germany in 1994. In 2009, the federal government handed it to the state of Brandenburg. The location was briefly considered for use as a public airport, but its relatively remote location was seen as a negative, and nothing became of it.
This place is HUGE! We spent a great deal of time here and didn't come close to seeing everything! I almost believe we would have needed another two days on this location alone. And bicycles... those would have been useful too.
As you look through the photos below, you will likely note how few interior shots there are. That is because these buildings are treacherous! They are, for the most part, in horrible condition with the floors threatening to drop out beneath you at any moment. I've had a lot of experience with sketchy floors, but even I didn't feel comfortable with these.
We spent a great deal of exploration time here just walking. There are so many buildings, and so much to see. I would definitely go back.