Scottish band Frightened Rabbit’s latest music video takes us on a tour of Beelitz-Heilstätten, an abandoned military hospital just outside Berlin.
Directed by Dan Massie of Electric Light Studios, ‘Woke Up Hurting’ is a rare chance to see inside the complex, most of which is closed off to the public.
‘The concept of Frightened Rabbit’s album Painting of a Panic Attack is about finding beauty in tragedy and the album art aesthetic is very eastern bloc so we searched high and low for the right location – Beelitz ticked all the boxes,’ says Massie.
‘The song itself is called “Woke Up Hurting” so it worked on that level too as many folks and people would have literally woken up hurting when it was a hospital.’
Beelitz has lived through some of the most significant moments in world history over the past century. Designed by architect Heino Schmieden, the complex started life in 1902 as a sanatorium to treat tuberculosis.
It grew to encompass 60 buildings as the site became its own little village, with a bakery, post office, restaurant and even its own power station. When the First World War came along, the sanatorium became a military hospital, where a young Hitler stayed because of injuries he sustained in the Battle of the Somme.
At the end of World War II, Beelitz fell into the hands of Soviet forces and was the largest Soviet military hospital outside the USSR for almost 50 years. That would come to an end soon after the fall of the Berlin wall.
The building has been abandoned since 2000 but has become a popular film location – appearing in The Pianist and Valkyrie – as well as a destination for urban explorers.