Photo © Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
This hospital's history begins with an airfield, with the primary purpose of manufacturing and launching massive Zeppelin airships to drop bombs by hand in World War I. Two enormous hangars were constructed in 1915, along with a gas works to supply the hydrogen, and the Staacken airfield launched Zeppelins from 1916-1918. The roles of the hangars shifted to developing agile fighter aircraft until the end of World War I, where the Treaty of Versailles prevented Germany from manufacturing planes or airships. While the airfield was used for as a civilian airport, one hangar was demolished and the other vast empty hall was used as a movie set for a number of films, including underwater scenes of Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927).
The buildings that exist today were constructed for the airport from 1935 through 1938. On August 10 1938, the first non-stop flight from Berlin to New York took off from the Staacken airport, landing at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn in 24 hours and 56 minutes.
At the end of the second World War, the buildings at Staacken were used by a university until 1959, when the hospital was established to serve the district of Nauen. With the reunification of Germany the land was transferred to Berlin, leaving Nauen to construct a new hospital; Krankenhaus Staacken was then closed in 1998. Only a small area of the hospital was re-purposed for use as a kindergarten, while the rest remains abandoned.