Vacation Camp "Beds of Decay"

Somewhere near a lake in the German state of Brandenburg a few abandoned overgrown huts can be found. In GDR times, these belonged to the company holiday camp of a large leather factory in Saxony-Anhalt.

Company vacation camps were vacation camps run by companies, institutions, cooperatives and state organizations for recreational stays of several weeks for children and young people. The trade union organized the first politicized children's holiday camps as early as 1946.

In the GDR, companies were required by law to run vacation camps for their 

Abandoned Vacation Camp in Germany

employees' children. The legal basis for this was the "3rd Implementing Regulation for the Law on the Promotion of Youth" of 1951 and the "Regulation on the Use of Company Recreational Facilities" of 1979. The Labor Code stipulated: "The company is obligated to make every effort to ensure that the children of its employees have a restful vacation in company vacation camps or through other forms of children's recreation.

The vacation camps were mainly used during the summer vacations, rarely during the winter vacations. The duration of the vacation was between 14 days and 21 days.

Everything that happened in the company holiday camp had to serve the education of children into a "socialist personality." However, the politicization cannot be compared to the socialist pioneer camps. 

Leisure activities such as hiking, sports, games, cultural activities and much more were well organized within the framework of children's tourism.

Group work as a pedagogical construct was the focus.

The company holiday camps were not luxury hostels, but tent camps, bungalow settlements, a rented inn or other permanent accommodation. This did not diminish the adventurous spirit of exploring the natural landscapes during the vacations - many participants perceived these experiences as a "small children's paradise".


At the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, there were about 5000 company holiday camps in the GDR.

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