What is the SEZ unit

40 years of SEZ - long without waves!

On Saturday it was exactly 40 years ago that SED General Secretary Erich Honecker opened the Sports and Recreation Center (SEZ) at Berlin's Volkspark Friedrichshain. Honecker described the house, which was unique at the time, as a symbol of the much-invoked "unity of economic and social policy". »Neues Deutschland« reported in great detail and with lots of photos.

In fact, the SEZ was a big and cutting-edge thing at the time. In a little more than two years of construction, the complex was built with the participation of soldiers and domestic and foreign companies. There was a wave pool, a three-meter diving tower, a bowling facility, an ice rink, the outdoor area of ​​which roller-skaters used in summer, a sauna, a solarium, restaurants and much more.

The house was designed for 18,000 guests a day. "Neues Deutschland" predicted at the start that the visitors would be Berliners. But in this question, despite all the pride in the SEZ, the attraction was clearly underestimated. Families from all over the GDR traveled for hours by train or car to splash about in the waves and experience something that was only possible here. There were many swimming pools elsewhere in the republic, but nowhere such a fun pool. There are childhood and youth memories attached to it. That is why it pains many that the SEZ has not been open to them in its original form for a long time. The picture shows the state in 1993.

The building complex stretched over 170 meters along Leninallee, over 140 meters along Dimitroffstrasse, today Landsberger Allee and Danziger Strasse. And otherwise a lot has changed. Not only the names of the Russian revolutionary and the Bulgarian communist have disappeared. The paint is off.

Even when operated on the back burner, the annual maintenance cost after the turn of the millennium was 400,000 euros. The idea was therefore to tear down the SEZ and put a new fun pool in its place. The PDS was committed to preserving it. There also seemed to be a good solution for this. In June 2003, the red-red Senate decided to sell the SEZ to Leipzig-based Poseidon GmbH for a symbolic euro. Rainer Löhnitz, the investor, wanted to invest up to 25 million euros in the renovation in the following years. The fun pool was to be rebuilt and reopened by 2008. But first of all, the new owner let the water out. Income from other sub-areas should bring in the means for a revival of the bathing area. But nothing ever came of it. There was no other way of doing it economically, caretaker Henry Trautmann told the RBB. According to the broadcaster, a legal dispute between the Senate and the owner has been dragging on since 2018. It's about whether Löhnitz doesn't have to publish the SEZ because he didn't keep his promises. But a court rejected the return claim. The Senate has appealed the judgment, but the date for the hearing has been postponed indefinitely due to the corona.

Meanwhile, the SEZ leads a shadowy existence. From the outside it is hard to believe that anything is still happening inside - badminton, for example, if Corona allows it. The main entrance is boarded up. The former splendor can only be measured by who was there in the best times of this house.

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