Mercy Town - Abandoned Asylum (Poland, October 2019)

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Jul 25, 2017
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49549597527_6f826f3093_b.jpgMercy Town by Tobi_urbex #01

For five days, we have been traveling in Poland to explore all kinds of abandoned places. But it was not industry or forgotten vehicles that captivated us the most. No, it was the beauty of the country’s numerous derelict palaces. It is also known as "The country of castles".

49548866543_9da484ba2e_b.jpgMercy Town by Tobi_urbex #06

It was already late in the evening when we reached this remote area. The sun was about to set while we were still on the hunt for forgotten beauties in Silesia. Hidden behind a former brewery, you will not find this mansion by accident. After a lot of research, we were glad to finally explore the old palace and see it with our own eyes. From what we knew will be inside, we were expecting a fabulous castle, fairly decorated, and with lots of pomp and former glory. We were searching for a magnificent palace but all we got was this derelict ruin. And as we entered the place, we were disappointed at first. But then, it all changed.

49549594332_e8ff57e5e4_b.jpgMercy Town by Tobi_urbex #03

The history of this site dates back to the 13th century. Nobody knows how the castle looked back then, but it is said that it was a stone fortress built to defend an important trade route. After several changes of owner, extensive damages and devastating plundering the castle became a ruin over the course of the centuries. While the rundown structure was turned into a brewery, a manor was constructed right next to it around 1850. It is shaped like an L, has three floors and an attic. Silesia was not Polish back then; it was part of Prussia. Around the year 1900, a German priest purchased the property, renovated the building and transformed it into a school to teach underdeveloped children. But soon after, it was used as a mental hospital, mainly for female patients. The mentally ill got help and could recover in the scenic landscape of rural Silesia far away from the bustle of the cities. But the Nazi’s seizure of power in 1933 changed everything. The so-called race hygiene of the National Socialists was the starting point of a very sad and major crime.

49549363631_ac66155584_b.jpgMercy Town by Tobi_urbex #05

The highlight: A chapel with seats for dozens of people, and totally frozen in time. What a contrast! While the whole mansion was basically completely emptied out, this sacral place remained untouched. This testifies to the strong religious faith of the local population in our opinion. Instead of vandalism, there are only signs of natural decay. It is astonishing to see that after so many years of vacancy, the stained-glass window was still fully intact. When you take a look at all those beautiful and elaborate details you can find in the whole room, you would not think that this place has such a cruel and sinister past. It was the insane Nazi doctrine that claimed the lives of way too many people.

49549594932_88b3668ca4_b.jpgMercy Town by Tobi_urbex #04

In 1936, the Nazis took over the administration of the site. During World War Two, the priest who turned this place into a mental hospital even allowed the German Wehrmacht to set up a sickbay in parts of the building. At first, sterilization of the patients was enforced. There were beds for several hundred people in the 138 rooms of the structure. But more space for wounded soldiers was demanded by the German Reich. So, doctors started “Aktion T4”, the euthanasia program. This means people with physical, mental and psychological disabilities were deported to death camps. Around 2,000 to 3,000 former patients of this facility are reported missing until today. All of them were killed by the Nazi regime – either gassed or with the use of drugs. Then, most of the patients were gone and many soldiers with war injuries and nerve damages came to the sickbay. But frighteningly the killing did not stop at all. It is said that the euthanasia program was continued. Some of the new victims had enforced mass murders themselves before, others were high-ranking SS officers and entrusted with confidential information. It seems like a large-scale disposal. The priest, however, managed to save the remaining patients before the war was over and Nazi Germany defeated. But he is probably not completely free of guilt himself, after all, he allowed the Nazis to use his facility. He was most likely making concessions in order to pursue his religious and missionary work. And it even paid off for him because he became a bishop. But when the Soviets liberated Poland, he was deprived of his status, expelled from the country and only a few months later he passed away.

49549367426_cbafacaced_b.jpgMercy Town #04

After World War Two, the mental hospital was renovated and started to operate again. Until the early 1980s, patients were treated here. Since then, the former palace has been sitting empty and falling apart. And until this date, after almost four decades of vacancy, there is nobody who dares to rescue the old premises. And after all, why should you invest a huge amount of money in a place with such a dark history located in the middle of nowhere? So, this centuries-old castle is doomed to be a ruin.

49548868973_893c5a0437_b.jpgMercy Town #03

If you want to see more of this former castle now, make sure to watch our cinematic video report on YouTube next. In the episode, we are also exploring a second forgotten manor:



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