Journal Article

A Family Vacation for Workers: The Strength through Joy Resort at Prora

Shelley Baranowski

in German History

Published on behalf of German History Society

Volume 25, issue 4, pages 539-559
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0266-3554
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-089X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266355407082773
A Family Vacation for Workers: The Strength through Joy Resort at Prora

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Despite its promise to deliver vacation packages to German workers, the huge Nazi leisure organization Strength through Joy (Kraft durch Freude, or KdF) fell short of its claim, failing especially to attract working-class families to its tours and sea cruises. To remedy its deficiency and to better support the racial and social policies of the Nazi regime, KdF began constucting a 20,000-bed resort on the Prora inlet of the Baltic Island of Rügen in May 1936. The resort aimed to provide inexpensive seaside vacations for male workers, their wives and children, a modest form of consumption that would open an important bourgeois leisure practice to wage-earners and provide respite for ‘racially valuable’ working-class families. The plans for the resort combined space for fascist mobilization with architectural details and vistas that reflected the Nazi regime's imperialist ambitions. Yet in its variety of leisure activities, the layout of its guestrooms, and the amenities promised to its holidaymakers, the ‘KdF-Seebad Rügen’ also promoted family intimacy in an environment far removed from urban, conflict-ridden, working-class neighbourhoods. The resort would thus advance the socially harmonious Volksgemeinschaft that the regime sought and give a foretaste of the abundance to come once Lebensraum was obtained, while simultaneously demonstrating that holidays in the present and abundance in the future would be limited to the Herrenvolk. Construction ceased when war broke out in 1939. Nevertheless, the Prora project, like KdF itself, illustrated the manner in which the Nazi regime used consumer desires and visions of family intimacy to advance its racism.

Keywords: Strength through Joy; Kraft durch Freude; mass tourism; KdF-Seebad Rügen

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: European History

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