Italian Dining Room, House of Nations, 1936 Olympic Village

The Italian dining room, one of the largest in Berlin’s Olympic Village, catered to the 240 men on the Italian team.

Italian Dining Room, House of Nations, 1936 Olympic Village, Berlin 2010

© Leslie Hossack

The 1936 Olympic Village is located about 14km west of the Olympic Stadium, in the German countryside. This is where all the male athletes were housed, while the 328 female competitors were accommodated in Friesen House adjacent to the main stadium. In all, approximately 4,000 athletes from 49 nations took part in the Summer Games.

The village was laid out in the shape of a map of Germany with the House of Nations, or main dining hall, centrally located. This large, circular three-story building contained 38 separate dining rooms. The Italian dining room shown here is one of the two large halls located on the ground floor, and it catered to the 240 men on the Italian team.

The Olympic Village, constructed by the German Army under the direction of Captain Wolfgang Fuerstner, received high praise. However, Captain Fuerstner was demoted because of his Jewish ancestry, and tragically, two days after the Games, he went to his barracks and shot himself.

Following the 1936 Olympics, the village became home to a German infantry school, and the House of Nations was turned into a hospital. After WW II, the Soviet army took over the site and used it until 1992. Following their withdrawal, the village was abandoned. More recently, it has been protected by a preservation order, and DKB (The German Credit Bank) is now overseeing the historic restoration and sustainable development of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Village.

Architect, House of Nations: Georg Steinmetz                  Date: 1934-1936

Architect, Olympic Village: Werner March                        Date: 1934-1936