The military training ground of Elstal was developed in 1933 as the first permanent Olympic Village in readiness for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The project employed a prestigious team of architects including Werner March – the architect of the Olympic Stadium. The Nazis' intention was to mirror an idyllic and picturesque German village.
Offering training facilities for all the Olympic sports, Hitler welcomed athletes from across the world. The preparation of appropriate international cuisines, state-of-the-art heating and hot water production, the first live television
broadcast and the celebration of Aryan athletes engineered this opportunity for Nazi propaganda. Ironically Jesse Owen described the village as 'This Heaven on Earth'.
After the Second World War, the Russians used this site as army accommodation and for Eastern intelligence. The Village now stands derelict with developers keen to used this land.
'Having had a Jewish father from Berlin, I feel a particular connection with this city and its history and so, on hearing of the Olympisches Dorf, I felt drawn to visit and respond to this forgotten environment'.
Schmidt's images bring a painterly aesthetic to these abandoned spaces, whilst maintaining references to the history, politics and ironies of the village.