London: Adolf Hitler wanted the Nazis to become the world’s largest tour operator with holiday camps based on the British chain Butlins, according to secret files.
The long-lost plans for a chain of ''super-resorts'' accommodating 20,000 holidaying Nazis at a time were found in the state archive of Greifswald in northeast Germany, reports the Daily Mail.
But the German dictator’s bid to be ‘bigger than Thomas Cook’ was sidelined by his war plans.
One of the papers revealed how the Nazis envisioned ''British holiday camps designed to provide affordable holidays for the average worker''.
The bundle of 62 pages, which was found last week, outlined plans from Robert Ley, the Nazi head of the German Labour Front, for the sprawling Prora resort.
The concrete complex on the Baltic island of Ruegen was the only holiday camp actually built under the project and stands to this day.
But the 2.5 miles of empty sea-facing flats never had a single holidaymaker stay in them as the war came along just weeks before the first tourists were due to arrive.
‘Seaside Resorts for the Common Man’ was the name of the scheme, which was organised by the Nazi leisure organisation ‘Strength Through Joy’.
The Greifswald documents show detailed plans for formations of labour battalions in their tens of thousands to build the hotels along Germany’s Baltic and North Sea coastlines.
The plans were far advanced and building permits were found in the archives, which granted permission for their construction just months before the Second World War broke out in September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland.
They detail how Hitler ordered the holiday communities to be virtually self-sufficient, with electricity generating stations and water treatment plants on site.
A total of five were planned for the Nazis to take loyal factory workers on holidays where the entertainment was pure propaganda and daylight hours were to be taken up with Nazi-approved exercises, courses and talks.
The total concept was for 110,000 Nazi workers and party bigwigs to be on vacation at the resorts at any one time.
But the pages of documents show that the Nazis suffered from cost overruns just the same as today’s big-project planners.
Only Prora was built and the other resorts planned for near Hamburg, Wilhelmshaven, Bremen and Usedom were never completed.
First Published: Thursday, April 28, 2011, 15:27