Public Inselbad (Island Baths) (1912-1948)

Trade & Transport & Services

Extension of the Inselbad, photograph 1933 (StA Paderborn , M 4 photo collection, classification group 08.4, Kurwesen and 09.3.3, Schwimmbad Inselbad)

The Inselbad was continued as a public outdoor pool until after the Second World War. In the spring of 1933, the Paderborner Schwimmverein (Paderborn Swimming Club) leased the Inselbad and expanded the pool and the sunbathing lawn. On 18 June 1933, the upgraded pool was officially inaugurated; it opened its doors to the public on 20 May 1933.[1] In 1945, the entrance hall and the changing rooms were destroyed. The repairs were again carried out by the Paderborn Swimming Club.[2] After 1945, the Inselbad was the only one of Paderborn’s original four open-air swimming pools to offer refreshment to the population until at least 1948. Because of the small pool, however, the water quickly became stale and of poor quality.

The restaurant, which operated from 1912 to 1925, remained largely unused until the end of the Second World War, before the building fell victim to bombs. The wood from the bath cabins was used as combustible material by the suffering population of Paderborn.[3] The main building was used in very different ways in the following decades. The „Kreishaushaltungsschule“ (domestic science school), which opened on 2 October 1912, had to make way for a reserve hospital at the start of the war on 1 August 1914. This was continued until July 1918, before it was converted into a war sanatorium and training centre for war-disabled persons. On 20 July 1915, a report on the establishment of the Inselbad as an orthopaedic sanatorium attested to its suitability. Light and ventilation were very good, a central hot-water low-pressure heating system and electric light provided adequate comfort. There was a connection to the municipal water supply system, as well as a sufficient number of lavatories and flush toilets with cisterns. The removal of faeces to the nearby farm was functioning. A large garden offered recreation, the hall for gymnastic exercises was sufficient. The main building had bathrooms with a tub and shower as well as a portable bathtub. The bathhouse also met modern requirements with its facilities for electric light, hot air and steam baths, the room for manual skills lessons; the building was in a satisfactory condition, even if the floor, wallpaper and lighting in the corridors needed renovation. On 9 November 1915, the „Regierungspräsidium“ (Regional Council) announced that it had no objections to the establishment of an orthopaedic sanatorium.[4] It retained this facility until 1923. From 1923 to July 1932, the state secretariat of the „Volksverein für das katholische Deutschland“ (People’s Association for Catholic Germany) was housed here. Under the direction of Anton Heinen, an educational home was to be established here in the unoccupied part of the German Reich as an interim solution. On 31 March 1932, the Volksverein gave up the house for cost reasons, and the Technical Emergency Service and the Voluntary Labour Service moved in.


Extension of the Inselbad, photograph 1933
Extension of the Inselbad, photograph 1933 (StA Paderborn , M 4 photo collection, classification group 08.4, Kurwesen and 09.3.3, Schwimmbad Inselbad)

[1] Letter by „I. Paderborner Schwimmverein“ to the mayor of the town Paderborn, 18 May 1934 (StA Paderborn, A 4397).

[2] „Westfälische Zeitung“ of 6 June 1947, p. 3. Report on the condition of the Paderborn bathing facilities, 14 May 1945: (StA Paderborn S 1/10/27).

[3] „Westfälische Zeitung“ of 14 October 1948, p. 4.

[4] LA Detmold, D 102, No. 35.

Learn more about the history of the "Ottilienquelle"

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This is an excerpt from an essay by the historian Jana Völkel and the historian Prof. Dr. Peter Fäßler. The original title of the essay is: „Die Ottilienquelle, das Inselbad und die 'Curanstalt Inselbad bei Paderborn'. Eine Dokumentation“. Should you have further interest in the economic history of the Pader, we recommend downloading the complete essay (PDF file).

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