Tempelhof Airport

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The Tempelhof airport is located in central Berlin, between districts of Kreuzberg, Tempelhof and Neukölln.

The name Tempelhof stemms from the fact that the grounds on which the airport and the nearby district are located once belonged to the Knights Templar.

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Since 2008 it no longer serves as an active airport, it was closed as ist business was supposed to move to the new Berlin Brandenburg airport – a project still under construction as of 2018.

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Inside of the airport. Source: creative commons

The airport was originally built in 1927, although it took ist current form and size in the 1930’s during a geat renovation undertaken by the nazis.

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During the war all civilian flight on the airport was halted and it became a military base. Although it didn’t suffer much damage during the war, it was almost destroyed by the orders of the end-of-the-war derranged Hitler, who shortly before his death ordered many importand buildings in Germany to be blown up, the Tempelhof airport amongst them.

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Rudolf Böttger, airport’s commander, refused to carry out the order and chose to take his life instead.

Although the airport was taken by the Soviet forces, the area was fell under the US jurisdiction and became a part of West Berlin. Alongside civilain use, Tempelhof became a military base for the US airforce.

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The airport became of crucial importance for the post war rebuilding effort of independent Berlin in 1948. On June 20th that year the soviet govermnent blocked all land and water transport routes leading to West Berlin, leaving the city starving.

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In ordert o help Berliners survive, the allied forces organised large air transports to the airport bringing food and needed medicine to the damaged city. Berlin Blocade lasted until may 1949, when Soviets, discouraged by the success of the allied administration’s Airlift programme, decided to reopen the land transit.

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Berliners watch a Douglas C-54 Skymaster land at Tempelhof Airport, 1948Source: USAF – United States Air Force Historical Research Agency via Cees Steijger (1991)

During the hayday of Berlin Airlift, aounr 1,500 cargo plances landed on the Tempelhof airport daily (more than one per minute!!) and brought around 4,500 tonnes of cargo.

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From the time of ist closing up until 2016 the airport was used as space for artists and exhibitions. Nowadays it houses refugees from Middle East and Africa.

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