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Berlin Tempelhof Airport: 1923-2008

02/20/2013 at 11:01 am

Opened as a simple dirt runway in 1923, Berlin Tempelhof Airport was revamped by the Nazis, used as a lifeline to democratic West Berlin, and now sits unused since 2008. The few runways of Tempelhof airport have meanwhile been turned into a public park, but this dramatic building hides its own set of underground, sometimes disturbing bomb shelters.

Designed by Albert Speer, infamous Nazi Architect, its massive form marks the ambitions of its fuhrer. However, after the war, it was given new life when it became the main link of Western nations to West Berlin, a figurative island in Communist East Germany. Contrasting the brutal Nazi and Communist regimes, Tempelhof was central to the Berlin Airlift, delivering much needed cargo to the stranded democratic West Berlin.

Tempelhof is also the home to the “Candy Bomber“, an American cargo pilot, who with the help of his colleagues dropped 23 tons worth of chocolate, chewing gum, and candy over East Berlin, intended for the children of the German Democratic Republic.

While the history of Berlin Tempelhof Airport (the whole area of which is now termed Tempelhofer Freiheit) is clear, the future is a constant question mark for a city and country in the midst of a boom. This video offers a look at the inside of the huge terminal building, which is open to the public only at special events such as fairs, or through guided tours.

Get in touch with the author @rich_yu.

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