Ramble On

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Picnics at Tempelhofer Freiheit

Here's another video Mike E. discovered...

This use of the old airfield is really great to see.

Inside Tempelhof Airport

A hat tip to Mike E. for finding this video...

I have a final post on my recent series coming up Monday.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Part 8: Tempelhofer Freiheit and the Airport's Cultural History

For the last few weeks my posts have used the back drop of a technical paper by Christine Heeb as a way to look at the cultural history of Tempelhof Airport in Berlin.  My intentions were not only to learn more about the place I lived while I was stationed for nearly five years in the 1980’s, but also to come back around to a series of posts I did last year on the airport as a city park to see how this current use acknowledges the history of this nearly 1,000 acre property. 

I’ll include a link to both of the sources for this post at the end – Heeb’s thesis as well as the homepage for Tempelhof Freiheit.  One of the introductory paragraphs about the plan of the park introduces the concept as follows: 

The present form of the open space is a transitional stage and starting-point for what will be an ongoing development process. From this space, once used only for airport operations, publicly developed, multi-use, structured urban parkland will gradually arise.

As a park, Tempehof is organized around six themes, which I’ve sourced below from the Tempelhofer Freiheit page.  For me, there were many new facts in these descriptions; for example I knew about the nearby mosque, and had heard the Imam’s call to prayer many times there while out on runs along the airfield perimeter, but I didn’t know about the Hindu center over at Hasenheide.  I knew that there had been military production at Tempelhof during World War II, but I didn’t know that forced labor was used here.    

·         Stage for the newWith its unique history, its inner-city location, and its impressive architecture, it has the power to inspire the widest variety of emotions and memories.  At the same time, it is a spot that produces new ideas. 
·         Clean future technologiesThe interplay between nature, economy, and urban life at this location is unparalleled.  Tempelhofer Freiheit offers space for information, events, and discussions. As a historical transit hub, it can again become a space for experience and adventure, as well as, in the future, the display of modern transport concepts. 
·         Knowledge and learningThe historical memory of Tempelhof is imprinted above all by the period of the Berlin Airlift. …these acts of memory must go beyond the Allied period, and include the National Socialism era. Tempelhof Airport is also a symbol of totalitarian ideology. Thousands of forced labourers were here used for military arms production, and Berlin's first concentration camp, KZ Columbia, was erected here. The principle of "knowledge and learning" is impossible without recalling both of these aspects.
·         Sports and healthThrough the interplay of sports, leisure, and recreation, Tempelhofer Freiheit can take on a special place in Berlin's health landscape. Tempelhof already offers the freedom associated with vast open space, and with the planned expansion of its sports facilities, it will become a magnet for visitors across the city. 
·         Dialog of religionsMany Christian churches sit in the immediate vicinity of Tempelhofer Freiheit, as does Berlin's largest mosque. In nearby Hasenheide stands the Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple.  Drawing on this experience, Tempelhofer Freiheit will become a centre for interfaith dialogue. Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims aim to create the "Religion at Tempelhof Field" association. 
·         Neighborhood integrationA key element of sustainable social urban development is the inclusion of and participation by citizens. A project with the dimensions of Tempelhofer Freiheit can only be developed carefully and gradually. The closure of the airport and the opening of Tempelhof Park in May 2010 has already had an influence on the dynamics within the surrounding neighborhoods, particularly in northern Neuk├Âlln. 

For now, to wrap up the series briefly, I wanted to use a tabular analysis to cross-reference Heeb’s historic research with these new themes for the city park at Tempelhof.  Using the six major “eras” in the historic development of the land that comprises the airfield, the table assesses whether there was some aspect of the cultural theme that took place during those timeframes.  In a future post, I will come back to this table for reference, setting out a few of my memories about the Cold War era, when I was stationed there.

I am out of time for today’s post, so this is definitely something I’d like to get back to – I need to clean up this image, transferred from MS Word, and perhaps a couple of posts are yet to come from this exploration.  In any case, here are links to the two main points of reference for this material.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Part 7: Air Force Memories at Tempelhof Airport

The Open House events at Tempelhof were very popular.  This photo is supposed to have been taken in 1984 (I do not
know the source of the photo, or I would have credited it) - which means I'm in the crowd here somewhere!

This next-to-last post in the “cultural history” series will be the last one where I draw directly from Christine Heeb’s thesis, and I plan to intersperse some of my own memories to add the context of my experience to her analysis.  I’ve certainly enjoyed my encounter with her thesis about the cultural history of Tempelhof Airport – it served to remind me of history that I used to know quite well, but have forgotten over the years, and there was plenty of new information to learn about. 

If I understand her intention, Heeb’s document sets out to develop an argument for designating Tempelhof as a cultural heritage site.  There is a long history of progressive use of the site that offers a solid justification for this – I’ll see if I can find any additional information about whether or not this is being considered; however, at the moment I am only aware of the airfield’s designation as a “freizeit park” which acknowledges all of the history and culture of the place, and restores it to public use. 

Near the end of her thesis, Heeb mentions the history of Tempelhof when it was under the control of the United States Air Force (USAF) – the situation for most of the post war era, including during the Berlin Airlift – and she mentions the open houses that were held there beginning in 1948.  She writes that the Candy Bomber displayed along Columbia Damm was flown in to the open house in 1973 for the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, and that artifacts from the American space program were displayed in 1974, when 320,000 people attended!

When I was stationed at Tempelhof, the open house was one of the big events we looked forward to every year, but we never had crowds quite that large.  It was the one time of year that we might have a good, close look at USAF aircraft – our situation was such that it was pretty rare to encounter the planes, except to see them taxiing around the airfield from a distance.  It was incredible to see that a C-5, among the world’s largest aircraft, could actually land and take off from those short runways; I also remember seeing a new Pan Am 737 maneuvering around the tight quarter of the airfield, preparing for a flyover during the open house. 

We used the open houses as a way to earn a little money that could be used for morale, welfare, and recreation purposes.  We’d set up little concession stands to sell American food, or American versions of German food.  When I was on “Baker Flight” in 1982 and 1983, we sold hamburgers.  I also helped out with that booth in 1984, but in 1985 I was on “Dawg Flight” and we sold bratwursts. 

We’d raise anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 over the course of the weekends there.  We might use these funds for annual holiday parties, or to help out a colleague who’d had a family emergency, among other things.  But the good times were definitely working in those booths and meeting the Berliners who came to visit, especially those times where the days were sunny and warm.

On Baker Flight, our nickname was The Buzzards.  Over the years, someone had built a 7-foot plywood statue of a buzzard, and we mounted that (very dangerously) on top of our little booth so that it could be seen from all over the airfield.  Then we made little handbills with pictures of the buzzard and hamburgers and sent some folks out into the crowd. 

The little saying that went along with the handbill?  “Buy a buzzard burger or go the fuck home.”  We were absolutely mobbed with all of that, hundreds of Berliners asking for buzzard burgers.  

There was a little confusion – some of the patrons thought they might get a discount or something, but at least they didn’t go home.  We sold tons of burgers, and I remember hearing the sound of burgers hissing on the grill for two or three days afterwards.  At the end of the day on Sunday we were out of burgers, and the Berliners still wanted to buy stuff from us – some of them even offered to buy cups of the “goop” condiment, the equal parts mixture of ketchup, mustard and relish, to take home with them!     

An article about one of the hijacks I saved from the base paper. 
Heeb’s document also reminded me of the spate of Polish hijacks that landed at Tempelhof from 1978 through 1982 or so – a total of 8 according to her research, and then another eight small private planes that flew in from sport clubs in Poland.  I guess I was there for the bulk of them.  Once I was out on a run along the perimeter road and was stopped by the military police, who told me a hijack was coming in to land.  I turned back and watched it land and taxi in from the softball fields. 

Typically they would call in some of the Polish linguists to help with sorting things out after one of these events. There was one Saturday morning in 1984 when one of the small private planes was flown in – an Antonov bi-plane, with a crudely painted red star on the tail fin.  The first thought was that here we had Soviet defectors and the call went out for Russian linguists to translate. 

Here's the An-2 that I mention in this post.
I happened to be around the base and awake that morning, so I went over to see if I could help.  It turned out, as with all the others, these were Poles who’d defected, so they turned me loose shortly afterwards.  That particular day turned into a pretty spectacular one for me – I guess the wake up call to help with the defectors came in at around 7:30 in the morning, and I didn’t get back to my room until around that time the next day.

Ah, youth.  Maybe someday I’ll write that day up in a post.

My next post will wrap up this series.  I hope to bring together my memories, Christine Heeb’s historical and cultural information, and the previous series I did on the development of Tempelhofer Freizeit – the new public park at the old airport into a summary.  That will go up later in the week, so for now, here’s the link to the Heeb thesis I’ve been referring to:

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Part 6: Tempelhof's Growing Air Traffic during the Cold War

Here's an airborne view of Tempelhof Airport - I don't have source information on it.  Visible is the terminal building in
the foreground, the tarmac, the new radar tower, and the two runways in the airfield beyond.
It had been my intention to write this post on a combination of subjects – how Tempelhof Airport continued to function as a major transportation hub during the Cold War, and my fond recollections of my Cold War era time there during the 1980’s.  I’ve been relying on Christine Heeb’s thesis for some of the factual references during this series – you can find a link at the end of this post – and at this point in her document she separates the air transport elements of the airport’s history from the USAF operation.  I believe I’ll follow that model and split this bit into two posts as well.

Heeb writes that after the Berlin Airlift, Tempelhof benefited from two new concrete runways that replaced the old grass air strips.  Further, some passenger traffic had continued in and out of the airport during the Airlift, so that function never stopped – although it was likely very challenging.  Some of the outbound flights carried refugees from the city during the Airlift, in addition to more typical tourism and business travelers.

From one of my visits, a photo of the Platz der Luftbrucke and Tempelhofer
Damm street sign on the west side of the airport.
During my time at Tempelhof, one of the standing assumptions was that the west side of the airport was the civilian side, while we in the Air Force used the east side, practically dividing the place in half.  Early during the Cold War era, while the main terminal building was still damaged, passengers entered over on the civilian side from Tempelhofer Damm. 

Based on the governance of the city and occupied Germany, air traffic into Tempelhof was limited to flag carrying civilian airlines from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  Typically these flights made a stop on their way into Berlin at a West German airport, and then they navigated via the corridors into Berlin.  Despite the extra time and cost of these stops, air traffic at Tempelhof continued to grow, reaching 6 million passengers by 1971, while the design capacity was only 4 million. 

Another limiting factor was the length of Tempelhof’s runways and the constraints on modernizing them for jet aircraft, so Tegel Airport, in the French sector north of Tempelhof, was the answer to the shortfall of air travel capacity in West Berlin.  Construction began in 1969 and the new airport was completed in 1975.  Finally, all civilian air traffic moved there, and civilian flights out of Tempelhof ceased for the time being, until 1981, when “air taxi” services began, typically operated as chartered air service and small regional airlines. 

As a point of interest, I remember the early days of these flights.  Some of my colleagues on the basis – not my fellow linguists and analysts, but the folks who worked in air traffic control – took part time jobs with the small airlines.  I remember being particularly impressed over beers at the NCO club talking with one of the guys who was getting flight hours in with weekly round trips to Hamburg – he planned to be an airline pilot once his enlistment was up, and here he was earning the experience he would need for that.

As the Cold War era began to close, first with reunification in 1990 and then with the handover of the airport back to the Germans in 1993, air traffic continued to grow at Tempelhof.  Heeb writes that it peaked in 1993 (not at the levels seen in the 1970's, however) and then proceeded to decrease on through 2006.  In fact, when Mary and I visited in 2001, we didn’t see any airplanes on the tarmac, although we did see and hear some airships out on the airfield. 

And so concludes a brief post on the air traffic side of things.  I’ll write a second post on the Cold War era that is focused on my experience at Tempelhof – again, I was stationed there from 1981-1986 – and put that up later this week.  In the meantime, here’s the link again to the Heeb thesis I’ve been using for background information on this series of posts:

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Pork Diaries: The New Bacon

A St. Patrick's Day breakfast - with the new bacon.
Two weeks ago, I got a note from David that the pork products we'd sent off to be smoke cured were ready to be picked up.  This year we worked with a new place on US 11 north of Edinburg - Byler's Custom Cutting.  So with the news I gave Chris a call and we arranged to meet up for a drive to the farm to pick up the ham he'd sent off, our hog's jowl, and the bacon.

I decided not to have my ham done this year and instead had cut it into roasts when we were working in the butchering shed.  That's because I'd lost about 2/3 of last year's ham during the power losses - when I went to get a portion of it to cook last summer, it was all freezer burned.

We haven't settled on what we're going to do with the jowl meat - it was cut in half and frozen, so we need to split it up.  I guess I could look up a recipe for preparing it into something good.  At first, I thought we might go ahead and slice it into bacon too  - I've bought packages of this before at Whole Paychecks.

The real treat of the weekend was a big breakfast Mary and I had on Sunday morning, St. Patrick's Day.  In honor of the holiday we decided to have an Irish country breakfast like you might get at Murphy's in Old Town Alexandria - eggs and bacon, and cottage fries.  We'd also picked up a loaf of soda bread from the Main Street Bakery in Luray to go with it, and Mary sauteed some leftover kale in the bacon pan, so we added that too.

Byler's had smoked the bacon to perfection, of course, but the big plus was how the slices had been thickly cut.  As they sputtered and crinkled, they generally held together in nice long ribbons - just great.

And to think that we have about 7 pounds of it to carry us through the rest of the year.  Looking forward to many more breakfasts - and maybe some nice BLTs once the tomatoes start to come in!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Berlin's Tempelhof Airport - A Cultural History, Part 5

An iconic image of one of the "Candy Bombers" approaching Tempelhof
Airport during the Berlin Airlift.

In Europe, World War II came to an end with the capitulation of Germany in May 1945.  The city of Berlin was to be occupied by the allied forces of Great Britain, France, the USA, and the Soviet Union – my own service was part of this occupation, as a matter of fact.  Tempelhof Airport was located in the American sector of Berlin, so even though the Soviets had occupied it at first, by July 1945 it had been turned over to the American forces. 

Most of the new construction had survived the war; there is speculation that it might have been spared by some prospective plan to use it once the war was over. However, there was significant clean up that had to be done, and the runways, which were originally designed as grass, were no longer state of the art.  The American occupants worked with a German labor force to rebuild the airport, and there were special negotiations to provide air access to the city and to the rebuilt airport – these arrangements may be the subject of a future post, since they resulted in the air corridors and a special air traffic control committee.

The business of occupying the city and Germany as a whole was complex, and there were often conflicts between the national interests of the occupying forces.  As these escalated into the Cold War, eventually the Soviet Union made a show of power under the context of the implementation of a new unified German currency and established the blockade of Berlin in June 1948.  All land routes to the city from the west were shut down, and electricity shut off.

Aircraft on the tarmac at Tempelhof during the Airlift.
The blockade lasted until May 1949 – if the intention was to persuade the allies to leave Berlin to the Soviets, it was not successful, in large part because of the Berlin Airlift, the organized response to the blockade.  The airlift, coined “Operation Vittles” by the Americans and “Operation Plainfare” by the British, involved frequent flights to and from the city to provision the citizens and the occupying forces with all they needed to sustain themselves.  In all, there were nearly 280,000 flights to and from the city’s airports, as reported by Heeb in her document – and some of them actually transported “Made in Berlin” goods back for distribution to German and world markets.

Among the reasons for Tempelhof’s central role in the airlift, again referencing Heeb’s thesis, were the airport’s size and excellent connections to the city – both by highways and rail lines, as well as the large apron areas, which were partially covered.  Nevertheless, Tempelhof’s capacity was augmented by a newly built airport, Tegel, in the French occupied sector, and by seaplanes and additional transports in the British sector on the Wannsea and at Gatow airport.  During April 1949, the month before the blockade was lifted, air traffic at Templehof peaked with 1,000 daily takeoffs and landings. 

One of the "veteran aircraft" of the Berlin Airlift, at Tempelhof, 1995.
The logistics challenges of the airlift were a major victory for the Allies in Berlin.  It was certainly a cultural benchmark for me and my Air Force colleagues who lived at the airport – there was rarely a day during my nearly five years there that I wasn’t somehow reminded of this great feat, whether it was because I walked by the Platz der Luftbrucke memorial on my way to the U-bahn, or because I was out on a run near the C-54 Candy Bomber parked near the softball fields to the east of the main buildings. 

Platz der Luftbrucke, the Berlin Airlift memorial, in front of Tempelhof
Airport, approximately 1995.
Heeb closes out her discussion of the airlift with a note about how the event began to transform the German view of the Allied forces from occupiers to protectors, and not only that, but rebuilders.  My experience in Berlin reflected this goodwill, I was almost always treated with respect and friendliness everywhere I went – this may have been because I would typically begin interactions with a German greeting, quickly followed by a move to English as my ineptitude with the language soon became clear.

My next post will cover some of the major events of the ensuing days of the Cold War, including my time there in the 1980’s.  In the meantime, here’s a link again to the Heeb thesis I’ve been using for background information on this series of posts:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tempelhof Airport's Cultural History - Part 4

Here's a vintage photo of Tempelhof (I don't remember where I obtained it, unfortunately).  This is from the post-War era, as the Nazi eagle statue has been removed from the roof and replaced with a radar antenna.  

The new airport was delivered in the mid-1920’s, and air traffic in Berlin and around the world continued to grow.  When Hitler came to power in January 1933 and proposed that Berlin should become Germania, the new capital of Europe – Tempelhof, as the capital city’s airport, would have a large role in the futuresque city, although that National Socialist vision of the future never came to pass.

Heeb’s thesis outlines the development of the architecture of the updated airport, its placement in the city, and some of the new cultural context that the Nazi architects capitalized on during its design.  She notes that Albert Speer played a relatively minor role in the design of Tempelhof, contributing suggestions to the actual architect, which was Ernst Sagebiel.  The plan for the district including the airport shows that what is now Platz der Luftbrucke was originally envisioned as part of a large circle, with the airport located to the southeast.  The openings in the smaller buildings that flank the terminal building were oriented towards the monument a short distance away at the top of the hill in Kruezberg Park. 

A picture of the terminal building I took during a visit in 1995.
Heeb's document also has a photo inside the hangar areas showing the large cantilevered roofs.  She has a structural drawing to accompany the photograph – but as I look at them I am reminded that they were designed to potentially hold bleachers that overlooked the airfield, where public events could someday be held.  The hangars were designed to be boarding areas but the bleachers on top of them were never built.

The airfield went into service between 1938 and 1939; while some portions were never finished, it wasn’t long before the advent of World War II caused all construction to start.  Not long after that, parts of the airfield were used to retrofit civilian aircraft to military use.  Heeb cites a statistic that 1,960 Junkers 87 aircraft were assembled and tested here from 1941 to 1944, employing up to 5,000 workers.  There’s a photo of airplanes being assembled in Hangar 4.

Although air traffic continued to grow in Berlin, by 1940 the main air transport functions for the city were moved away from Tempelhof to Rangsdorf so that the building could be used for these industrial functions.  Tempelhof itself became a military target, with many of the old buildings destroyed by allied bombing, and the building with the surrounding “Germania” complex were never completed as envisioned by the Nazi planners.

From my own perspective, this brief history added some insight for me.  I certainly remember those hangars – many administrative functions were maintained in those old parts of the building when I was stationed at Tempelhof in the 1980’s.  The hangars were also used for women’s dormitories – many of the large rooms there - former offices - housed two women each. 

My friend's book, which can be found
on Amazon.
These days, any mention of the roofs of the hangars calls to mind the novel my friend Dale Lindemann wrote, “Last Flight from Tempelhof,” which I’ve mentioned on the blog before.  His geopolitical thriller is centered on the airport and environs in a near future time, when the airport has been repurposed as an amusement park and the stadium seating finally added to the rooftop there.

Finally, I remember walking through the hangars one day only to see an Antonov 2 biplane down there, with a crudely painted red star on the empennage.  It had been used by a couple of Polish nationals to flee the socialist government, flown in low to avoid radar detection and landed at Tempelhof, where the pilot and passengers sought asylum in the West.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who Rescued Whom

Hanging out on the deck in Alexandria, while I
grilled some pork.

Here she is the morning after coming home with us -
we'd just seen some deer in the yard.

The vineyard collie - at Wisteria for last year's harvest.
This week is our second anniversary of adopting Tess the border collie.  She was about two years old when we got her, and during our two years together she’s been a good companion and a lot of fun.  I thought I might do a little show and tell this morning with some photos of our good times together.

This one's from last weekend in the snow.

After a walk in the park last summer - she'd stuck her
nose in some hitchhiker seeds.
When we started looking to rescue a dog, we worked with three organizations, and we were matched up with a new companion at Atlantic Region Central Border Collie Rescue.  Here are the three we worked with – I definitely recommend any of the three, although check to be sure there isn’t one closer to where you live if you are looking for a new dog just now. 

http://www.arcbcr.org/ - Atlantic Region Central Border Collie Rescue
http://www.brbcr.org/ - Blue Ridge Border Collie Rescue
http://glenhighlandfarm.com/ - an independent border collie rescue organization in New York

After a hike on a rainy day in Shenandoah
National Park.

We’re happy Tess is with us and we’re looking forward to many more years.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Cultural History of Tempelhof Airport - Part 3

Here is a map of the Tempelhof Airport terminal building, circa 1985.  It had
evolved substantially over the years from the early concepts described
in this post.

Today’s post continues with the evolution of Tempelhof Field to the point of its use as an airport.  The city of Berlin was served already by the airport at Johannisthal but it was soon apparent that as air transportation evolved it would be important to integrate a place for it into the urban environment.  Eventually, the predecessor airlines to Lufthansa, the city, the Weimar Republic, and the State of Prussia all came together in the early organization of the airport. 

In 1924, the Berlin Airport Agency was formed jointly by the German government and the city.  In Heeb’s thesis, this is the point where she begins to introduce maps showing the airfield and the proposed building, although by this time they bear little resemblance to the structure that still stands today.  Heeb’s document shows that air passengers ranged from 20,000 to 50,000 annually from 1925 through 1932 – it’s noteworthy that one of the appendixes has a history of air transit at Tempelhof from 1923 through 1973.

These are garden plots on the grounds of the airport in the summer of 2012.
Another interesting point from Heeb is the use of the airfield at the time.  It was comprised of multi-functional spaces that provided zones for organized sports, including a stadium; recreation areas, including gardens between the airfield and railways; a Volkspark with an open air arena; the airport; and other open space.  Highways and roads connecting Neu-Tempelhof, Kruezberg, and Neukolln also began to appear during this time - along with rail transit facilities, notably, today's Paradestrasse station.

Still, the airport was comprised of a bunch of temporary wooden structures, which clearly would not meet the demand of the emerging need for air travel.  Heeb outlines how the first formal construction involved an omni-directional grass field with a diameter of 1,000 meters and a terminal building of 100,000 square meters.  There were taxiways, hangars, and an apron with “Berlin” outlined in large block letters - and a flock of sheep was kept there to help with grounds maintenance. 

This first construction was completed in 1929, right at the time of the financial crisis that lead to the Depression.  The airport had been designed so that expansion would be possible – in fact, by then it was only one seventh the planned finished size. It was clear that it already was falling short of demand, but in the 1930’s it still managed to become the busiest airport in Europe. 

In thinking about the planning that had gone into this phase of Tempelhof’s evolution – TCA I, as Heeb calls it – I have two conclusions.  There were clearly some forward thinking urban planners involved in ensuring the viability of the site and its integration in the city – this was definitely a modern enterprise.  Even while I was stationed at Tempelhof in the early 1980’s the legacy of that planning was still paying off, although most of the air traffic in West Berlin had moved to Tegel at the time.

My second idea about this early development phase is how many of those concepts were still in place on the grounds of TCA despite the intervening development and geopolitical history of the place.  There were still sports fields on the peripheries of the airfield, there were places for garden spots (and some of them were still in use by my Air Force friends), and there was even a flock of sheep that still tended to the grassy field.  My discovery of these areas and uses all dates from the many training runs I did out along the perimeter of the airfield, when I would explore the little side roads and grounds across from the terminal building itself.

Heeb illustrates this section of her thesis with maps and aerial photos of the airfield in development – they are well worth a look.  Now, it had been my plan for this post to continue up to and through the World War II era, but there is enough history in this early development phase to divide the post into two parts.  So we’ll end here for today, and pick up the development of Tempelhof through World War II in the next post.  

In the meantime, here is a link to Christine Heeb’s thesis, which I’ve been referring to during these posts: 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tempelhof Airport’s Cultural History – Part Two

Here's a photo of the airside of Tempelhof Airport, now a park, taken in 2012.
Head Building East, which I mentioned in the previous post, can be seen at
the right, near the radome.

As I begin this second post about the cultural history of Tempelhof Airport, I should make a note of reference to the situation at the airport today.  The grounds of the airport have been designated as a public park.  I summarized the evolution of this park in a series of posts last November (click on the “Berlin-Tempelhof” label below for a link to those and other past posts) – the goals of the park include the desire to establish a new cultural resource that focuses on six objectives:

·                     Stage for the new
·                     Clean future technologies
·                     Knowledge and learning
·                     Sports and health
·                     Dialog of religions
·                     Neighborhood integration

A description of these can be found at the Tempelhof Park website, which is linked at the end of this post.  It will be useful to come back to these six at the end of this series, which is focused on Christine Heeb’s thesis A multifaceted monument – the complex heritage of Tempelhof Central Airport.

I think that many of my fellow USAF veterans who were stationed at the airfield following World War II and on through the Cold War are aware that the history of the Tempelhof district in Berlin dates to the Templars, an order of military knights during the Middle Ages.  Heeb’s document places the grounds of the airport at the northern boundary of the Templar estate, which was founded in 1247.  The purpose of the district was to serve as a “commander’s court,” a sort of administrative and martial function.

That military heritage continued into the era of the Prussian kings and German emperors.  Farms were prevalent in the area, but the kings and emperors would use the open ground for military displays, parades, and other public functions.  Eventually the land was acquired from the farmers, and this public use of the area continued through most of the 1800’s, right up until the dawn of aviation.

Heeb’s thesis includes a fascinating citation of Zeppelin flights at the airport beginning in the late 1880’s, including a photograph of the Graf Zeppelin landing at the airfield in front of 300,000 spectators in 1909.  Also in 1909, Orville Wright made an appearance at Tempelhof, demonstrating the Wright Brothers’ aircraft and piloting skills, this time in front of a crowd of 150,000 people.  The result of the demonstration was the establishment of a firm in Germany to build airplanes, a collaboration between Wright and some industrialists – the firm was called Flugmaschine Wright GmbH, and it started with an order for 20 aircraft.

Despite all of these connections with the nascent aviation industry, Tempelhof was not the first airport in Berlin – that happened at Johannisthal (there is an Wikipedia article, for further reference), which was begun in 1908.  This airfield was used throughout World War I, until Tempelhof’s development as an airfield started in the 1920’s.

And that is where I will pick up this history tomorrow.

A link to the modern day Tempelhof Park can be found here:  http://www.tempelhoferfreiheit.de/en/
Christine Heeb’s thesis can be found here:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tempelhof Airport's Cultural History - Intro

My interest in Tempelhof Airport stems
from my USAF enlistment - I was stationed
there from 1981-1986.

During some random web surfing about Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, I came across a thesis from 2007.  It was written by Christine Heeb at Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus, in pursuit of a Master of Arts in World Heritage Studies.  The paper is titled A multifaceted monument – the complex heritage of Tempelhof Central Airport, and there is a lot of information here to digest.  My plan is to refer to Ms. Heeb’s thesis from time to time as the source of a couple of posts, starting with today.

Here is a post WW II photo of Head Building East, the
eastern end of the main Tempelhof building. My room, from 1984-
1986 was in the center part of the second row of windows
from the top in this view.
Ms. Heeb’s interest is in the cultural heritage of Tempelhof, extending far back in history to the origins of the site’s use.  In 2007, at the time she wrote the thesis, she lived in Neu-Tempelhof, close by the airfield, and she had lived in the vicinity of the field since 1974.  She writes, “…’Tempelhofer Field’, the area where the airport is situated, has a history of its own – related to military use and early aviation – which prepared the ground for the initiation of the first Tempelhof Airport, the predecessor of the current airport complex.”  For the purpose of her paper, she divides the history of the airport into “TCA I” dating from 1923, and “TCA II” as dating from the 1935 design by the National Socialists.

Referring to the layout of Ms. Heeb’s paper, I will draw from five areas – pre-airport times, the first use as an airport (TCA I) and the Third Reich era (TCA II), The Berlin Airlift, The Cold War era (which is when I lived there), and finally, the cultural significance of the airport from her view, as it was entering the last years of its use as an airport.  I’ll post these as they’re ready over the next few weeks, with the title “Tempelhof Airport’s Cultural History” – and of course they will be tagged with the label Berlin –Tempelhof, which will take you to quite a few other posts about the place, if you are interested.

If you’re interested, Christine Heeb’s thesis can be found here:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Cranberry Dubbel @bklynbrewshop

When I first bought the recipe kit, the Bourbon Dubbel from Brooklyn Brew Shop sounded great, and I was really looking forward to enjoying the beer - perhaps on a snow day with a fire crackling away in the living room.

But the winter got away from us and I decided that I'd like to adjust what I thought would be a strongly flavored beer - I decided to substitute cranberries for the oak and bourbon, which inspired from the variation I did last fall with raspberries in the "Framboisine" ale I made at Thanksgiving.  I think the fruit will enhance what is already a flavorful brew in the dubbel, and the Framboisine was well-liked enough that the experimentation should come out okay.

By way of background, the dubbel style refers to a Belgian trappist approach to brewing.  It has evolved somewhat since the monks were responsible for its invention, so that nowadays it is considered to be a fairly strong (between 6 and 8% ABV) brown ale.  It should be a heavy brew with a pronounced fruity and cereal character - and I can vouch for those characteristics in this batch, just from the smell of it as I worked through my bottling chores.

It is conditioning now - I ended up with 100 ounces in all, seven 12oz. and one 16oz. bottles.  That's probably my typical yield these days on the one gallon kits, although I have been able to take away as much as 110 ounces in the past (I give up a little to avoid bottling the sediment from fermentation).  The estimate for ABV on the bourbon-styled brew is 7.0% and this cranberry variation is probably close to that.

I've got another five gallon batch of the honey porter going, and I am looking forward to brewing up five gallon batches of a Belgian ale and a honey kolsch as we get further along into the spring.  I'll need to get back out to my friends Jay and Ryanne out in Luray for some more local honey when it comes time to do that kolsch!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day Trip to @redapronbutcher in DC (Pork Diaries)

With work deadlines upon me, we decided not to head out to the Hawksbill Cabin last weekend.  We did carve out some time for a little urban adventure Saturday, however, and went into town to visit the Red Apron Butcher at Union Market in DC.  Mary and I were introduced to chef Nathan Anda’s work there when we enjoyed a butchering demonstration and charcuterie tasting at a Living Social event last month. 

We had a great visit to the butcher – we chose the Porkstrami and Italian Beef sandwiches.  I saw a couple of folks having the meatball sandwich that looked like a winner too.  And of course, there was the display case with the sausages and other delicacies. 

What I didn’t expect was how much attention was given to the beers on tap at the Red Apron – there were at least 8 to choose from.  I took the Avery IPA, which was tasty – and I saw a number of folks getting something that was poured in a pint style glass.  I didn’t get a chance to ask about it, but they were enjoying it as much as I did mine!

The butcher shop is located in the Union Market – a restored market in DC up in the area of Galludet University.  Traditionally there had been a farmers market in this location, and the building that houses the current establishment dates to 1931.  In 1962, the city banned outdoor sales of meat and other farm products, which killed off the operation – but lately, these kinds of establishments have been making a comeback all over the country. 

Union Market in particular reminded me not only of nearby Eastern Market on Capitol Hill, but also of the Flower Market area in San Francisco, and the “Rynok” Market I visited in 1995 in Kiev.  While we were in the vicinity, we also visited a warehouse store and picked up some supplies I can use for next year’s hog butchering – some knives and a couple of food grade plastic storage trays.  Those are things we always run short of in the heat of the moment.

All in all, a good day trip to DC.  Make a point of getting out to check in at the Red Apron Butcher and Union Market.


Monday, March 4, 2013

The Pork Diaries: A Roast and A Quiche

We've got new pork.  It's time to get cooking.

When Chris and I did the hog this year, one of our decisions was to use a lot of the shoulder meat to make sausage.  As a result, there aren't many shoulder roasts - also called butt roasts - in the freezer.  But I had been wanted to try slow roasting one after marinading it in Goya's Mojo sauce - so I dug around and found a little blade roast to cook.

We let it marinade over night in the sauce, then I let it cook on the grill, offset over charcoal, at between 250 and 300 for a couple of hours.  That's a tasty sauce - I'm going to use it again.

I thought we might use some of the breakfast sausage over the weekend, but we were too busy to cook in the mornings.  So yesterday evening I used it in some quiches.

These are made with the farmhouse breakfast sausage from the butchering episode, so kale that I sauteed in the sausage fat and some beer, a mixture of jack and cheddar cheese, and a teaspoon of dehydrated onions in each.  I follow a Betty Crocker recipe for the quiche and we use frozen pie crusts.

The recipe calls for five eggs each - and guess what?  I had a new dozen from Public House Produce.  I put them to good use - we have quiche for days!