Ramble On

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:

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