Tempelhof Field had been used since the 19th century to test aviation machines and undertake spectacular flight attempts. The first airport opened on the grounds in 1923, connecting Berlin with many cities in Europe. During the National Socialist era, Tempelhof Field became a stage for propaganda events. The SS ran one of the first concentration camps on the edge of the grounds. In 1936, construction began on a new airport building, one of the largest in the world. During World War II, fighter aircraft were produced and repaired on the airport grounds. Women and men from all over Europe performed forced labor here. During the Cold War, Tempelhof Airport served as a U.S. air force base. At the same time, it was West Berlin’s “gate to the free world.” Today, the former airport grounds in central Berlin are a popular recreational area, attracting visitors from all over the world.
This exhibition examines the vibrant history of Tempelhof Airport. It places a special focus on the National Socialist era, but also addresses the early history of the airport grounds and their development up to the present.
The exhibition was created by the Topography of Terror Foundation as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.