Tag Archives: Tempelhof

Berlin Summer Rave 2013

Neon at Berlin Summer Rave 2013 at Tempelhof Airport

Last night I went to my first Berlin Summer Rave at the disused Tempelhof Airport – a great location despite the distinctly un-summer-y weather.

I went with Summer Rave veterans Steffi, Bine and Olli and after a few short queues in the Berlin rain we could feel the bass even before we entered the building.

After a quick look around we made our way to the Planet Bass Hangar to see Lady Waks followed by Westbam.

Lights at Berlin Summer Rave 2013 at Tempelhof Airport

Dancer at Berlin Summer Rave 2013 at Tempelhof Airport

Taking Photos at Berlin Summer Rave 2013 at Tempelhof Airport

Westbam as GIF (with a hard G)

http://picasion.com/i/1TFBQ/

And if you’re wondering what it all sounded like here’s a little taster of the Lady Waks set.

Lady Waks at Berlin Summer Rave 2013 at Tempelhof Airport

Sunday Documentary: Cold War – Berlin 1948 – 1949

The Berlin Airlift (screenshot from the documentary Cold War - Berlin 1948-1949)

Part 4 of the fascinating and extensive Cold War documentary series by the Cold War International History Project, Berlin 1948 – 1949, deals with the response of the Western Allies to the Soviet Blockade of Berlin – the Berlin Airlift (Die Luftbrücke).

Surrounded as it was by East Germany, West Berlin was dependent on a corridor through the East with a single Autobahn and one railway line for its supplies.  Following a breakdown in the democratic process between the four conquering powers in June 1948, the Soviets exploited this weakness, blocking the road and rail routes in an attempt to force Britain, America and France out of Berlin.

Much to Stalin’s surprise, the Western Allies sustained the population of West Berlin by flying in the necessary supplies of food and coal.

At the height of the operation planes landed every 45 seconds at Tempelhof Airport and in the 11 months of the airlift more than 2.3 million tonnes of goods and fuel were flown in by almost 278,000 flights.

In May 1949, recognising the success of the Berlin Airlift, the Soviet blockade was lifted but of course the Cold War would escalate and continue for many years.

Cold War – Berlin 1948 – 1949

Reasons I Miss Berlin #3 – Currywurst

I Love Currywurst - sign on a Currywurst van at Ostbahnhof in Berlin

As much as I’m enjoying some home-cooked meals and the opportunity to have a great take-away curry back in the UK, I miss my favourite Berlin snack – Currywurst.

Over the last year I’ve been on a quest to find the best Currywurst in Berlin – my ‘Best of the Wurst’.

Here’s a rundown of my 3 favourite Currywurst Imbisse in Berlin.

1 – zur Bratpfanne

Currywurst & Chips (Currywurst mit Pommes) at Zur Bratpfanne in Berlin

The best Currywurst that I’ve had so far in Berlin is from zur Bratpfanne in Steglitz.  I loved it on my first visit and have been back a few times since, even making some special trips.

2 – Curry 66

Currywurst & Chips (Currywurst mit Pommes) at Curry 66 in Berlin

At Curry 66 the sauce is offered in 9 different levels of spiciness from ‘Angenehm’ to ‘Black Death’ – so far the spiciest I have had is 3: Scharf.

3 – Curry 36

Currywurst & Chips (Currywurst mit Pommes) at Curry 36 in Berlin

Curry 36 features in all the Berlin guidebooks and along with Konnopke’s Imbiss is probably the most famous of Berlin’s many Imbisse.  Devotees can now get their Curry 36 fix at Zoologischer Garten Bahnhof, as well as the original Imbiss on Mehringdamm.

Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände

Disused rail tracks at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

An abundance of green space, the proliferation of graffiti and street art and the wealth of old industrial buildings are just some of the reasons why I love Berlin and Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände is the embodiment of all three.

The most prominent feature of the park, visible as you enter, is the 50m tall water tower.

A water tower through trees at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

Water Tower at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

Previously a railway marshalling yard, 18 hectares of land near S-Bahnhof Priesterweg in the Tempelhof area of Berlin has been turned over to nature.

Trees grow between the disused rail tracks and here and there are reminders of the site’s former life.

An old steam train at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

A metal box at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

A train Turning Circle at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

Vehicle at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

Nature has been slowly reclaiming the area since the train yard and depot closed in 1952 and the Nature Park was officially opened in 1999.

Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

A section of the park has been set aside for the legal spraying of graffiti under a set of rules:

Spraying is not allowed except at the walls of the “Tälchenweg” Monday through Saturday after 3pm;

Sundays and public holidays are completely “out”.

Within this: enjoy yourself.

But…

  1. We do not want to see any graffiti on buildings, the water tower, the “yellow wall”, on trees and artwork.
  2. Tags are not permitted on park benches, trees, litter bins or elsewhere.
  3. Please be sure to take all your belongings incl. cans, buckets, bottles and other litter with you; they are harmful to the natural environment.
  4. Please do keep to these simple straightforward rules.  Anyone ignoring them will be reported to the police.

But above all: have fun!

The legal graffiti spraying area in a tunnel at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

A face at the legal graffiti spraying area in a tunnel at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

Graffiti at the legal spraying area in a tunnel at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

The legal graffiti spraying area in a tunnel at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

It’s sad that despite these rules being displayed in both German and English, there are trees, walls and other objects outside the designated area that have been painted.

A tunnel at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

A tunnel and train tracks at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

It isn’t the most obvious of Berlin’s parks – the Tiergarten, Volkspark Friedrichshain and Treptower Park are all far more popular – but Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände is a great place for a relaxing walk.  The remnants of the park’s industrial past poking through the trees and the graffiti area make for an interesting backdrop and it’s well worth a visit, particularly on a sunny day.

Dappled sunlight through cobwebs at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

Autumn colours at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

The sun shines through the trees at Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände in Berlin

To visit Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände follow the signs from the platform at S-Bahnhof Priesterweg on the S2.  Admission is €1.

Robert Montgomery – Echoes of Voices in the High Towers

Echoes of voices in the high towers – a light installation by Robert Montgomery at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

Robert Montgomery’s poems, displayed on billboards, appear in the urban environment and therefore must surely constitute Street Art but they are so different from the most popular forms of the genre that they really stand out.

When I read a blog post on Little Thoughts about a number of his works on display in the grounds of the former Tempelhof Airport I had to check them out.

So last Friday I walked along Columbiadamm from Platz der Luftbrücke and took photos of the billboards.

In this brief half life spring – a billboard installation by Robert Montgomery at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

All our splendid monuments – a billboard installation by Robert Montgomery at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

Echoes of voices in the high towers – a billboard installation by Robert Montgomery at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

When I realised that the poems on the reverse of the baseball scoreboards were written in LEDs I briefly debated waiting at the Tempelhofer Freiheit until nightfall.

I had a beer at the Biergarten nearby and enjoyed some summer sun and decided it was better to go home for a while and return later.

All our splendid monuments – a light installation by Robert Montgomery at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

I think it was well worth making the trip twice.

Presented by Neue Berliner Räume, as well as the installations at Tempelhof, there are 20 other billboards across Berlin and a Robert Montgomery exhibition at Stattbad Wedding from 15 September to 13 October 2012.

Tempelhof Airport

The Tempelhof Airport building in Berlin from the apronA tour of the disused Tempelhof Airport in Berlin offers a fascinating insight into the city’s history, an example of public space being put to good use, if only temporarily, and leaves unanswered questions about the area’s future.

During Berlin Fashion Week I was lucky enough to get the chance to go to the Bread & Butter Summer 2012 event at Tempelhof Airport.  Not only that, I got to write a post about the experience for one of my favourite Berlin blogs, überlin.

As if that wasn’t enough, during the Bread & Butter show it was possible to take a free Historic Tempelhof Airport Tour. An experience I was determined not to miss.

You only have to look at the scale and splendour of the facades of the airport to recognise the hand of Albert SpeerHitler’s architect for his Welthauptstadt Germania designed many colossal buildings according to his Führer’s wishes and a testing stone for some of his plans is described in my Hitler’s Folly – Schwerbelastungskörper post.

It was Speer who insisted on changes to the original designs of Ernst Sagebiel to make the building more monumental but Tempelhof Airport, like so many of Hitler’s plans, was a victim of his lust for war and Speer’s vision was never fully realised.

For instance, the intention was that the full 1.2km span of the airport roof would be terraced (a section can be seen in the photo below) so that the airport itself became part of a spectacular stadium for the air shows that would take place on the airfield below.

The terracing on the roof of Tempelhof Airport in Berlin that was to be part of a huge stadium for spectators to watch air shows

The view along the roof to a radar dome at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

The far reaches of the airfield away from the terminal buildings were also to be banked and the whole stadium would have had capacity for 1,000,000 spectators.

The airfield from the roof of the Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

During the war, parts of the basement in the airport were used as air shelters for those working in the building and some of the local residents.  During the tour you can see the artwork on the walls, common to shelters in Germany at this time.

Petrine und Pauline artwork on the wall of an air raid shelter in the basement of Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

Another example of the changed vision is that when the Americans took control of the airport in 1945 they elected to create runways running East-West across the airfield contrary to the original North-South plans.

The original plans had water running from the cascades at the Kreuzberg Monument all the way to the terminal buildings and the runways continuing past them along the same line.

Evidence of the American’s use of the airport as an Air Force base can be seen in the basketball court at the top of the building.

The logo of the Berlin Braves in the centre of the basketball court at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

Tempelhof’s most valuable contribution to the people of West Germany was the part it played in the Berlin Airlift.

In 1948 the Soviets blockaded the rail and road supply routes to West Berlin and cut off gas and electricity supplies in an attempt to create a stranglehold and force the Allied Forces out of the city.   For 11 months, essential supplies were flown into Berlin by the Allies to sustain the people.  By the time the blockade was lifted more than 2.3 million tonnes of goods and fuel had been flown in by almost 278,000 flights.

Even its present day incarnation, the main hall of the airport housing the check in desks is breathtakingly huge.

The Main Hall and Check In area at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin during Bread & Butter Summer 2012

But when you find out that the ceiling height was lowered and see the vast space above that was originally part of it, you begin to appreciate just how incredible this building once was.

The extra ceiling height taken form the Main Hall at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

There is also evidence in the signage and fixtures of the airport of updates to the interior design in later decades.

A sign for the toilets at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

A Fire Extinguisher sign in the hangar space at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

A clock on the wall of the Main Hall at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin

For now, public use of the terminal buildings is restricted to events like Bread & Butter or music events like the Berlin Festival but the airfield, the Tempelhofer Freiheit, has been open to the public as a park since May 2010.

It is a popular recreational area with the runways used for cycling, rollerblading and kite-surfing and families and groups of friends grilling on the grass.  There is also a section that has been taken over for urban gardening and Berliners are always finding new ways to enjoy themselves here – on 4 August 2012 the Tempelhofer Freiheit will host the Slowlympics, an event organised by Slow Travel Berlin.

The current plans for the airfield include some pockets of new housing with much of the space remaining as a public park but our guide was unsure how these plans might be altered following the recent cancellation of the International Horticultural Exposition of 2017 on the site.

There are also plans to open part of the airport building to the public, housing a café and restaurant/bar and giving access to sections of the roof, affording wonderful views over the airfield and beyond.

I would recommend a tour of Tempelhof Airport to anyone with an interest in Nazi-era architecture or Berlin history but if this isn’t your idea of fun you should at least visit the park – a unique public space in the heart of the city.

Stolpersteine 73 – 86

Stolpersteine 84: In memory of Max Matschke (Friedrichstrasse 34) in Berlin

This was another week when I seemed to see Stolpersteine wherever I went.  I have added photos of all of the Stolpersteine I saw to the gallery here.

I saw memorials to: Johanna Baer (Dudenstrasse 32A); Wilhelm Machold and Julius Friede (Mehringdamm 88).  As I was getting my camera out to take a photo of these two a very nice lady who was entering the building stopped and explained to me (very patiently because of my basic German) that there were another two just down the road.  She also said that the building is not the original building in which these people lived; Abraham Loeser and Gertrude Loeser (Mehringdamm 86); Emma Cohn and Hermann Cohn (Kreuzbergstrasse 2-3); Karl Lehmann and Jette Lehmann Grossbeerenstr 56a); Paulina Frommholz (Kreuzbergstrasse 72); Manfred Joel, Tana Joel and Regina Joel (Corner of Oranienstrasse and Prinzenstrasse).  Something a little strange has happened here because Regina Joel’s name appears on a Stolpersteine in a line of three here and also on a single Stolperstein close to the next three; Manfred Krieger, Sara Krieger and Jakob Krieger (Corner of Oranienstrasse and Prinzenstrasse); Moritz Silberblatt, Anna Bukofzer and Adolf Bukofzer (Oranienstrasse 120); Heinrich Feilchenfeld (Oranienstrasse 119); Rosa Günsberg (Friedrichstrasse 40); Max Matschke (Friedrichstrasse 34); Max Fromm (Friedrichstrasse 30); Julius Laufer (Muskauer Strasse 48)

My first post about Stolpersteine gives more background about these memorials to the victims of National Socialism created by artist Gunter Demnig.

Hitler’s Folly – Schwerbelastungskörper

A giant slab of concrete may not seem like an obvious attraction but it is how and why it came to be here that makes this monolith worth exploring.

This was to be the site of a triumphal arch so big that it is said that the Arc de Triomphe would fit within its opening.

It was in Matt Frei’s documentary, Berlin, for the BBC, which helped fuel my passion for the city ignited on my first visit, that I first learned of the Schwerbelastungskörper (heavy load-bearing body) and Albert Speer.

Speer was the architect commissioned by Hitler and the Nazis to create an awe-inspiring and grand new city on a massive scale.  This was to be Hitler’s Welthauptstadt Germania and the monumental arch on the site of the Schwerbelastungskörper would be its southern gateway.

The city was to be crossed by two grand avenues.  The East-West axis of this cross was to be Strasse des 17 Juni.  The North-South axis would cross it on its way to the Grosse Halle (Great Hall), another extravagantly colossal building.  Though the plans for this boulevard were never realised the Siegessäule was moved from its original position near the Reichstag in preparation.

There were some concerns about the marshy soil of Berlin and whether it would be able to support the weight of the giant structures Hitler wanted to be built here.  The Schwerbelastungskörper was laid so that measurements could be taken to show how much it sank into the ground.

The structure has a diameter of 21m.  It rises 14m above ground and a further 18m is buried below the ground.  This next photo gives a sense of scale.

The ground was to be deemed suitable if the concrete body sank less than 6cm.  It sank 18cm but this wasn’t what put paid to Speer’s vision.  Hitler dismissed the findings but his attention was diverted from his plans at home by his desire for war.  So this concrete cylinder stands as a reminder of what might have been.

Standing atop the viewing platform alongside the stone looking back to the centre of Berlin gives a sense of the scale involved in Speer’s plans.

And a map on display here shows the locations of the key elements of the design.

Lying about inside and under the structure are a few bits of rusting old equipment that I spent as much time photographing as the slab itself.

If anybody knows what this is, please let me know in the comments.

The Schwerbelastungskörper is on the corner of Dudenstrasse and General-Pape-Strasse.  The nearest U-Bahnhof is Platz der Luftbrücke and you can take the Bus 104 from outside the station to the stop at Kolonnenbrücke, though it is only a short walk.

The site is only open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.  Check the website for further details.

The photos in this post were taken over the course of two visits.  The first in August 2010 and the second in May 2012.