Crowds bid fond farewell to airport that saved Berlin





Berliners turned out on Thursday to say their goodbyes to historic Tempelhof Airport, to share a few memories and to protest its closing one last time.

Two vintage airplanes, a DC-3 and a Junkers Ju-52, took off shortly before midnight as the final flights from the airport, which had been the focus of a legal battle that went on for several years.

To those who advocated for its closing, like Berlin's mayor, Klaus Wowereit, Tempelhof was an unprofitable drain on the city's budget. To its supporters it was an architectural masterpiece and a historic monument to freedom.

Tempelhof, although built by the Nazis, is best known as the site of the Berlin airlift of 1948 and 1949, after the Soviets blocked land access to the city. The United States and Britain brought in supplies by air, over 2 million tons of food, fuel and even machinery. It became a symbol of the Allies' commitment to protecting the city and indeed Western Europe.


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