BERLIN TEMPELHOF | LAST CALL
Allied “Raisin Bombers,” Berlin Airlift, film set. Feeling of faraway places amidst the heart of the capital city: Berlin- Tempelhof which was closed down on October 31st, 2008 has attained mythic status. As one of the biggest buildings in the world, it is a monumental place of collective remembrance that oscillates between modernity and progress, war and destruction, hope and freedom. Tempelhof is laden with memories, dreams, and plans for the future. Tempelhof Airport was designed in 1935 by Ernst Sagebiel by order of the Third Reich Ministry of Aviation and was opened by the National Socialists in 1939.
Tempelhof airport’s lengthy swan song has been drawn out in the German media for months and Berliners are still mourning Mayor Klaus Wowereit’s controversial decision to close it. Parts of the building date back to 1923 and it is most famous for housing one the most classic examples of Nazi architecture and for providing the Allies a landing strip for their Raison Bombers during the airlift of supplies into West Berlin from 1948-49.
Photographs of the building and the famous passengers that have jetted in and out of it have become as iconic as the airport itself – the Rolling Stones landed their private jet here in 1965 and John F. Kennedy flew here in 1963 to tell the world, “Ich bin ein Berliner.”
C/O Berlin was paying its respects to the treasured building by hosting a month-long exhibition in their foyer of the last photographs taken of Tempelhof as a functioning airport. Cathrin Schulz’s images of the airport in its final days – a bare waiting lounge, an empty runway and the final flight (“last call”) form a shrine to the historic airport. The black and white photographs are faintly tinged with colour that lend the grey facades and lengths of lonely runway a delicate fragility.