Wednesday, 25. April 1945

25/04/2015

First the entry my mother made in her diary for that day.  Events were definitely heating up:

“Day 5 Wednesday 25. April 1945

Early in the morning out off bed at once.  There will be an extra ration of Schnaps: 1/2 a bottle of Korn ( Vodka) plus 1 kg of sugar per head. The bombardment is becoming shorter and louder. A sign that the enemy is coming closer. Everyone is getting more restless.

Around lunchtime a piece of shrapnel went into the apothecary ( at Manfred-von-Richthofen Strasse) and killed the pharmacist outright ( we lived near the airport and many streets around there had names of famous WW I pilots. berlioz). We knew him quite well.

From our building, two bodies were taking away. They were Herr Wagner our greengrocer and a child. The relatives have to dig their graves – very creepy indeed. In Katzbach Strasse lay 5 dead soldiers, they have been hit by shrapnel  We now have to go more often into the shelter to seek cover.

In the afternoon, a grenade slammed into the fourth story, Nr. 28. The whole courtyard is covered in a cloud of dust. From now on hit after hit all around us and we have to seek cover in the air-raid-shelter.

In the evening, Russian bombers attacked our district (Kreuzberg) for 2 hours. Our building suffered extensive damage from the percussion of the explosions. The entry door to the flat, the kitchen door and the French doors to the balcony were almost torn from their hinges.

One is becoming depressed and weary. Everyone is crouched on his or her chair with morbid thoughts. They are all very much afraid. Sleep is out of the question, only at about 3 o’clock in the morning dare we sleeping  in our beds.

At 5 o’clock heavy artillery fire awakens us.”

We might get more and more  restless, but when it comes to sugar, even I can be spared and sent on an errand. “Go and get the sugar”, said my Mum and I did not question her. The front line could be in the next street. The day before the front  was only 2 km away. But for sugar there is no tomorrow. I could not go to a local shop but had to walk about 1.5 km  over a very long railway bridge. My Mum had no idea about the strategic value of such a bridge – and neither had I.

Spring in 1945 was especially beautiful as if nature wanted to compensate for the foolishness of men. Maybe nature wanted to tell us, “STOP all this nonsense and enjoy ME”. The weather was mild and flowers and blossoms everywhere. I had to walk through the Victoria Park, named in honour of Vicky ( daughter of Queen Victoria)  our former Empress). I was not in a hurry and looked around in the park, as I liked the trees and all stuff green.

Coming out of the park and back into the street  I noticed it was very quiet and hardly any person in the street. Everyone was probably queuing somewhere or sitting in their shelter reciting “Our Father…..”.

Monumenten Brücke today. Cars even park on the bridge. Then I could no people nor cars

“Monumenten Brücke” today. Cars even park on the bridge. Then I could see no people nor cars (google street view)

After about 250 m I approached the bridge. The bridge is very long, as underneath is a very wide railway corridor with many tracks leading south, from two railway stations, out of the city. I was always proud of the bridges across the railway as my father had told me, his father, my Grandfather, had built them all. My Dad liked to exaggerate in those things. He meant Grandad took part in building them. Perhaps Dad was showing his pride.

So, I walked over the bridge, no soul was to be seen. I know now that in those times all bridges were wired for demolition in case the enemy wanted to use them. But then, I was oblivious of that fact. When I reached the middle I looked to the north were the Anhalter Bahnhof was. I heard machine gun fire and saw puffs of smoke where artillery shells hit buildings, all the while grenades whistling over my head as they headed for the inner city. So, that was where the enemy was and the battle raged.

This was my view from the bridge, albeit not that close. The city centre was pulverised.

This was my view from the bridge, albeit not that close. The city centre was being pulverised.

Coming off the bridge I had maybe another 100 – 150 m to walk. I arrived at the grocery store without any trouble. Not many people were in there and no queue outside. Soon the lady behind the counter asked me my wishes….. Then it happened! A whistling sound and a mighty explosion followed, the whole apartment building was shaking in its foundations. We thought the whole building was going to collapse. Everything was instantly covered by a big white cloud of dust. The woman behind the counter came out and grabbed me and we rushed into the air raid shelter in case more shells would hit the building.

But that was it. The dust settled, the people quietened down  and we left the shelter. There was debris everywhere, everything inside the building and outside on the street was covered in dust and debris. We went back into the shop and the kind lady handed me the sugar with the words,’ Here, you earned it!’

I left the shop and went on my way home. Once again, I went over the bridge. But this time I noticed, high in the sky, a Russian fighter plane. It just circled around in the blue sky. He had no worries as the German Luftwaffe did not exist anymore.

But he had the order to keep an eye on the bridge, in case one of those fanatical Hitler Youth attempted to blow it up. That was his mission and by jolly, I fitted the bill and he was coming down on me.

The plane dipped down and I could hear the howling sound as it headed towards me. I started to run as I did not have the other option, to fight. I was running towards the end of the bridge where there were buildings providing cover.

I think, I was lucky that the plane came from a very great height as he must have been watching  a second bridge a further 500 m west – made famous later in Wim Wender’s film “Wings of Desire” – plus he did not want to be in the firing line of the artillery shells that were hurdling for the city centre.

I ran and I ran, clutching my sugar. Coming towards the end of the bridge I spotted a woman heading for the same thoroughfare to a warehouse. All the time  that whining noise was  increasing as the plane came closer and closer. The woman and I just reached the building at the last moment, with its thoroughfare for shelter.  The pilot started to fire his machine gun and the bullets hit the cobblestones. The plane was right in the middle of the street, between the houses at the height of the third story. He pulled his plane up  just in time or he would have crashed into the pavement himself.

I sheltered in this doorway as the plane dived  towards the street.

I sheltered in this doorway as the plane dived towards the street.

When the dive-bomber was gone we continued on our own,  separate  ways.  I don’t think anything was said by both of us. I was soon home and handed  over the sugar. I told my story but no one made a fuss and soon it was forgotten – it was just one of those things. But it is still remembered seventy years later.

My mother mentioned the death of our  pharmacist. I think it was the same day my Great-aunt Mietze came home (I have no idea why she was out and about) and reported that she saw people cutting up a dead horse in front of the pharmacy.

Two elderly people cutting up the horse. In the background one can spot the main entrance to the airport

Two elderly people cutting up the horse. In the background one can spot the main entrance to the airport.  In the right upper corner one can see our  local cinema, “Korso”

This photo is taken from the same spot as the dead horse

This photo is taken from the same spot as the dead horse not necessarily on the same day, because the Russians seem to have arrived.

We had the feeling it could not take much  longer before the soldiers of the Red Army would arrive.

Tuesday, 24.April 1945

24/04/2015

My dear mother wrote:

Day 4 Tuesday 24. April 1945

“We are up since 6 o’clock. During the night there was an air raid for one hour ! Russian fighter aircrafts are over Berlin. Our borough is unscathed.

Russian plane over Berlin. The destroyed building can easily be spotted.

Russian plane over Berlin. The destroyed buildings can easily be spotted.

From 6.30 till 11.30 we were waiting to get 1/2 kg of meat, also we received 30 gr coffee and one loaf of bread.

Just now, we hear that the Anhalter Railway Station  and the Görlitzer Railway Stations are in the hand of the enemy (approx. 2 and 4 km away, but in different directions. berlioz). One can hear intensified artillery fire. and easily distinguish our own heavy Flak. From time to time we can hear targets being hit nearby and observe some aerial combats. And while queuing and shopping we have to take cover from time to time. One is always amazed how people adjust to the prevailing condition and their thought processes quickly find a way to prolong their lives.

The 4th Day passed without any special events. (Shades of ‘All Quite on the Western Front? berlioz)”

It has come to this.  The war was coming closer and closer, the bombardment of the city has intensified and my Mum says, “…the day passed without any special events .” 

While we were queuing for the meat we witnessed some aerial combat. We were waiting at Hefters in Boelkestrasse (what an irony the street is named after a famous air combatant in WW I) close to our Parish church. We heard the sound of the two planes approaching. A Russian fighter  plane was following an ME 109. The German plane tried to shake the Russian by flying around the church which is  actually a  round building.

The Church on the Field of Tempelhof

The Church on the Field of Tempelhof

Quickly they were around and disappeared behind the trees and buildings. But we could hear the onboard cannons of the Russian plane and shortly after a loud explosion as the ME 109 crashed, and exploded  into the nearby hospital a few streets away. Only this year, while researching another story about the hospital -where I was born – I learned  that four  people died in that incident. On that day, my Mum  came home from a warehouse, obviously looting it, with a large soup tureen full of jam.

 Aerial combat, people taking cover, the enemy fighting with the remnants of the German Army in house to house combat and my Mum says no “special events”.

Even during  the  war we can become blasé. Or is this a defence mechanism?

Monday, 23. April 1945

23/04/2015

My mother wrote:

Day 3: Monday 23. April 1945

“Today the ‘queuing fun’ continues. From 10 am to 4 pm, once again we queued in vain. Later there is butter for free. 1/2 kilo per head, but no luck here either. Just when we were about to enter the shop the supply runs out.

So, slowly we are becoming weaker from hunger – the cold – and tiredness. Let us hope that we get through all this. The shelling is getting louder, but people are getting dulled. We will see what the day brings tomorrow.”

As usual, my mother and I  exchanged places in the queue. Often the  queueing  went on for hours.

My mother’s diary is not really comprehensive and I must say so much is missing and I saw the world around me differently from the way she saw it. Different impressions are often the result.

On that particular day, we were hoping to get “our” butter ration as long as we waited long enough.  For me, all this waiting among the old people was an experience in itself. “Old people” because younger persons were either working or helping out at the front. Not to speak about the men that were in the army and were just now defending Berlin against the onslaught of the Red Army. And for a nine-year-old boy all people are “old”. For me, it was interesting to listen what they had to talk about. Some were fearful and others were stoic. Whatever will be, will be!

In those days, the  butter did not come conveniently prepacked in 1/2 kilo portions. It came in  drums and the grocer had to weigh every portion himself.  This was a very slow process done with a wooden spatula.  The People  owning  the shops were usually very old people who should have been retired a long time ago.

On this particular day, we inched our way towards the shop door. Just at the moment when I reached the door and the butter seemed to be in reach a motor lorry of the Waffen-SS stopped at the kerb.  Heavily armed soldiers jumped off and entered the shop. I could not hear all the conversation that took place, but one word I could understand, “Requisition”. That was the end of our  dream to have some butter. It wouldn’t have been much anyway,  but  every scrap of food was important. as regular supplies were not available anymore.  The soldiers carried out a few drums of butter, threw them into the lorry and disappeared. The people in the queue grumbled and went home. They were probably  thinking if  their own  soldiers  were stealing from  them,  what could they expect from  the Russian soldiers who would be, most likely, out for revenge?

 In those days people, when they departed, did not say, “Goodbye” or “See you later” but said. “Bleib’ übrig!”. This is very difficult to translate and the meaning is obviously to stay alive and survive, but actually   wishing you to be at least one of the few who was still alive, after  the battle was over. The feeling of this being the “endgame” was in the air.

Saturday, 21. April 1945

21/04/2015

Seventy years ago, on the 21. of April, we knew the end for the “Third Reich”  was near.

On the day before it had been Hitler’s birthday. Who was celebrating? We don’t know.  My mother did not go to work anymore. Public transport was sporadic or non-existing. Every night we had air raids. Nobody knew by whom. The rumor mills were working overtime. The government released extra rations, and we were queuing for hours  for very little. The Russians were coming and the people were afraid as they feared the revenge of  wronged people.

Our apartment building had its own air raid shelter, but my mum was still not allowed in with me. We were banned by the other tenants because years earlier we children had been too noisy. So every time the siren went, we had to walk along  the street to a public shelter at the printer’s union building.

Building of the Printer's Union

Building of the Printer’s Union today

My mother started to write a diary. And this is what she wrote:

Day 1,  Saturday 21. April 1945

“Since 2.0 pm today, Berlin is under siege!  (Martial law has been declared. berlioz)

A peculiar, faint feeling overcomes us all when we realise that our Reich’s Capital – our beloved Berlin – is about to face a great and all deciding ordeal. Victory or destruction! Life or death! For better or worse! What will the end bring?

As from 6.0 pm, we are supposed to behave as if in an air raid, i.e. we have to gather in the air raid shelter or bunker (a curfew has been declared. berlioz). Often the dull drone, fading in the distance, of the artillery firing on Berlin. Soon, from hour to hour, the detonations become more audible. But it really doesn’t frighten us, because we are used to much larger shakes and hits during the air raids.

All public services, as well as the  privately employed population,  have closed their offices and workshops. A great mass of people is  on the move. All people hurry to their homes, as each one still has to make some important and final preparations in their households. At all grocery stores, long queues  have formed. Some last shopping has to be done before we can disappear into the nether world.

We too, my son Peter (9 years old) and I are at the ready with our luggage. My Aunt Mietze (Marie) too, 72 years old, belongs to our little group. We are taking our places, in the Printer’s Union building, a few houses up the street from our block of flats, in Immelmannstrasse (now Dudenstrasse). The air raid shelter is still without lights. Power has been cut deliberately.

Solemn and calm greetings are exchanged. In time, one by one, here and there candles or kerosene lamps are being lit.  Warm and cosy sleeping places are being prepared. We are having our evening meal in the manner of nomadic people at about 20.00 hours. Soups and other warm drinks are being poured  into cups from Thermos flasks  Our ready made sandwiches taste, despite our troubles and distress, really excellent. For a while, softly spoken conversations follow. Even those cease soon. Peter, wrapped up in warm blankets, is already asleep.

At about 22.00 hours, we are being woken by the sirens! AN AIR RAID !!

(It is the first air raid by Russian planes. The last Western air raid was on the 18 April. berlioz)

Our neighbourhood remains untouched this time! And as it remains calm, we decide, at 1 o’clock in the morning, to go back to our own flat.”(Apparently ignoring the curfew. berlioz)

Because of our closeness to the Tempelhof Airport we always felt safe. The Allied bombers seemed not see it as a target.

Sunday, 22. April 1945

17/04/2015

The calendar says it was Sunday.  I have to confess,  the weekdays were meaningless at the time.  I can’t remember when the newspaper stopped either. During the last few weeks, the newspaper was reduced constantly in size. Four pages became two and eventually the paper had only one sheet. What did the paper tell us.? It told us where the front was.  By now   the Red Army was closing in on three sides. It was clear even to us, that they were going to encircle Berlin to cut it off from the West. Any relief  for the beleaguered city could only come from there. Our needs were immediate. Some food was still available and extra rations were announced over the radio. Sometimes, only selected shops would have a particular item and long queues would form.

Here is how my mother saw the day:

Day 2 Sunday 22. April 1945

“It is Sunday! After being awake half the night we finally got a few hours of good sleep. Suddenly, rumours are spreading like wildfire throughout the apartment building: There are to be extra rations of meat, legumes, coffee and other groceries. The sale is supposed to start as from 11 o’clock on. Peter has already, at 10 o’clock, taken his place in an endless queue at the butchers. Every hour or so we are swapping places with each other so that we can have a rest or something to eat. It is a cold and rainy April day. Now, after 6 hours queuing, we are exhausted and we are cold right through to the bones. We are giving up queuing for the day and console ourselves with more luck for tomorrow.

The activities of the artillery have somewhat lessened. Only towards the evening it is getting more livelier. But as from today, we are allowed to stay in our  building’s air raid shelter. This is much better because we are able to go back to our flat to fetch something when and if the need arises.

Some of the occupants of the upper story flats have already arrived. Today we are especially brave as we go after a while into the flats to be able to sleep in our own beds.

According to an OKW (Supreme Command of the Army) statement the enemy is now at Lichtenberg (approx. 8 km as the crow flies.berlioz).”

This was the block of flats or apartments where I grew up

This was the block of flats or apartments where I grew up

The small green door, then black and of better design, led to a hallway and to a courtyard. The shop on the right used to be our greengrocer where we often queued for hours to get  potatoes or some veggies.  To the left of the door can be seen a  window.  This used to be a barber shop before the war. When Herr Vogel, the barber, died  the shop was converted into a room.  Herr and Frau Vogel were the parents of our  caretaker. The next shop used to be a shoemaker who was not only repairing our old shoes but was  making new ones if we supplied the leather. For instance from an old handbag. He was not only paid with money but also in kind.

The other tenants have relented and allowed  us back into the air raid shelter. I  must have looked harmless being without my sisters.  I would not say “Boo” to anyone. My mother was my God. At that stage of my life, obedience to her was the only object of my  life.  In the evening, when we moved into the communal cellar, that was the air raid shelter, my bed was on a two seater kitchen bench. Even for me, it was too short. My mother made it comfortable with lots of cushions and blankets. We were right in the middle of it. The other people took their places along the walls of the cellar.

Entrance door

Entrance door (photo with the  courtesy of NotMs Parker)

The hallway to the court yard  (phot with the courtesy of NotMs Parker)

The hallway to the courtyard  (photo with the courtesy of NotMs Parker)

In the photo on the left, you can spot  four bricks made of glass on the ground. They were there to let some light into the cellar. But it was next to nothing. After one walked through the hallway one saw the courtyard.

The courtyard, then there was no greenery and the wall all looked from the grime

The courtyard, then there was no greenery and the walls  looked black from the grime of years of neglect.

We lived in the apartment in the corner on the ground floor. In the flat above us  my  maternal grandparent lived  before they passed away. This courtyard played a big part later after the Russians arrived.

Berlin – the last battle in Europe during World War 2

17/04/2015
Brandenburg Gate at the end of WW2

The inner city as seen from the Brandenburg Gate at the end of WW2

Seventy years ago, on the 16th  of April 1945,  the final stage  of the war against the Nazi Regime in Europe had begun. It is known as the Battle of Berlin.  I think, it was more a dangerous mopping up of  the remnants of a bad regime that had only spread “blood and tears” across a continent. Why it came to that, will be still discussed in a thousand years. Perhaps this is the only legacy of a regime that called itself “The Thousand Year Empire”. It lasted only twelve years.

Germans are such proficient people that it takes a mighty effort by others to undo or to rectify a situation created by them.

During the next few days, I will write about my own experience during those fateful days when death was stalking us all in Berlin. I was was lucky enough not  to have experienced a traumatic event. Those accounts will also contain a short diary  written by my mother.

In English, there is the word “Downfall” for this period. But the Germans have another word for it, “Untergang“.  It is more the sinking of the regime, a “Götterdämmerung” of Wagnerian proportions. It is the total destruction, the submerging and burying  of all remnants of the regime. After five-and-a-half years of war, Berlin was not recognisable anymore.

Anhalter Bahnhof (train station) around which one of the heaviest fighting took part

Anhalter Bahnhof (train station) around which one of the heaviest fighting took part

Out of ruins always something new grows. Over time and more historical events, Berlin was reborn because it was and is, a resilient city. I had my own personal rebirth on my tenth birthday. More about it in a later post.

At the time, I lived with my mother and a great-aunt. My father was in the army trying to stop the Allies in Italy.  And we had no news from him for months. My two sisters were somewhere totally unknown to us. The Red Army was coming and for the second time I heard the distant rumble of the artillery.

The stage was set for the final assault on Berlin.

Two Engagement Parties

13/04/2015

I know only of two engagement parties in which members of my family took part and they were ninety-three years apart. Naturally, I did not take part in the first one and nobody of the first took part in the second. Still, the people in the picture have a lot in common  with some of the people who attended the engagement party last Saturday.

An engagement in 1922

An engagement in 1922

There are fourteen people in the picture. Eight of which are part of the gene pool the young bride of last Saturday’s engagement party belongs too.   The “happy” couple in the front ( on the right) do not look   happy. Family rumors have it, that they had a mighty row on that day. It could have ended there and I would not be around to talk about any engagement  party. The couple, of course, were my parents-to-be and it took them another seven years to tie the knot. They were married for eighteen years, got divorced and remarried each other a second time after another twenty-five years. A stormy relationship you can say.

If you look at the picture you see a plate, with a young woman, hanging on the wall. This plate is still in the possession of the family and is now  in Melbourne, Australia.

IMG_20140503_0001

It is a portrait of an Italian woman in the style of the ancient classics by Anselm Feuerbach. My mother wanted my son Martin to have it. And so it happened.

The picture sneaked into the background of my life at another occasion in June 1956. This time I’m on the balcony of my mother’s apartment in Berlin with my future wife Uta. We were not officially engaged, but you could say, we were heading that way. We look much happier than my parents looked at their engagement. Half a year later we were married.

The Plate, Uta and I

The Plate, Uta and I

It would have been appropriate to have the young, southern lady overlooking the latest engagement party. Nobody thought of it. This blog is only an afterthought.

And so we come to 2015. Natasha, our eldest granddaughter, got engaged to Mitch in a grand party attended by more than sixty people. I marveled at the typical Australian mixture of people of different backgrounds and how they all came together in a friendly athmosphere. I think, Uta and I, we were the oldest in attendence.

IMG_0206We had a good time among the younger crowd. The music was a bit loud, but when I switched off my hearing aid it was bearable. The “boom, boom” of the bass one could feel without hearing. Conversation becomes a bit difficult, but we managed.

Cutting the cake and the bride has a halo

Cutting the cake and the bride has a halo

The bride with her siblings

The bride with her siblings

IMG_0889

Three generations

The oldest and the younges. Alexander is starting to great grumpy. It is past his bedtime.

The oldest and the youngest. Alexander is starting to get grumpy. It is past his bedtime.

The mother of the bride and the grandfather

The mother of the bride and the grandfather

Grandma Uta with our lovely Granddaughter Krystal who just started her university life.

Grandma Uta with our lovely Granddaughter Krystal who just started her university life.

The father of the groom and the happy couple

The father of the groom and the happy couple

Me and my Granddaughter-in-law, Ebony.

Me and my Granddaughter-in-law, Ebony.

All in all, we had a great time. I even spilled beer on my trousers which dried very quickly. Uta and I  had a few dances, too. Nobody took any pictures of that. I assume, it was not that remarkable.  Later we were complimented for it. By midnight,  it was all over and we all went home. At home, we had a late supper with our son Martin from Melbourne and our daughter Caroline with her partner Matthew. We kept talking until 2 o’clock. A good time was had by all.

Caress / Ache

29/03/2015

Yesterday my wife and I went to Sydney to see a play by the Australian playwright Suzie Miller, “Caress / Ache”.

We like those little outings as they give us the opportunity to see the “Big Smoke” and leave our humdrum existence in the outer reaches of New South Wales behind. We take the train as we would have trouble parking the car in the city.

The train is a modern double-decker one. The trip is comfortable and provides us with a view of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the towering escarpment on the other. Later, before we reach the outer suburbs of the Metropolitan area, the train is snaking its way through a dense forest. It is always a pleasurable  trip up the coast. Nature is touching us!

Train departing Thirroul on the way to Sydney

Train departing Thirroul on the way to Sydney

Tucked away in  an alley behind busy Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, is the Griffin Theatre, a small theatre which has  the development and staging of Australian plays as its objective.

The "Griffin"

The “Griffin”

The auditorium seats only 104 and being there gives the audience that special  feeling of intimacy with the performers. We are being touched by the closeness of the actors and the events on the stage.

After a beautiful lunch with our daughter Caroline we had a few minutes to relax, in the smallest of all possible parks, before the beginning of the play.

Uta and Caroline

Uta and Caroline

One tree park

One tree park

Nearby houses  from a bygone area

Nearby houses from a bygone area

This small corner of Sydney is on a more human scale than the big, brush city generally is. There is  a village-like atmosphere, seemingly untouched by modernity. Without the cars, you would think to be in the nineteenth century. This “being touched” brings me to the leitmotif of the play: Touch!

Touch feels good as a caress. We exchange touches during  intimacy. There is  the  painful touch; we can yearn for a touch and  we can reject it. Music can touch us in a big way. The spoken word  and the written word can touch us, circumstances can touch us in a negative, as well in a positive way. “Touch” probably evolved in primeval time and has survival value.  It became part of our human consciousness.   A touch refused is as bad as one not allowed to a mother for her doomed child.

Miller writes:   “We forget that human touch is life-giving. We do not remember that for millions of years we have received comfort, support, warmth and compassion through touch.”

All the actors gave great, polished performances. Some scenes were confronting and since each played two roles it was sometimes difficult to know who was who.

Indeed,  our very existence depended  upon someone touching another. Therefore,  a great theme was brought to the stage. We could see in the faces of some of the  enthralled audience that they realised something they had not thought about before. I bet, many went home,  feeling they had been touched by a new thought and then touched someone they had not touched for  a long time.

The creation Adam

                     The creation  of Adam

Tempelhof Airport

25/03/2015

Today I found an article on the internet about the former Tempelhof Airport.

The former airfield

The former airfield

Tempelhof Airport  used to be the mother of all airports. It has not been abandoned by the people. They love the big open space and they have beaten the developers and make full use of the mother of all open, urban spaces in the world.

The Wright brothers used the field for a longest flight ever at the time.

I grew up there, only meters away. My Dad took us kids on an inspection tour of the building site in 1939.

During the war, it was protected by the Allied Airforces. They did not bomb it.

During the Airlift in 1948/49.I watched the incoming planes and counted them as they came in for the landing, only  90 seconds apart.

Read the article it is full of information. I will be in Berlin next year and so will be members of my family and I will take them out there and guide them, like a mother duck, and show them around. It is a holy ground for me as my mother went with her parents and brothers for walks there, long before anybody thought of aeroplanes. The “Tempelhofer Feld” is actually my birthplace.

An Airbus 380 over Neutempelhof during a flyover over the former Tempelhof Airport.

An Airbus 380, paying homage, over Neutempelhof during a flyover over the former Tempelhof Airport. The building with the green tower is the hospital, St Joseph’s,  where I was born.

After the war friends and I were chased by Red Army soldiers as they found us playing in a former Luftwaffe plane(Ju 88). Later when it opened again for civilian airlines, during the fifties, I flew a few times out from there to West-Germany.

It is good that the people can use the field as a common  park for all. It came full circle.

Malcolm Fraser

23/03/2015

Malcolm Fraser was our Prime Minister from 1975 to 1983.

He  passed away suddenly (it is said, after a short illness) last Friday.

When he came to power after the dismissal of the Whitlam government I hated him.

Over the years, he changed very much and I came to admire him.

He and Whitlam became good friends and if they could become friends then, at least I, could accept him too.

In the article below Barry Jones, a former, very much  loved Labor minister, writes about Fraser and the change he went through.

https://theconversation.com/the-evolution-of-malcolm-fraser-was-a-wonderful-thing-to-behold-39175

Fraser pursued humanitarian issues right to his end. He  warned  Australia of being too close to the United States, as it could involve us in a confrontation  even war, with China.

He was still very active and it emerged that he was planning to start a new  political party with the objective of a more independent foreign policy and a more humane refugee program.

He was bitterly disappointed  in his party and resigned from it. He was against everything the Abbott government stands for.

It was quite comical how his former party colleagues praised him in parliament today. They  must see him as a traitor.

I see him as a person who became wiser with age.

RIP Malcolm


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 121 other followers