Berlin to mark 70th anniversary of iconic airlift

Attractions being rolled out during the event next month include an audiovisual installation in one of the hangars showing film and photo shoots underpinned by a special sound design.

Even though few Berliners personally remember the spectacle of giant planes loaded to the roof with coal or food, sliding smoothly between the houses into Tempelhof, Gatow and Tegel airports, this critical chapter in the cold war still remains well-known here.

By Nathan Morley in Berlin

BERLINERS are set to mark the 70th anniversary of the famous airlift that defeated the Russian blockade of their city with a festival at the iconic Templehof Airport next month.

Up to 50,000 guests are expected at the event on May 12, which organizers say is intended to provide an opportunity for ‘cheerful celebration and information about the many exciting details of what happened 70 years ago’.

Even though few Berliners personally remember the spectacle of giant planes loaded to the roof with coal or food, sliding smoothly between the houses into Tempelhof, Gatow and Tegel airports, this critical chapter in the cold war still remains well-known here.

The airlift, which ran during 1948 and 1949, saw British planes fly more than 530,000 tons of food, coal, fuel and other goods to West Berlin in an effort to break a Soviet stranglehold on the city. The United States, New Zealand and Australia also ran similar missions into Berlin at the same time.

Attractions being rolled out during the event next month include an audiovisual installation in one of the hangars showing film and photo shoots underpinned by a special sound design. ‘The guests are to be sent on an emotional journey through time,’ organizers say.

In addition, original exhibits, decorations and media installations documenting the logistics and planning of the Airlift as well as the personal and humanitarian commitment that ensured the survival of the city for almost a year will be on display.