Antrag auf Ernnennung zum Weltkulturerbe
World Heritage Committee
The World Heritage Centre
7, Place de Fontenoy
Berlin, 11th December 2007
Inquiry to declare the historic Berlin-Tempelhof airport as a World Cultural Heritage.
Dear Members of the Committee,
On behalf of the citizens of Berlin, I would like to suggest that you to declare the historic airport “Berlin-
Tempelhof” a World Cultural Heritage.
The Tempelhof Airport is an outstanding and particularly valuable historic monument and, at the same time, it is
highly endangered. By declaring it a World Cultural Heritage, the historical value of the site will be historically
evident will provide the basis for preservation in the interests of successive generations.
There are several reasons for the cultural and historic preservation of Tempelhof Airfield:
- Founded in 1923 after World War I, Tempelhof is the oldest commercial airport in the world. It has been
in uninterrupted use for almost 85 years.
- Today's building, constructed during the period 1934 – 1939 by the architect Ernst Sagebiel, was a
pioneering design for many later aiports throughout the world. The famous architect Sir Norman Foster
once called it the “mother of all airports". Sagebiel also built the airports of Vienna, Stuttgart and
Munich, which were all completely or partially destroyed in later times.
Still the Tempelhof airport building is one of the three largest buildings in the world (it is more than 1.2
kms in length).
- The airport is a mirror of the contemporary history of the City of Berlin, of Germany, it reflects the worldwide
enthusiasm for technology but also the dark period of National Socialism, war, the Cold War, the
Iron Curtain and ultimately, German re-unification. Tempelhof always was a focus of these historic
events and people can visit, see and feel this history when using the airport, visiting or sightseeing:
- People can see the unfinished visitor platforms and staircases on the roof that the Nazis intended to
use for their parades and air shows.
- There are still the bunker and catacombed rooms with wall paintings of people seeking protection
- In the basement, the railway track is visible, where forced labourers had assemble airplanes during
- For a long time, a historic DC3 “Candy Bomber” was exhibited beside the airfield as a memorial of
the Berlin Blockade and the Alied Airlift. Tempelhof was the centre of the airlift with supply aircraft
landing every 1½ minutes. The airplane has already been moved, but the airfield is still in the shape
it was in 1949.
- Many of the installations made by the American secret service still exist. On top of the main
reception hall, visitors can see the rooms where American surveillance specialists monitored radio
communication and the airspace in eastern Europe. They can also see the fitness and sauna
rooms, bowling installation and baseball fields on top of the main entrance hall.
Not so spectacular, but also visible are the rooms where the one and only alied court trial against a
German hijacker took place. He and several other people later hijacked Polish airplanes in order to
leave East Germany. He landed in Tempelhof and freed his family and many other people from the
- The airport is still in operation and in a good condition, with most of the historic installations intact. The
official planning intends to close it forever in October 2008 and use the area and the building for modern
The overwhelming majority of the people in Berlin want to conserve the Airport in its current state and in
operation. Unfortunately, government officials want to re-use the airfield area and building for new purposes
(which generally means commercial buildings).
The status as an official World Cultural Heritage would offer the great opportunity to make this historic asset
visible to all people and to ensure a durable conservation for the next generations.
The attached video presentation on CD may show this to the Members of Committee. If you need further
informations, please feel free to contact me.