History of Airlift

Having started in 1948, the Airlift turned out to be a project accompanied by unprecedented difficulties, thus requiring enormous efforts on both sides, and as time passed and the unthinkable operation proved to be successful, an alliance was effectively formed between the former enemies. The Airlift Berlin Memorial in Fassberg is informing about the background of the Western Allied Forces’ struggle to preserve Berlin’s freedom.

The former Royal Air Force Station Fassberg played a very important part during the Airlift. Contemporary records claim there were 539.112 tons of coal transported to Berlin by British and American planes starting from Fassberg, and in winter ’48 the frequency of take-offs had been increased to as much as once in every three minutes.
Three nissen huts and two closed train cars contain original documents and exhibits picturing the precision that was part of an enormous clockwork. The ‘FASSBERG FLYER’, an original Douglas C-47 of the US Air Force which has been used during the Airlift, is one of the most impressive monuments symbolizing the cooperation between the Western Allied Forces and the members of the German Civil Labour Association (GCLO), who were responsible for loading the coal.

The Airlift Berlin Memorial Exhibition keeps those people’s spirit and endurance alive, without forgetting to include their everyday experiences.

“…look at this town, and know that you must not surrender it and its people, that you cannot surrender us” – with these words Berlin’s former mayor Ernst Reuter appealed to the world in 1948. It only took the British and the Americans 48 hours to create an Airlift of gigantic dimensions, the likes of which have never been seen before. Starting on June 26th 1948, Berlin was supplied with food, medicine, and coal by air. On average, there were 13.000 tons transported daily, and on May 12th 1949, Fassberg’s flight records summarized about 280.000 take-offs for Berlin Airports Gatow, Tempelhof and Tegel.

The opening of the border in 1989 and the following reunification of Germany resulted in Fassberg’s loss of value as forward operational base. However, what remained was the realization that cooperation between friends and allies, and decisive action will finally tear down any wall.

The two original segments of the Berlin Wall vis-à-vis the ‘FASSBERG FLYER’ complete the historic picture, which the Airlift Memorial Exhibition in Fassberg has kept alive throughout the years.

Read more about Memorial Site Airlift Berlin in Faßberg.

Read more about Berlin Airlift Association Fassberg.