Tempelhof Field, located in south-central Berlin, is home to the now defunct Tempelhof Airport. Having received the initial designation of ‘airport’ in 1923, Tempelhof remained in operation until autumn of 2008 at which point it closed to all air traffic. The current status of Tempelhof Field is in discussion and debate between politicians, contractors and citizens of Berlin. In the meantime, historians and archaeologists are in the process of uncovering Tempelhof’s past. During the reign of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, better known as the Nazi party, Tempelhof served the needs of the Third Reich. As Nazi Germany prepared for war, Tempelhof was no longer merely an aiport, but the site of a so-called “wild” concentration camp, Columbia Concentration Camp – “wild” because it was one of the first camps and therefore extremely disorganized.
This particular history of Tempelhof Field is not one which is often told; in fact, there remain many details that historians and researchers have yet to discover about the forced labor and concentration camps located on the airport grounds. In light of current debates about Germany’s Nazi past, it is clear that the history of the Third Reich continues to linger in the present. Far right extremism is an issue not only faced by German citizens; it is an issue which confronts the global community. Therefore, it is crucial that education about Nazi Germany be accessible to as many people as possible. For this reason, we–Courtney Neaveill and Alissa Rubinstein–are in the process of translating parts of the “Tempelhofer Unfreiheit” website into English.