Presidential Candidate Obama to visit Tempelhof
Press Release: Presidential Candidate Barack Obama to visit Tempelhof-Berlin
Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is to visit Tempelhof Airport during his stay in Berlin – before its untimely closure.
(Juli 2008) Probably influenced by pressure from the Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit prevented Barack Obama´s speech in Tempelhof, a visit by the United States Presidential Candidate to the historic site is still on the agenda.
The extensive discussions in preparation for his visit have served to demonstrate that the future of Tempelhof is still an internationally controversial subject and that the Airport is a monument of historic importance.
No one has formulated this as succinctly as the veteran “candy bomber” Gail Halvorsen: “In America, we´ve got a symbol of freedom, it is called 'Statue of Liberty'. I believe that Tempelhof Airport is the German equivalent of the Statue of Liberty. Freedom in Germany began in Tempelhof during the years 1948 and 1949.”
Volker Perplies, representing the “Initiative to Promote Tempelhof Airport as part of the World Cultural Heritage” maintains that “ … Tempelhof and the Air Lift marked the final end of the Nazi era and guaranteed the creation of freedom for Berlin, Germany and the whole of Europe. Tempelhof is not only a symbol of freedom, Tempelhof and the Allied Air Lift mark the point at which the Allies, and especially the Americans, were no longer regarded as conquerors, but as friends.
And quite apart from this, Tempelhof is the world´s oldest Airport, characterised by the prominent British architect as “the Mother of all Airports!”, it is the third largest building in the world and was, for a long time, the central focus of the Cold War.”
Perplies continues: “ … and all this can still be authentically experienced as the Airport has remained unchanged over the years."
Anywhere else, a historical site such as this would be declared a national monument. But not in Berlin.
Despite the bitter opposition of the population, the Federal Government, commerce and industry as well as many notable intellectuals, the ruling Berlin Senate has decided to close down the Airport. The “official” excuse is that Tempelhof might jeopardize the legality of the new Berlin International Airport on the City limits.
"Against the fierce resistance from citizens, federal government, economy, society and culture, the Berlin Senate decided to close the airport down and have it disappear from the world map. Officially this is necessary because of "legal risks for the construction of a new Airport Berlin (BBI). Unofficially it is suspected that the mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, follows the wishes of his coalition partner, the former East German communist party SED, now 'Linkspartei'", said Karl-Helmut E. Zermin.
Michael Paul of the United Action Group (www.be-4-tempelhof.de): “Even before the recent plebiscite had taken place, Mayor Wowereit had made it perfectly clear how he saw the situation. Whatever the outcome, he was determined to close Tempelhof.” In the event, more than 60% of the voters declared their preference to maintain Tempelhof, but the Senate was able to reduce the number of voters under the necessary quorum.
“Instead of the world famous Airport,” Paul continues “Berliners will be faced with a typical urban development with commeracial and residential areas.”
The hopes of all those in favour of Tempelhof now rest on whether the German Federal Government is prepared to decide the issue as, unlike any other monument, Tempelhof is not only of national importance. It is also internationally renowned and its fate can therefore not be left in the hands of local politicians.
In the meantime, the Federal Government and thousands of people from throughout the world have made their wish to save Tempelhof Airport known on the web site www.rescue-tempelhof.org. And this is merely one of the many facets of the interest shown well beyond the borders of Berlin and Germany.
So now expectations are focused on the Federal Chancellor Frau Merkel in the hope that she will be able to act decisively.
For further information, please contact: Volker Perplies, Tel. +49 (1 78) 6 61 21 58 http://www.be-4-tempelhof.com