Tempelhof-Berlin Airport

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Tempelhof Airport

This eagle’s head was originally part of a sculpture atop the airport building – a Nazi eagle with a globe in its claws. The head was taken as a trophy by US forces in 1962 and returned to the city in 1985.

The airport dates from the 1920s but was rebuilt by architect Ernst Sagebiel in 1935, complete with the 4.5 m high eagle.

Below; Another Nazi eagle, this one carved in stone on the airport building, the swastika in its claws long since removed. The eagle sculpture in the lead photo above stood on the plinth visible in centre of the terminal building.


29 comments on “Tempelhof-Berlin Airport
  1. rob of rochdale says:

    Cracking notes to accompany these shots Ian. Love ’em!

  2. crusader752 says:

    Great light Ian – looks a tad out of place there! Will it go back as I seem to recall the airport now defunct? 🙂

  3. Highy says:

    Great shots Ian, I’ve read a bit about this place – seen some cracking shots of planes on low approaches in front of some flats here!

  4. nondesigner59 says:

    Great shot and info.. Excellent detail.

  5. Keartona says:

    You can see even in the architecture and design a hard formality.

  6. pasujoba says:

    Great work Ian, is it me , or is there something sinister about both the eagles and the architecture on show here ?
    Half of me thinks i,m glad to be able to see it and half of me wishes it was all gone .

  7. cgullz says:

    great read, cool shots to go with. 4.5m high wow!!

  8. Mustang Koji says:

    Thanks for the lesson, Ian… What perplexes me is why the Allies would wait until 1962 to take the sculpture as a trophy. Why was that? I would have thought it would have been blown up or taken in 1945…? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

  9. amyrey says:

    ‘Severe Deco’ eh? Well we have British Brutalist architecture, so why not. Anyway, equally grim, although I’m rather taken by the eagle, I think he is a sweetie.

  10. IANLAYZELLUK says:

    Fantastic man!! Cool Composition.

  11. het broertje van.. says:

    Are you talking to me………………grin!!!


  12. gastephen says:

    Despite the sinister connotations, it’s a great piece of stylised art. Nicely captured Ian.

  13. mick cooke says:

    brilliant ian great photo and great story as well

  14. P_H_I_L_L says:

    I know they were evil and everything, but the Nazis knew their stuff about graphic design didn’t they. Just think what they would’ve accomplished had they had Powerpoint.

  15. Richard Tierney says:

    Agree with PHIL just think what Germany could have become if it was not on the road to a European War… now they are its financial savior. On can discuss for days the rights and wrongs of what happened in Germany in the 30’s and 40’s one has to admire though the architecture and construction that took place in the inter war years…. The sheer dynamism of its recovery after the Versailles treaty destroyed Germany after WW1 that sowed the seeds of anger and revenge so masterly utilised by Hitler.

    One of those "City Breaks" that has a frightening edge to it… what might have been?

    Excellent pics Ian complimented by excellent notes….

  16. Ian D B says:

    Thanks everyone. The Nazis certainly had a handle on design and making an impression. Those black SS uniforms, for example, were made by (and possibly designed by) Hugo Boss, putting fascism into fashion;

    So too with their architecture, had Speer gone on to build Hitler’s Berlin, everything bigger than anything else in the world, it would certainly have been impressive. But not very human, Hitler gave no thought for how people might live and work in his buildings, they just had to look impressive – or intimidating depending on your point of view and your status within the Reich.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/50742523@N05] Koji,
    The eagle’s head was taken to West Point Military Museum after the sculpture was removed to make way for new radar equipment.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/29288836@N00] Rob,
    I don’t know what will happen to Templehof or the eagle’s head. It will either end up in a Berlin museum or, more probable, remain where it is. Doubt it’ll go back, it was a gift from the US.

  17. SolarScot. says:

    its a wonder the eagle hasnt got a Greek in its claws now

  18. Ian D B says:


    lol. very good.

  19. andyholmfirth says:

    Can’t help but think the Greeks are getting their own back for the war now !

  20. Martyn Fordham says:


    Seen on your photo stream. ( ?² )

  21. Reflective Kiwi %-) says:

    Love the composition Ian. Very powerful and dramatic.
    Great sculpture! What a fantastic Eagle Head it is! %-)

  22. f3liney says:

    Of the photo, rather than the subject; this is a superb and powerful composition. Great work.

  23. Neal. says:

    The eagle has landed.

  24. jr55 (John Richardson) says:

    Nice composition Ian and as your contacts have said, great background as usual, I might not be able to post as much if I did the research that you do for your posts.

  25. martin.jordan says:

    Quality shot. I’ve been to Berlin twice but not yet made it out to Templehof (I think the first time I went was the year it was closing as an active strip). Can you access the terminal at all these days? From footage i’ve seen before then that itself looks a bit of a treat for photography, let alone the rest of the airport.

  26. steiner2009 "AKA Dr Dust " says:

    such a powerful and emotive shot . brilliant capture and an awesome set of pictures 🙂

  27. bandman12 says:

    Somehow I have missed your photos of late. This is another interesting bit of history you relate around your airport photos these photos you take add to the richness of our collective memory.

  28. Gizzardtreedude says:

    Again, very very interesting stuff. An imposing piece 🙂

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