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Goodbye to Tempelhof as Berliners mourn the airport's closure

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Goodbye to Tempelhof as Berliners mourn the airport's closure

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Hundreds of people gathered at Tempelhof airport on Thursday night to bid farewell to the famed hub of the Berlin Airlift.

The airport became a powerful symbol of the Cold War when Soviet forces prevented supplies from getting into West Berlin in 1948-49. The West responded by airlifting more than two million tonnes of food and other goods into Tempelhof for nearly a year.

For many Berliners it is much more than a landing strip. As the last flight took to the skies, protestors held a vigil to renew their demands for the airport to be kept open.

Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted to prevent Tempelhof from closing, but its fate was sealed in April after a referendum to prevent its closure failed because of low turnout.

Tempelhof’s history dates back to the origins of aviation and reflects the city’s traumatic history.

However, its finest hour came when the Americans, with the help of the British and French, launched an unprecedented airlift after Stalin blockaded the western sectors in an attempt to starve them into submission.