Tag

WWII

The ‘Forbidden City’ just outside Berlin

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The largest Red Army base outside the Soviet Union was a 40 minute drive south of Berlin. It was just beyond where the new airport — and the old Schönefeld SXF — is today. Wünsdorf-Waldstadt was completely off limits to East Germans during those long, dark Iron Curtain years. They called it Die Verbotene Stadt (the Forbidden City). Others called the massive base ‘Little Moscow’, and I guess it...

The abandoned airport down the street

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I’m moving flats next month and saying goodbye to Tempelhofer Feld, my favourite space in the neighbourhood. But before I pack up my books and lug them across town, I’d like to tell you a bit about the history of what was once the world’s largest building. The 1.2 km long complex was built by the Nazis to be the most advanced airport the world had ever seen, but war cut short their plans and they...

The Heavy Load-Bearing Body Down the Street

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I’m moving flats soon, after four years, leaving this neighbourhood behind for another pre-war altbau in a different part of the city. Imminent departure has prompted me to poke around some of those minor historic sites I’ve passed so often but never gotten around to exploring. One of the largest is just down the block. I biked past that strange concrete mass so many times over the past four...

Hitler’s Scientists Put Men on the Moon

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The second-largest island on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast is a summer vacation paradise. But it once housed a massive secret weapons program that the Nazis hoped would allow them to snatch victory from the closing jaws of defeat. I made my annual summer pilgrimage to the island of Rügen last weekend — much later than usual in this year of pandemic, but it was still just warm enough to swim. The...

Overshadowed by Nuremberg’s Dark Past

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Nuremberg was once one of the wealthiest and most important trading centres in medieval Europe. And between 1050 and 1571, it was the closest thing to a capital under the Holy Roman Empire, seat of the imperial Diet. Despite this rich and multilayered past, the city is most persistently remembered for its close association with the Nazi party. It was Nuremberg that hosted the NSDAP rallies of the...

Ryan Murdock

Author of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Columnist at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

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