It was with some surprise that we found out how much this place looks like a destroyed wasteland even though there is a police station just across from the main building.
Before we share some of the pictures we took at the abandoned Flugplatz Johannisthal, we have to tell you some of the histories of this place. Maybe, you will understand better why we believe it’s so sad to see it as the wasteland it is today.
How the Flugplatz Johannisthal started
Located between Johannisthal and Adlershof, in what used to be the outskirts of Berlin, the airfield opened as Motorflugplatz Johannisthal-Adlershof. The name connected with the fact that this was the place for powered flights.
This happened because the German Army at the time didn’t want to see hangars being built at the parade grounds on Tempelhof. Before the airport was built, the area was used as a training field for the German Army. It was only in the 1920s that construction started for the airport, and it became Flughafen Berlin-Tempelhof.
Berlin had some history with flights since Otto Lilienthal, a German aviation pioneer, undertook his first gliding experiments on an artificial hill called Fliegeberg. Today this place is called Lilienthal Park and can be visited in Lichterfelde.
Before the First World War, the Flugplatz Johannisthal had two large airship hangars by Zeppelin and Parseval. Also, a grandstand that fitted more than two thousand visitors who used to flock to the area to see the airplanes landing.
This was so popular that the airfield became an international attraction, with people coming to Berlin to watch the planes fly. This tourism helped finance it even though many people jumped the fences surrounding it.
Many of the first aviation events in Germany happened at Flugplatz Johannisthal. The first cross-country flight over Germany ended on the airfield when Hubert Latham landed on September 27, 1909. The first Deutschlandflug occurred there as well.
Also, the worst accident in airship travel at the time happened at Flugplatz Johannisthal in October 1913 when a Zeppelin caught fire and crashed, killing 28 people.
The first continuous flight lasting more than 24 hours also took place there with Reinhold Böhm in July 1914. And another first was Amelie Beese, who trained there and became the first German woman to earn a pilot’s license.
After the war’s end, Flugplatz Johannisthal was used for airmail between Berlin and Weimar, the location of the National Assembly in the Weimar Republic. Passenger service followed later, and it seems like German president Friedrich Ebert was one of the first guests.
Everything changed for Flugplatz Johannisthal in 1923 when Tempelhof opened as an airport. After that, it was only used as a military airfield. This included some secret tests for the rearmament of Germany during the Nazi era.
During those years, the Academy of Sciences of the GDR moved to the south side of the airfield. It employed more than five thousand researchers, scientists, and technicians. Today, a part of the area is known as the Aerodynamic Park. It is a part of the Humboldt University campus in Berlin.
Also, from 1950 to 1991, VEB Kühlautomat Berlin used the area to make refrigerators and air compressors, which is a little unusual for us.
This exciting place to explore is still abandoned in the middle of Berlin. But be careful since many buildings have seen better days and a police station across the street from it.
If you want some tips on how to get in, take a look at what Abandoned Berlin wrote on the topic. Below you can see a map of where the Flugplatz Johannisthal is located.
The Abandoned Flugplatz Johannisthal: Exploring Germany’s first commercial airfield
Arthur-Müller-Straße 24, 12487
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