The Abandoned Flugplatz RangsdorfThe place where Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg arrived after trying to kill Hitler
If you manage to walk into the abandoned Flugplatz Rangsdorf, you will never suspect what the place used to be and how much history happened there. It was here that Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg landed after trying to kill Hitler back in 1944 and this is why we took our cameras to explore this abandoned airport ten kilometers south of Berlin city limits.
Right now, the abandoned Flugplatz Rangsdorf is a quiet place, so quiet that you can hear the cars going by on the highway while we took pictures. This was the only noise we heard during our cold morning back in March 2018. No guards, no other people. Maybe the cold scared them away. Perhaps it was the distance to Berlin.
Today the abandoned Flugplatz Rangsdorf is fenced, and its gates are closed to the public. There are houses around the area and, from outside, you can only see dilapidated buildings. Decaying buildings that were, back in the 1940s, one of the most essential airfields around Berlin.
A little bit of the history behind the abandoned Flugplatz Rangsdorf
Back on July 30, 1936, Flugplatz Rangsdorf was opened to the public as Reichsport airport Rangsdorf. It was the eve of the Summer Olympics of 1936, and the location was used for the International Aerobatic Competition for the Prize of Nations. After that, the area was used by civilians and military forces but, mostly it was a place where pilots learned how to fly.
During the Second World War, due to a fear of having Tempelhof bombed, Flugplatz Rangsdorf became a commercial airport. Russian, Swedish and Lufthansa used the airport for flights between Berlin and Vienna, Rome, Sofia, Istanbul, Gdansk or Copenhagen. If you were a passenger to any of those flights, you would do a check in at the Air Travel office at Friedrichstrasse, later you would take a bus to Rangsdorf, and you would be on your way.
After 1940, Flugplatz Rangsdorf was used exclusively for the military purpose. This was the place where Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg, in the early morning of July 20, 1944, took a flight to kill Hitler with his briefcase that houses two bombs. Due to the leg of a table that protects the Fuhrer, his plan didn’t work. But he didn’t know this when he landed back at Flugplatz Rangsdorf and announced: “Gentlemen, Hitler is dead.” He wasn’t, and Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was arrested and shot in the same day for treason.
Inside the abandoned Flugplatz Rangsdorf today, there is nothing to remind us of what happened there more than 80 years ago. But, while we were looking for a way to get to the area, we saw a road called Stauffenbergallee. This might be the only evidence of what happened there before.
Exploring the abandoned Flugplatz Rangsdorf was one of the most interesting urban exploration trips of the last couple of years for us. The area has seen better days but the morning we visited the place was a beautiful one, and the orange grass growing around it made every picture we took fantastically.
Also, the control tower which was used when the airport still existed is there, and you can climb all the way to the top for a panoramic view of the area. There are new buildings around the former airport and some houses spread around. But if you look in the other direction, you can only see grass and trees. This is where the airfield used to be and, from up there, you can still look at the tracks where so many airplanes landed.
Next, to the control tower, you can see the remains of what used to be a gym. There are words in Russian, what used to be a basketball court and a lot of graffiti. For us, this was the most photogenically area to explore since there were so many things to capture with our cameras.
There are holes in the fence, and you just need to jump over them and enter the area. We read on Abandoned Berlin about some guards being in the area but we didn’t see anything on a cold morning we were there. If you visit the abandoned Flugplatz Rangsdorf, take pictures of everything but don’t steal or destroy the area. Don’t be an asshole.
If you want to take your cameras and photograph the Flugplatz Rangsdorf, you need to hop on a train to Rangsdorf and head south after leaving the train station. Follow the map below, and you will be more than fine.