Press­ Release

Published: 17 August 2021, 01:00 PM

Historic regeneration of Schönefeld air travel hub / Airport Company launches book about the Nazi history of the Henschel Flugzeug-Werke at Schönefeld

Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH is based on the former site of the Henschel Flugzeug-Werke. Founded in 1934, the subsidiary of the Kassel-based Henschel & Sohn grew into one of the most important German armaments factories for combat aircraft and glide bombs during the Nazi era. Aircraft, weapons and weapon systems, which brought death and destruction across Europe, were developed, tested and built at Schönefeld.

Little is known about this chapter in Schönefeld Airport’s history. The Airport Company has therefore commissioned a team of historians to conduct scientific research into the site's Nazi past and hopes to convey the results to the wider public. On Monday August 16, it presented the book “Im Dienst des nationalsozialistischen Krieges – Der erste Flugplatz in Schönefeld” (In Service of the National Socialist War – The First Airfield at Schönefeld) by the authors Prof. Dr. Harald Bodenschatz, TU Berlin, and Prof. Dr. Christoph Bernhardt, Stefanie Brünenberg and Dr. Andreas Butter from the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS) in Erkner. At the same time, an exhibition, going by the same name, opened its doors in the Schönefeld administration building belonging to the Airport Company.

The publication represents a first look at the structure of Henschel Flugzeug-Werke including the airfield, the military research and production located there and the importance of Schönefeld in the armaments landscape of Berlin and its surrounding area. In addition to an architectural and historical treatise of the buildings, significant emphasis is placed on the military research and production conditions at Henschel Flugzeug-Werke. The planes mass produced at Schönefeld destroyed cities in Spain, England, Poland and the Soviet Union, killing not only soldiers but also many civilians. Forced laborers were made to produce supplies for the German war machine in the Henschel factory under inhumane conditions. For many of them, Schönefeld was a “place of horror” where hunger, illness and death were part of everyday life.

Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, CEO Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH: “Many of the buildings belonging to Henschel Flugzeug-Werke are still there today and are used every day by employees of the Airport Company. We are aware of the role of this site in the war, death and destruction that was visited across Europe. The history of aviation at Schönefeld during the Nazi dictatorship must not be forgotten.

So-called “foreign workers” from the occupied territories, forced laborers, prisoners of war, women and girls from concentration camps were forced to produce supplies for the German extermination machine, under inhumane conditions, that was also destroying their own homelands.

Our mission is to educate people about this and to face it head on. And we also want to send a signal: Schönefeld Airport and thus the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt stand for peaceful coexistence between peoples, as well as for freedom and solidarity, for tolerance and respect.”

Press office
Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH
Visiting address

Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg
Betriebsbereich Nord / Terminal 5
Willy-Brandt-Straße 1
12529 Schönefeld