WHO-Tube: Abandoned; WW2 Luftwaffe German Military Airbase

The German airfield Schönwalde was built in 1934 by the German Ministry of Aviation as a base for the German Air Force. They did this at a time when the Germans were denied an Air Force because of the Treaty of Versailles.

In the early years it was mainly used to train new pilots but after the Battle of Britain had ended a fighter squadron was stationed there for w while to protect nearby Berlin from Allied bombing raids.

In 1942 the Germans began to build a concrete, all-weather runway and the airfield became the home base of a transportation squadron, with Junkers JU 52 aircraft.

In early 1945 the airbase was bombed, and some of the buildings were destroyed, the runway was damaged but quickly repaired. Not long after that it suddenly grew in importance, Adolf Hitler’s personal planes were stationed there until April 22nd, 1945 when the Luftwaffe abandoned the base to escape the onrushing Soviet forces.

The defence of the base was left to the Volkssturm; a militia made up of young boys and old men but they also decided not run for it, and the Soviets took over the airfield without a shot being fired.

For the next nine years, the Soviets stationed bombers and fighters at the base after which it became a base for Helicopters. Over the years the importance of the base dwindled, and after 1991 it was completely abandoned.


Watch the exploration of this airbase, hangars, barracks and other buildings that have survived years of neglect.

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.

@joris1944 facebook.com/joris.nieuwint