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October 2001 - Nr. 10


The Editor
Thing of the Past
Antje berichtet
Sascha Lutz berichtet
Film Fest Notes
Film Festival
Four Generations
200 Years Newmarket
Ability School
Lulatsch 75 Years
Bucky Balls
Eco-friendly Food
Paintings returned
Scholarship Fund
2. Brief aus Kanada
3. Brief aus Kanada
Siegfried & Roy
Illinois Greetings
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Castles & Coziness
Spas in Germany
Gretzky & Neumann

Berlin Radio Tower Turns 75

   TWIG - When it first went up in the 1920s, Berliners dubbed it Langer Lulatsch (Longlegs). It’s not the tallest spire in the city these days, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Together with the Brandenburg Gate, the Wall and the Reichstag, Berlin’s 400-foot-high radio tower is as much a symbol of the capital today as the day it opened, September 3, 75 years ago.

Back then the Funkturm was widely hailed as a technical masterpiece. Albert Einstein delivered the opening address, while Berlin held its third major radio broadcasting exhibition (Große Deutsche Funkausstellung) at its feet, attracting visitors from near and far. The tower was to transmit signals from Germany’s first radio station, founded in 1923. A few critics were miffed that the Funkturm didn’t measure up to the Eiffel Tower, built 40 years earlier and soaring twice as high. A tight budget kept architect Heinrich Straumer from trying to make the new tower top its Paris forerunner.

But what it lacked in size, the Funkturm made up for in elegance. Visitors could dine in the tower’s two-story restaurant at 150 feet, or take in the view from an observation deck 350 feet high--still two of Berlin’s most popular wedding venues.

The tower played a major role in history as well. In 1929 it transmitted Germany’s first television signals. In 1948, during the Berlin Airlift, it served as a signal tower for Allied pilots bringing food and supplies across the Soviet blockade. West Berliners were unimpressed when a television tower more than twice its height was built in the East in 1969--revolving restaurant or no. By that time, most of the Funkturm’s duties had been taken over by another tower in Grundewald anyway.

The original tower still serves amateur radio buffs, and the German Radio Museum was established at its base in 1967. Berlin celebrated the Funkturm’s 75th birthday during the 43rd Internationale Funkausstellung, August 23 to September 2.

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