On 31 October 2020, the new Terminal 1 at Berlin Brandenburg Airport, BER for short, was opened. The new airport in the German capital region is named after Willy Brandt, who is regarded as one of the most outstanding statesmen of the 20th century. Prior to the start of operations, the memorial wall honouring Willy Brandt was officially unveiled in Terminal 1.
The memorial wall shows a portrait of Willy Brandt next to his famous words: “If I were asked to say what, apart from peace, was most important to me, then my answer would be: freedom.”
Visitors at the airport can also learn more about Willy Brandt’s life thanks to an online biography accessible via QR codes. The memorial wall is located in the public area of Terminal 1 on the E0 arrivals level, next to the main staircase leading to the check-in hall. The Willy Brandt wall was unveiled by the airport’s management together with the former President of the German Bundestag Dr. h.c. Wolfgang Thierse, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, and Katrin Lange, Minister of Finance and European Affairs of the State of Brandenburg.
Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, CEO, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH: “Berlin’s three airports in Tempelhof, Tegel, and Gatow have stood for the freedom of West Berlin since the Airlift. But Schönefeld Airport was also the gateway to the world for the GDR, despite travel restrictions. The blockade of West Berlin in 1948 left its mark on Willy Brandt and later determined his actions as Governing Mayor of the city. Freedom, as defined by Willy Brandt, also includes freedom of movement and the ability to travel without restrictions. Naming the new airport after Willy Brandt is the ideal choice. Berlin and Brandenburg, and Germany as a whole, can be proud of this.”
Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin: “Willy Brandt was one Germany’s great statesmen. As a Berliner and a German, as a European and a citizen of the world, he worked tirelessly in defence of freedom for all citizens. US President John F. Kennedy’s legendary visit to Berlin in 1961 took place during Willy Brandt’s tenure as Mayor. I am delighted that, by commemorating Willy Brandt at the new airport of the German capital region, we are emphasising the implicit importance of freedom of travel and cross-border encounters in relation to the freedom of us all.”
Katrin Lange, Minister of Finance and European Affairs of the State of Brandenburg: “The long journey of our new airport was not always and solely guided by very fortunate decisions. But now that the work has been completed, despite many efforts and difficulties, I would like to take this opportunity to point out that one decision was a happy one from the start – and that was the decision to name this airport after Willy Brandt. One could say that this decision could not have been a better one. It was Willy Brandt who declared in 1969: “We want to be and to become a nation of good neighbours, both domestically and abroad.” Thirty years after the peaceful revolution and the unification of Germany, this is a good time to remember who Willy Brandt was first and foremost: one of the great and unwavering fighters for the cause of freedom and democracy. And that is what this wall reminds us of. There is no better way to welcome future travellers from all over the world here at BER than with a word from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and great European, Willy Brandt.”
Former President of the German Bundestag Dr. h.c. Wolfgang Thierse, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation: “When BER opens tomorrow, the name of Willy Brandt will welcome millions of travellers from all over the world. The airport in the German capital region is thus a wonderful place to recall Willy Brandt’s claim that, as Berliners and Europeans, we have a responsibility to see freedom of travel as only one part of freedom.”