BERLIN PAST: BATHING IN THE TIERGARTEN
Image by Otto Donath, through Bundesarchiv.
In 1947 the city´s oldest public park, the Tiergarten, was still used for farming: horticulture instead of “amusemang” (Berlinerisch-French word). In fact, the site was divided into 3,000 allotments where Berliners were able to grow their own produce, necessary to overcome severe food shortage which followed the war and the disastrously cold winter of 1946/1947 (Hungerwinter).
Out of 200,000 trees growing in the Tiergarten in 1939 only 700 survived the war and the ensuing tree-felling: Berliners needed the wood to cook and to keep their families warm. Aesthetic aspects had to make room for bitter reality.
However, the park was about to be resurrected: on March 17, 1949 Ernst Reuter, West Berlin´s first Mayor, planted a small linden tree, which was the first out of 250,000 trees donated in 1949 by West Germany and transported to West Berlin during Berlin Blockade.
The trees for the Tiergarten arrived as part of the Luftbrücke, Berlin Airlift.