Camp King Oberursel and the Berlin Airlift 70th

On 3 Feb 2019, our Camp King research group invited the public to a presentation about the ‘Berlin Airlift’ in commemoration of its 70-year anniversary.

It was held at the Kinderhaus at Camp King in Oberursel, and had a good number of visitors. All the chairs were occupied.

Mr. Manfred Kopp, also known as Mister Camp King, opened the event with a few insights of how a couple of ladies at Camp King at that time helped trigger the Berlin Airlift.

Ms. Sylvia Struck talked about the launch, logistics, costs, and impact of the Berlin Airlift.

Sylvia Struck

Ms. Maren Horn explained the connections between Camp King and the Berlin Airlift.

Maren Horn

Towards the end, Mr. Andi Andernacht (center) interviewed two contemporary witnesses, Mr. Beilfuss and Mr. Albrecht. Both had been in (and around) Berlin during the time of the Airlift.

Contemporary witnesses Erwin Beilfuss (left) and Günter Albrecht (right)

The local newspaper Usinger Anzeiger published the following article: Die Berliner Blockade und was Oberursel damit zu tun hat.

Bomber B17 ‘Hard to Get’ Delegation of Relatives coming to Camp King, Oberursel

A delegation of 11 relatives to the bomber crew B17, shot down near Rheinberg on 26 August 1944, is coming to Oberursel to learn more about this fateful day.

Manfred Kopp, the local historian, and I will welcome the group this coming Friday, 24 August 2018, at one of the Camp King facilities for the afternoon. After that, they will go to Aachen.

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26 August 1944

After being hit, three crew member die on board of the plane, while others try to get away by parachuting. Gunner Michael Vlahos is dead by the time he hits the ground,  gunner Richard Huebotter falls into the Rhine River, and is saved from drowning by a German, and then turned over to the German Forces.

While on the train to Oberursel Dulag (Transit Camp), two of the survivors are able to escape. Charles Evans and Harvey Purkey are caught and turned over, in the name of “self-justice”, to the population in the Hessian part of Groß-Gerau. A mob of 300 townspeople attack them with stones and iron bars. Severely injured, they try to get away, but then are beaten to death by two German soldiers (these two soldiers were hanged for their crime in 1946).

The other three – Huebotter, Dean Allen, and James Carey, are interrogated for a week at Camp King, before being sent off to a prison camp. At the end of the war, they are able to return home to their families in the U.S.A.

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The Institute for Stadtgeschichte is looking for contemporary witnesses at: 0209 169-8551 (isg@gelsenkirchen.de) or historian Ms. Susanne-Meinl@web.de

If you know a contemporary witness, please ask them to get in contact with one of us. Thanks.

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