A fascinating Cold War relic blending Western propaganda and mundane tourist information, for distribution to new arrivals at West Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport in or around 1966.
The Visitor’s Kit comprises a mimeographed welcome letter from Thomas A. Personett, Colonel, Commander USAF Berlin; two booklets, one recounting the recent history of Berlin as a contest for sovereignty between East and West, the other photographically illustrating fortifications and other sights along the inner German border; an October 14, 1966 issue of The Tabulator[:] U.S. Air Force-Aerospace Power for Peace, a broadsheet newspaper published by the U.S. Air Force at Tempelhof; a mimeograph “Tour Map” of West Berlin; a 12-page list of West Berlin restaurants, with commentary; and a large, folding, two-sided, color-printed map depicting Berlin on one side and transportation connections between West Berlin and West Germany on the other.
The large, colorful map of divided Berlin is an interesting example of persuasive cartography. The city is shown bisected by an red-brick wall and surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, both wildly out of scale relative to the cartography. Notes at right and below, rendered in German, English, French and Spanish, provide information about public transportation and border crossings.
Col. Personett (1918-2006) served in the Air Force for 30 years, including heading up the 50th Fighter Group and flying 100 P-47 missions over France during the Second World War. He commanded the base at Tempelhoff from July 1, 1966 through July 12, 1968, after which he served in Vietnam before retiring to Monument, Colorado in 1971.
Biographical information on Personett from his May 6, 2007 obituary in the Colorado Springs Gazette.