The airfield at Finowfurt, just north of Berlin, was first constructed in 1937 by the Nazi regime in preparation for World War II. In addition to its primary use as an airfield during the war, its workshops were also used to recondition captured enemy planes for use by the German Luftwaffe, and to recover and recycle usable spare parts from crashed aircraft.
After the war, Finowfurt was located in the Soviet sector of Germany, later to become the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). From 1945 on, it was used as a Soviet military airbase. Over the ensuing decades, multiple fighter squadrons were stationed here, flying initially Jak and later multiple generations of MiG planes.
Following the end of the Cold War, the last Russian fighters left Finowfurt in May of 1993. The base was handed back to the town and is now used as a civil airfield for light planes. The site also hosts an aviation museum, located at the western end of the airfield.
The Luftfahrtmuseum Finowfurt (Finowfurt Aviation Museum) contains over 10 hangars with thousands of pieces of aircraft memorabilia from both the World War II and Cold War periods—from jet engines and missiles to partial crash wreckages and fire engines, plus static exhibits including original pilot suits and ejector seats.
More than 10 Soviet aircraft are located around the grounds, and it’s possible to look inside a number of them. In addition to multiple MiG fighters, you can also see a Iljuschin 14 and a Tupolev Tu-134 passenger aircraft with Interflug livery stationed at the site. Interestingly, the museum also displays a larger-than-life statue of Vladimir Lenin. It was relocated to the museum after the end of the Cold War.
The Finowfurt aviation museum was established by volunteer enthusiasts with limited funds, but what the exhibits lack in panache is more than made up for by the feeling of being immersed in a previous era and culture, untouched for now by tourism.
Know Before You Go
Access is easiest by car. Entry costs 7 euro (as of 2019). Opening hours are listed on the official website. Descriptions are in German or Russian; there are no English translations.