It was a “candy bomb, ” a treat dropped by American pilots to German children during the Berlin Airlift after World War II. Slack was an 8-year-old child in Berlin after the war, but she was never lucky enough to get one of the candy bombs until this year's Wings Over Flagler Rockin' the Runways in late March.
It started when Slack, who now lives in Palm Coast with her husband, Robert, a filmmaker, saw an online ad for the air show that featured a plane like the ones that had brought much-needed food and supplies to German survivors during the Berlin Blockade.
“I just happened to see it online and it was like, oh, my God, I can't believe this is happening, ” she said.
The Berlin Blockade from 1948-1949 was the first Cold War crisis after World War II. At that time, Berlin was in a portion of eastern Germany that was controlled by the then- Soviet Union. The United States, United Kingdom and France controlled the western part of Berlin and the Soviets controlled the eastern portion. In an effort to bring all of Berlin under Soviet control, Soviet troops in 1948 began blocking transportation into and out of all of Berlin.
The Allies responded by arranging a massive airlift, which included 200, 000 flights in one year that brought in as much as 5 tons of food and fuel per day to Berlin's Tempelhof Airport. The Soviet blockade of Berlin was lifted in 1949.
The planes that brought the much-needed supplies to Berlin included Douglas C-54E transport aircraft, which is what Slack saw in the online ad. The plane at Wings Over Flagler, now called the Spirit of Freedom, brought back all of her memories from that traumatic childhood, Slack said.
“You'd think after 70 years you'd get over something like that, but you just don't, ” she said. “All the memories of everything we went through just came back so forcefully.”
Her younger years were in no way a real childhood, she said. “I was 8 going on 80 years old. I saw things no child should see.”
Living in abject poverty among the bombed-out ruins of Berlin, she and her mother almost always had some kind of bread to eat, she said, but when buildings and stores were bombed, “groups of children would just clamber over all the buildings to see if there was anything we could use or trade.”
When the Berlin Airlift began, Slack heard about the candy bombs but lived too far from Tempelhof to get one of her own. Still, she was grateful for the supplies that were brought in.
You might also like:
Vintage Print of Air-plane Aviation Europe Berlin-staaken French 1932