Flights of fancy: the Zionist and Hitler's airport

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For a cosmetics billionaire, New York socialite and art collector who is also one of the world's most influential Jewish philanthropists, rescuing Adolf Hitler's favourite Berlin airport for posterity might seem an unlikely goal.

But yesterday, Ronald Lauder, the second son of the cosmetics-maker Estée Lauder, who died in 2004, was heading a last-ditch attempt to prevent closure of Berlin's Nazi-built Tempelhof. His suggestion is for a €350m [$460m or £235m] project to turn the relic of fascist architecture into a luxury fly-in beauty clinic for Europe's super rich.

With its vaulted ceilings and 3,000ft-long (0.9km) curved, stone terminal building, Tempelhof was once Europe's largest airport and a mammoth, even awe-inspiring, status symbol for the Third Reich. Its place in history was assured when it served as the crucial link to West Berlin during the Western Allies' Berlin Airlift in 1948.

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