Work in Progress Portfolio PHO704

»Greetings from the Parade Ground«  – Composite Landscapes of an area in change

This portfolio continues the work I started in »The Paprika Village«, for the module »Surfaces and Strategies« of my studies at Falmouth University. Again, it is about the quarter »Sankt Stephan« in Griesheim, my hometown. I concentrate this time on the military aspect, which shaped for 137 years the place's appearance.

Critchley writes, that »the city is a spatial network of memory traces, but also a vast predective machine« (Critchley 2015, 40). The abandoned military buildings are the traces of several armies that acted here. Their decay indicates a change of the place in a nearby future. I try to capture the visible traces as long as it possible, learn about their history and show the result in this composite landscapes. I could say that I am building my own memory theatre.

»With the association of memory with locus and location,
the idea of a memory house, a memory place, or a memory theater was born.«
(Critchley 2015, 16 – 17)

1893 and today

The area in the south-east of Griesheim was used since 1855 for military purposes (Eckstein 2008, 15). »These events happened in the past, but their effects continue into the present,« writes Hirsch (Hirsch 2017, III). The traces I found on my walks, like the old airfield entrance, triggered the interest in discovering their history.

The Parade Ground

Postcards, often with idealised and sometimes humorous motifs are one of the sources to get an impression of the life on the parade ground. It is hard to imagine that on a yearly average, 20.000 soldiers lived here (Eckstein 2008, 16).

»Offizier Frühstücks-Casino« (Officers breakfast mess)

While the average soldier stayed in corrugated iron shacks, officers had a more comfortable life. What is a ruin today was the »Officer's breakfast mess«. It was built around 1900, on a site that is reclaimed by nature now.

The orange security area in the map shows the ground's security area. Interestingly, the streets on the 1915's plan of the camp are more or less on the same location as in today's residential area. 

»Le Camp du Griesheim«

As a result of the First World War, the German government had to agree to withdraw all German troops from the western front behind the Rhine. From 1919 to 1930, Griesheim was located in one of the bridgeheads of the French zone. The French army used the parade ground, and the streets got french names (Eckstein 2008, 110). Also, the postcards were used again, with the old motifs and a text changed to french.

The building here initially named »Wuerttemberg Officer's Club«, was a now a part of the French garrison. From 1937 on, it was used by the »German Research Institute for Sailplane Flights« (Engels in Göller and Holtmann 2008, 270). After WWII, the US Army used it until 2005.

»Darmstadt Dust Off«

American troops reached Griesheim and Darmstadt on 25 March 1945. They immediately confiscated the airfield and the parade ground area (Eckstein 2008, 226 – 227). The airfield was now called »Griesheim Army Airfield«. Several MEDEVAC (Medical evacuation) units were stationed here until 1992 (Jakowski and Gray in Göller and Holtmann 2008, 133 and Eckstein 2008, 226 – 232). They used »Dust Off« as a call sign, as usual in the US Army ('Casualty Evacuation' 2020).

Missiles and Mythology

Despite protests from the population of Griesheim, Nike missiles of the »Ajax« and later »Herkules«-type were stationed in Griesheim from 1957 on. These could be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads. The Army Airfield thus became a »Missile Facility« during the Cold War until the missiles were decommissioned in 1985 (Jakowski and Gray in Göller and Holtmann 2008, 138 – 139).

»Hessenflieger« and »Darmstadt Flying Club«

The airfield was founded in 1908 by August Euler. Even though most of the airport's history is military in nature, there have always been civilian clubs that have been able to use the grounds. It started with the »Aero-Club«, who trained glider-pilots. They had to stop this in 1957 because of the close distance to the Nike-missiles. Later, 1924 founded »Hessenflieger« and the »Darmstadt Flying Club«, founded by two American officers, used the airfield from 1972 until the American withdrawal in 1992 (Jakowski and Gray in Göller and Holtmann 2008, 149 – 150).

The »Stars and Stripes-Compound«

The newspaper for the US troops, reborn in London in 1942, was located in Griesheim since 27 September 1949. In former military barracks, right next to the airfield are newsroom, print shop and finance department located. In the 1950s the print run is 100.000 pieces. In 2000, the print run decreased, and the print shop in Griesheim is closed.

In 2008, the »Stripes« move to Kaiserslautern (Jaeger in Göller and Holtmann 2008, 317 – 327). Since this time, the area decays, like the pile of newspapers lying in the guardhouse for years.

Family housing

On the northern side of Nehringstreet, you find typical German post-war buildings. In the southern part, a different kind of architecture appears. What was fallow land, became in the 1980s the location for eight rows of terrace houses for American families. Made of wooden construction elements, they seem to be teleported from an American village. In opposite to their German neighbours, they weren't connected to the local supply network. They were supported with water and energy from the (US-) airfields power plant. In 2008, the site was deactivated.

I started with Critchley; I close with him. »Memory is repetition. Sure. But it is repetition with a difference« (Critchley 2015, 82). The abandoned Family housing will be torn down soon, and new residential buildings will take their place.

List of images used in the composite landscapes

Figure 1 (Title):

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Detail from the »Stars and Stripes«-Compound.

Figure 2:

Unknown maker. Stamped 1912. Gruss vom Griesheimer Übungsplatz [postcard, own collection].

Figure 3 (1893 and today): 

REICHSAMT FUR LANDESAUFNAHME. 1893. ‘(Composite of) Sheet 527. Darmstadt. Karte Des Deutschen Reiches.’ David Rumsey Map Collection [online]. Available at: [accessed 7 Nov 2020].

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Handheld panorama of the entrance area of »August-Euler-Flugplatz«

Figure 4 (The Parade Ground):

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Photograph of plastic soldiers »Airfix WWI German Infantry«.

Unknown maker. Stamped 1916. GRUSS vom TRUPPENÜBUNGSPLATZ DARMSTADT. Wellblechhausen [postcard, own collection].

Unknown maker. Stamped 1910. Kurgäste zur Entfettungskur a. d. Griesheimer Sand. [postcard, own collection].

Unknown maker. ca. 1900. Gruss vom Truppenübungsplatz Darmstadt, Batterie auf dem Heimweg. Sammlung Peter Merschroth [online]. Available at: [accessed 4 Dec 2020].

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. On the area of the former Parade Ground.

REICHSAMT FUR LANDESAUFNAHME. 1893. ‘(Composite of) Sheet 527. Darmstadt. Karte Des Deutschen Reiches.’ David Rumsey Map Collection [online]. Available at: [accessed 7 Nov 2020].

Figure 5 (»Offizier Frühstück-Casino« Officers breakfast mess):

Unknown maker. Stamped 1910. Übungsplatz bei Darmstadt Offizier Frühstücks-Casinos Waldhausen. [postcard, own collection].

Photogr. Kunstanstalt J. WOLFF. Stamped 1911. Uebungsplatz Darmstadt Offizier-Frühstückslokal.  [postcard, own collection].

Unknown maker. ca. 1900. Location map of the exercise ground. Stadtarchiv Griesheim.

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Inside the former Officer's mess.

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. The facade of the former Officer's mess.

REICHSAMT FUR LANDESAUFNAHME. 1893. ‘(Composite of) Sheet 527. Darmstadt. Karte Des Deutschen Reiches.’ David Rumsey Map Collection [online]. Available at: [accessed 7 Nov 2020].

-Militär Bauamt- KOLB. 1915. Truppenübungsplatz Darmstadt -LAGE-PLAN- des Barackenlagers. Stadtarchiv Griesheim.

Figure 6 (»Le Camp de Griesheim«):

Unknown maker. ca. 1920. Decorative elements from french postcards. Stadtarchiv Griesheim.

GREAT BRITAIN. WAR OFFICE. GENERAL STAFF. GEOGRAPHICAL SECTION. 1921. ‘Seine, Meuse and Rhine Basins. Shewing Areas of Occupation of the Allied Armies. July 1921. GSGS 3695b.’ Available at:

Photogr. Kunstanstalt J. WOLFF. Dated 1922. Le Camp de Griesheim. Le Grand Rue du Camp.  [postcard, own collection].

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. 3 Views of the ruins of the former Officer's mess.

Unknown maker. 1929. Stube 144, Infanterie Regiment Nr. 151e, 3. Kompanie, 25. August 1929. Sammlung Peter Merschroth [online]. Available at: [accessed 4 Dec 2020]

Figure 7 (»Darmstadt Dust Off«):

DOD FLIGHT INFORMATION PUBLICATION. 1984. Darmstadt Flughafen Aerodrome Chart (Militärflugplatz). Sammlung Markus Lenz [online]. Available at: [accessed 18 Nov 2020]

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. »Darmstadt Dust Off«-callsign on the airfield ground.

Unknown maker. ca. 1960s. Helicopter and tower building at Darmstadt Army Airfield. Archiv Griesheimer Anzeiger.

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. The August-Euler-Airfield today.

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Unbuilt model kit of a Bell UH-1D helicopter.

Figure 8 (»Missiles and Mythology«):

WESTERN ELECTRIC COMPANY. ca. 1954. NIKE – The U.S. Army's Guided Missile System. [PDF, online] New York. Available at: [accessed 30 Nov 2020].

Drawings taken from the »ADA Subcourse 703-3«: U. S. Army. ca. 1960s. ‘Launcher Area Course’. 2020. [PDF, online]. Available at: [accessed 30 Nov 2020].

Figure 9 (»Hessenflieger« and »Darmstadt Flying Club«):

Peter GEBAUER. 1992. Letzter Flug mit Wolfgang Rausch. Archiv Griesheimer Anzeiger.

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Tower building of the August-Euler-Airfield.

DOD FLIGHT INFORMATION PUBLICATION. 1984. Sichtan- und abflugstrecken (1984). Sammlung Markus Lenz [online]. Available at: [accessed 18 Nov 2020]

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Unbuilt model kit of a Cessna 127 Skyhawk.

Unkown maker. ca. 1992. Open day at the airfield. Stadtarchiv Griesheim.

Figure 10 (»The Stars and Stripes-Compound«):

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Inside the former guardhouse.

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Newspapers in the guardhouse.

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Entrance to the former »Stars and Stripes«-Compound today.

Unkown maker. ca. 1980s. Entrance to the »Stars and Stripes«-Compound. Archiv Griesheimer Anzeiger.

Figure 11 (»Family housing«):

Unknown maker. ca. 1955. View from Nehringstrasse in southern direction. Stadtarchiv Griesheim.

Unknown maker. 1989. Nehringstrasse with American family housing. Archiv Griesheimer Anzeiger.

Marcel RAUSCHKOLB. 2020. Details of the abandoned Family Housing today.


CRITCHLEY, Simon. 2015. Memory Theater. New York: Other Press.

ECKSTEIN, Ursula. 2008. Ecksteins Luftfahrtgeschichte Darmstadt. Darmstadt: Justus von Liebig Verlag.

HIRSCH, Marianne. 2017. ‘Ce Qui Touche á La Mémoire’. Esprit (2017/10), 42 – 61.

GÖLLER, Andreas and Annegret HOLTMANN. 2008. Ein Jahrhundert Luftfahrtgeschichte zwischen Tradition, Forschung und Landschaftspflege: der August-Euler-Flugplatz in Darmstadt-Griesheim. Darmstadt: WGB (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft).

'Casualty Evacuation'. 2020. Wikipedia. Available at: [accessed 4 Dec 2020].

Using Format