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WIESBADEN, Germany — It was dimly lit, often smoky and always the best place in post-war Wiesbaden to listen to music, dance, meet a German Fräulein and, on occasion in the late 1950s, even see Elvis Presley grip a stein.

The legendary Eagle Club in Wiesbaden closed decades ago, but a replica of it will "reopen" for one night later this month as part of the city’s Berlin Airlift 60th anniversary celebration. The plan is to convert part of the Wiesbaden Kurhaus, the club’s original location, back to the old establishment.

In addition, the city is assembling an exhibition of memorabilia that will be on display at the Kurhaus from June 27-29, and later at city hall from July 2-13.

"The role of Wiesbaden was important," said Hans-Jörg Czech, director of the Wiesbaden Museum. "It was the seat of the combined airlift task force."

Later this month, the United States, Germany, and England will commemorate the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49 with various events.

The U.S. Army, for example, is hosting a free open house at Wiesbaden Army Airfield on June 29 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The open house will include a symbolic candy drop, live music, helicopter rides and a chance to meet one of the veterans of the airlift. The airlift — the allied response to the Soviet land blockade of West Berlin — transported more than 2 million tons of goods to the besieged city.

Czech said the Wiesbaden exhibit will focus on the airlift as well as the city’s role in the historic operation. It will feature about 110 photos and 80 original items from that era, items ranging from navigation equipment to care packages.

The Eagle Club moved out of the Kurhaus in 1951, according to Torben Giese, a Wiesbaden Museum curator.

When Presley was in the Army serving in Germany, the establishment was in the Weisshaus.

At a news conference Wednesday, city officials said the June 28 event at the Kurhaus will feature jazz music, attire of that era, memorabilia and a few surprises.

Back in the day of the airlift, Giese said, "the Eagle Club was the best and biggest place" for GIs to get together. "It was lively."


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