- Soviet War Memorial (Treptower Park)
The Soviet War Memorial (sometimes translated as the Soviet Cenotaph), is a vast
war memorialand military cemeteryin Berlin's Treptower Park. It was built to the design of the Soviet architect Yakov Belopolskyto commemorate 5,000 of the 80,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in the Battle of Berlinin April-May 1945. It opened four years after the war ended on May 8, 1949, and served as the central war memorial of East Germany.
The monument should not be confounded with the
Soviet War Memorial (Tiergarten), built in 1945 in the Tiergartendistrict of what would later become West Berlin, or the Soviet War Memorial (Schönholzer Heide), in Berlin's Pankowdistrict.
The focus of the ensemble is a monument by Soviet sculptor
Yevgeny Vuchetich: a 12-m tall monument of a Soviet soldier with a sword holding a child, standing over a broken swastika. Vuchetich's inspiration for the monument was Soviet soldier Nikolai Masalov (1922-2004), who on April 30, 1945found a German girl wandering near Potsdamer Platzduring the Battle of Berlinand brought her to safety. Despite rumors that this episode was Soviet propaganda, owing to a journalist use of a different name for the girl's rescuer, [http://archiv.tagesspiegel.de/archiv/12.01.2002/ak-be-st-5551536.html] officially confirmed documents exist that substantiate at least five cases of Russian soldiers delivering small German children to orphanages during the Battle of Berlin. The base of the statue contains a small room lined in mosaics, in which wreaths are usually laid.
Before the monument is a central area lined on both sides by 16 stone
sarcophagi, one for each of the 16 Soviet Republicswith relief carvings of military scenes and quotations from Joseph Stalin, on one side in Russian, on the other side the same text in German. The area is the final resting place for some 5000 soldiers of the Red Army.
At the opposite end of the central area from the statue is a portal consisting of a pair of stylized
Soviet flags clad in marblerecovered from Adolf Hitler's demolished Reich Chancellery. (Leftover marble was alledgely used to line Mohrenstraße station on the Berlin U-Bahn, adjacent to the former chancellery.) These are flanked by two statues of kneeling soldiers.
Beyond the flag monuments is a further sculpture, along the axis formed by the soldier monument, the main area, and the flags, is another figure, of the Motherland weeping at the loss of her sons.
In recent years, the ensemble has undergone a thorough renovation. In 2003 the main statue was removed and sent to a workshop on the island of
Rügenfor refurbishment. It was replaced on May 4, 2004.
Memorial to Polish Soldiers and German Anti-Fascists
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=52.486125,13.471599&spn=0.002508,0.006809&t=k&hl=en Satellite photo of the Memorial] - centered on the statue of a Soviet soldier holding a German girl
* [http://www.war-memorial.net/mem_det.asp?ID=98 Photos of the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park]
* [http://www.roger-dale.com/site/Home-11.html Roger Dale: paints views of Treptower Park]
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