The Soviet World War Two Memorial in Treptower Park (Советский мемориал войны) Berlin is quite monumental – large in scale and meaning. The “Sowjetisches Ehrenmal in Treptow” was conceived by a collective of Russian artists and commemorates the 80,000 Red Army soldiers that died during the “Battle of Berlin” in May 1945. But this is not only a memorial – it is also the cemetery of 5,000 of those soldiers.
What struck me most about this memorial was actually that the 40 ft tall main statue (a man holding a little girl in one hand and sword in the other) stands on a broken swastika. In all the US imagery, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. Very powerful.
But there’s still something weird about a memorial for “the other country” in your defeated country, isn’t there? Then there are the negative stories you hear about how Russian soldiers supposedly treated Germans in Berlin, particularly women. Next come the thoughts that the dispute between the USSR and the USA was at the heart of why Germany was divided by a deadly border and that this memorial was in East Berlin.
The fact that there are 5000 soldiers buried under this memorial is haunting. The images on the large stones are disturbing. So I have rather mixed feelings about this memorial.
Watch a 1-minute video from the Soviet War Memorial in Berlin at MovingPostcard.com