Commemorating fallen Soviet soldiers
Nestled among the green leafy park lands of Tiergarten, not far from the Brandenburg Gate you will find a memorial to the Soviet Troops who fell during the final days of the second world war.
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Today it is not only a place of tranquility, but also a sombre reminder of the huge cost of peace in 1945.
Strolling through the gardens of Treptower park it is surprising to come across the sheer scale of the Soviet War memorial and military cemetery. The scale of the monument however, seems in scale with the number of lost lives it commemorates.
Soviet architect, Yakov Belopolsky designed the Soviet War Memorial in commemoration of the Soviet soldiers who fell during the Battle of Berlin during April and May 1945. The memorial itself names some 7,000 of the 80,000 Soviet troops who fell during the final days of Nazi Germany.
The East German memorial was opened in 1949, serving as East Berlin’s central war memorial until reunification some forty years later.
Today it is a place of great peace and reverence. Here you can simply sit and enjoy the tranquility, or explore the history of the memorial.
The centre piece of the Soviet War Memorial is a towering statue of a young Soviet soldier. He is holding a German child, while his sword rests on a broken swastika, symbolising the fall of Nazi Germany. Such a hefty price was paid for that victory.
Sixteen stone sarcophoghi line a vast open space, each representing a Soviet republic.
Decorated with military reliefs, they are engraved in gold with Stalin quotes. The inscriptions appear in German on one side, Russian on the other.
As we strolled along either side of the memorial, my German speaking son was able to roughly translate a number of the inscriptions for me.
The memorial remains the largest Soviet memorial outside the Soviet Union. It commemorates around 80,000 members of the Soviet forces who fell during the final days of the Battle of Berlin.
The monument is maintained today under the terms of the reunification treaty