Treptow Park – Memorial to Soviet Soldiers in Berlin

Berlin is considered to be one of the greenest European capitals. Vast parks for the recreation of the citizens. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Tiergarten, adjacent to the government quarter with the Reichstag in the central district of Berlin-Mitte. Tourists do not pass through the Tiergarten nor drive

About the same time with him (1876-1888) laid another large park – in the Treptow. Now his name in Germany, and in the republics of the former USSR, and in other countries of the world, is firmly connected with the memorial complex located here. It is dedicated to the Red Army soldiers who died in the battles for Berlin at the end of the Second World War. Only in this park they were buried about seven thousand – from more than 20 thousand Soviet soldiers who died during the liberation of the city at the very end of the war.

  • Memorial in Treptow Park

From the center of Berlin to the park it is convenient to get by train with one transfer – first by S7 or S9 train to Ostkreuz, and then via Ringbahn ring line S41 / 42. Here the lines S8 and S9 pass. The stop is called Treptower Park. The journey takes about 20 minutes. Then it remains to walk a little, Pushkin alley (Puschkinallee).

The military memorial in Treptow Park is the largest of these monuments outside the former Soviet Union and the most in the world along with the Mamayev Kurgan in Russia. A young soldier with a rescued German girl in her arms and a sword cutting a defeated swastika rises above the crowns of old trees on a grave hill.

Before the bronze soldier – a memorial field with other mass graves, sarcophagi, bowls for eternal fire, two red banners from granite, sculptures of kneeling soldiers – quite young and older. At the granite banners there are inscriptions in two languages: "Eternal glory to the soldiers of the Soviet Army who gave their lives in the struggle for the liberation of mankind". The sarcophagi themselves are empty, the soldiers are buried in the ground along the edges of the honor alley.

At the entrance, decorated with granite portals, visitors are greeted by the Motherland, grieving for her sons. She and the liberating soldier are the two symbolic poles that determine the dramaturgy of the whole memorial, which is framed by weeping birches, specially planted here in a reminder of Russian nature. And not only about nature.

In the guides and other descriptions of the Treptow Park, all sorts of detailed parameters are the size of the sarcophagi with bas-reliefs, the park area … when you are there, all this.

Retold and versions of who exactly was a warrior, who in April 1945, risking his life, saved a German girl. However, the author of the monument – the sculptor and front-line soldier Evgeni Vuchetich – that his liberator soldier has a symbolic meaning, and does not talk about a specific episode. He particularly emphasized this in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung in 1966.

The feat of Nikolai Masalov

Nikolai Masalov (1921-2001). The most common is the version of the historical prototype for the monument was soldier. A three-year-old girl was crying beside her dead mother in Berlin’s ruins. The voice of the Red Army was heard during the brief lull between the attacks on the Reich Chancellery of Hitler. Masalov volunteered to pull her out of the firing zone, asking him to cover it with fire. He was saved the girl, but was wounded.

In 2003, on the Potsdamer Bridge (Potsdamer Brücke) in Berlin, a tablet was erected in memory of the feat accomplished in this place.

Sowjetisches Ehrenmal im Treptower Park

Puschkinallee,

12435 Berlin

The story is based primarily on the memories of Marshal Vasily Chuikov. The very fact of Masalov’s exploit is confirmed, but in the days of the GDR, eyewitness testimony was collected and other similar cases throughout Berlin. Several dozens of them were collected. Before the assault in the city there were many residents. The National Socialists did not allow the civilian population to leave it, intending to protect the capital "the Third Reich" until the last.

Portrait resemblance and historical quotes

The names of the soldiers who were posing for Vuchetich after the war were known: Ivan Odarchenko and Viktor Gunaz. Odarchenko served in the Berlin commandant’s office. The sculptor sees him during sports competitions. After the opening of the memorial, Odarchenko happened to be on duty, and many visitors, who had not suspected anything, were surprised at the obvious portrait resemblance. By the way, at the beginning of the work on the sculpture he was holding a German girl, but then it was replaced by the little daughter of the commandant of Berlin, Major-General Alexander Kotikov.

The sword that cuts the swastika is a copy of the sword, which was owned by the first Pskov prince Vsevolod-Gabriel, the grandson of Vladimir Monomakh. Vuchetich was offered to replace the sword with a more modern weapon – an automatic weapon, but he insisted on his original version. It is also said that some military leaders offered to put in the center of the memorial complex not a soldier, but a giant figure of Stalin. This idea was rejected, from it, apparently, did not find support from Stalin himself.

ABOUT "Supreme Commander-in-Chief" resemble his multiple quotations, carved into symbolic sarcophagi in Russian and German. After the reunification of Germany, some German politicians demanded their removal, referring to crimes committed during the Stalinist dictatorship, but the whole complex, according to interstate agreements, is under state protection. No changes are possible without Russia’s consent here.

Reading Stalin’s quotes nowadays causes ambiguous feelings and emotions, makes us remember and think about the fate of millions of people in Germany and in the former Soviet Union times. But in this case, citations should not be torn from the general context, they are a document of history, necessary for its comprehension.

From the granite of the Reich Chancellery

The memorial in Treptow Park was erected immediately after the end of World War II, in 1947-1949. Cemeteries were transferred. The place was chosen by the Soviet command and fixed in order number 134. For construction, granite was used from Hitler’s Reich Chancellery.

A dozen projects participated in the art of competition organized by the Soviet military command in Berlin. Winners of the joint sketches of architect Yakov Belopolsky and sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich.

To make sculptural elements according to the sketches of Vuchetich attracted 60 German sculptors and 200 stonemasons, and 1200 workers took part in the erecting the memorial. All of them received additional food and food. In German workshops, bowls for the eternal fire and mosaics were also made in the mausoleum under the sculpture of a soldier-liberator. The main statue was cast in Leningrad and brought to Berlin by water.

In addition to the memorial in Treptow Park, the monuments to the Soviet soldiers immediately after the war were installed in two other places. In the park Tiergarten (Tiergarten), located in the central part of Berlin, about 2,000 fallen soldiers. In the Schönholzer Heide Park in Berlin’s Pankow district – more than 13 thousand.

During the GDR, the memorial complex in Treptow Park served as a venue for various kinds of official events, and had the status of one of the most important state monuments. On August 31, 1994, and a thousand Russian and six hundredths of the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Germany, and the parade was taken by the Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

The status of the GDR and the victorious powers in World War II. According to this document, the memorial is guaranteed to eternal life, and the German authorities are obliged to finance its content, to ensure integrity and safety. Which is done in the best way.

See also:

Tombs of Soviet POWs and Forced Laborers

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