Soviet War Memorial in Tiergarten

Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Public Art

Public Art: Soviet War Memorial

Architect: © Mikhail Gorvitis

Sculptors: © Vladimir Tsigal (17th September, 1917-) and Lev Kerbel (1917- 14th August, 2003)

Description: The Soviet War Memorial is dedicated to the Soviet Armed Forces who died during the battles between the Red Army and the German Army in World War II, and in particular the 80,000 Soviet soldiers who died during the  Battle of Berlin between April and May, 1945. The memorial features a curved stone walkway with a bronze statue of a Soviet soldier atop. The stone was taken from the Reich Chancellery which had been destroyed during the intense bombing of the city. The bronze soldier is wearing a thick coat and helmet, with a rifle slung over his right soldier. The left arm of the soldier is postioned deliberately to symbolize the Red Army's putting down of the German National Socialist state. The memorial also includes two Red Army ML-20 152mm gun-howitzers and two T-34 tanks.

Date Unveiled: The memorial was erected a few months after the taking of the city of Berlin in May, 1945.

Location: The memorial is located in Tiergarten on the 17 June Street side.

Inscription: The inscription under the statue of the bronze soldier is written in Russian but translated it reads, "Eternal glory to heroes who fell in battle with the German fascist invaders for the freedom and independence of the Soviet Union."

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Dr Andrew Taylor kindly providing the photographs.

Soviet War Memorial Trivia:

The Soviet memorial was erected in what Hitler had planned to be the "heart of Berlin".

Each year on VE Day (8th of May) there is a wreath laying ceremony held at the memorial.

Not all the names of the fallen soldiers are listed on the memorial andd interestingly none of the 2,500 soldiers who are buried in the park.

The memorial was built in the British sector of Berlin and up until the end of the Cold War it was constantly guarded by Soviet soldiers.

In 1970 one of the Soviet honour guards was severely wounded when Ekkehard Weil,a neo-Nazi, shot at him.

In 2010, just prior to Victory in Europe Day someone attacked the monument with red paint and wrote the words "thiefs", "murderers" and "rapists " all over it.

Controversy: Not all Berliners were happy that this memorial was erected in Tiergarten in clear view of the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. In fact, some were highly suspicious that this was more a propaganda stunt by the Soviets than a tribute to the soldiers who died. It was compounded when the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, as the monument was then seen as a sign of communist provocation as it was located on West German soil. It also didn't help that the British soldiers had to protect it from being destroyed by angry WestBerliners.

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