The Soviet War Memorial in the Treptow district of Berlin, located in the Treptower Park, was constructed between 1946 and 1949 on the initiative of the military council of the Soviet occupation zone in honour of over 20,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in the Battle of Berlin.
On April 16, 1945, the Red Army launched a double envelopment attack on Berlin. At the time, there were about two million civilians in the city. A small number of German soldiers from remaining Wehrmacht units, units of the Waffen-SS and members of the Volkssturm (usually men aged between 16 and 60) stood up to the 2.5 million-strong Soviet troops. Following crushing defeats, the Berlin defence troops surrendered on May 2, 1945. In the night of May 8/9, 1945, the German Wehrmacht surrendered unconditionally. Presumably over 20,000 Soviet soldiers, 20,000 German soldiers and 30,000 civilians died during the Battle of Berlin.
The war memorial is dedicated to the over 20,000 Soviet soldiers who were killed in the Battle of Berlin. About 7,000 Soviet soldiers were laid to rest on the burial grounds of the complex.
After the Soviet War Memorial in Berlin's Tiergarten park had been completed in 1945, the construction of the war memorial in Treptower Park was begun on the initiative of the Soviet occupation zone's military council. Prior to this, a work group led by architect Yakov S. Belopolsky, sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich, painter Alexander A. Gorpenko and engineer Sarra S. Valerius had won the competition for the memorial. The war memorial was inaugurated on the anniversary of the Wehrmacht's unconditional surrender, on May 9, 1949. The memorial complex encompasses several parts: visitors enter the complex through a kind of triumphal arch. The path from the entrance leads to a statue of the mourning »Motherland«, and from there it continues to an alley lined by weeping birches through a stylised archway onto the burial grounds. Opposite the gate stands an 11-metre tall bronze statue of a Soviet soldier carrying a child in one hand and a lowered sword in the other. The soldier stands on a smashed swastika, symbolising the Soviet Union's final victory over Germany. Reliefs on the 16 sarcophagi, which line the central area of the memorial, depict scenes from the »Great Patriotic War« as well as quotes by Joseph Stalin. During the time the GDR existed, events regularly took place at the memorial complex. Especially on May 8, the »Day of Liberation from Fascism«, officials from the Soviet Union and the GDR jointly participated in large-scale commemorative ceremonies. After German reunification, the Federal Republic of Germany took over preserving and caring for the Soviet war memorials. Until today, commemorative ceremonies are held at the memorial. Many relatives of the Soviet soldiers who were killed in action visit the burial grounds.
- Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park
Am Treptower Park
- accessible at all times