Theres no doubt that the Soviets left their mark in (and around) Berlin after the end of the Second World War. Gigantic war memorials sprung up at the Tiergarten, Treptower Park and Schönholzer Heide and have subsequently become tourist attractions in their own right. While the Ehrenmal in Schönholz might be considered to the be least well know of the large memorial sites – there is another Ehrenmal hidden in the northern fringes of Berlin, the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Buch.
In 1946, the Soviet military administration ordered for the construction of a memorial to soldiers who died while capturing Berlin (and its surroundings). The Pyramid-Obelisk structure – which rests on a granite plinth was designed and constructed by the Architect Johann Tenne between 1947 and 1948. It intentionally incorporated Neoclassical elements as to blend in to the Schloßpark (the old castle park) behind it.
2 inscriptions were carved into the memorial; 1941-1945 – the years which the Soviet Union was at war with Germany and a larger russian inscription:
ВЕЧНАЯ СЛАВА ГЕРОЯМ ПАВШИМ ДЕНИЕ ЧЕЛОВЕЧЕСТВА ОТ ИГА ФАШИЗМА
which translates to:
“Eternal Glory to the Heroes who have fallen in the struggle for the liberation of Mankind from Fascism”
While the form and size of the memorial is quite similar to those that can be found in countless villages throughout eastern Germany, it does have some subtle differences. The Sowjetische Ehrenmal in Buch is relatively unique as is a multi-level structure that incorporates different materials such as granite, limestone and decorative bronze elements. The corners of the granite base are adorned by limestone columns and bronze flames, while the tip of the pyramid-obelisk is adorned with the obligatory bronze star.
After the monument was finished – 200 soldiers that died while fighting around Buch were buried underneath the memorial. After the Ehrenmal at the Schönholzer Heide was completed, the bodies were removed and laid to rest in the larger memorial. The memorial was renovated in the 1990s to the tune of 60,000 Marks (that’s €3ok in today’s money).
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Buch is a quaint little memorial. Unlike its 3 larger siblings, it’s not really worth heading to the edge of Berlin to see just this alone. But combined with a lovely stroll in the Schloßpark and the visit to the Schloßkirche make it an enjoyable Sunday trip. For this who are interested in some more history – Buch was home to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Hirnforschung (the Insitute for Brain Studies), where the Soviets brought the bodies of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun to be identified.
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Buch
13125 Berlin-Pankow (Buch)
Public Transport: Take the S2 to Buch. The memorial is just 150 meters down the road.