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.
Construction and design of the Soviet War Memorial 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 of the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Buch – 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.
Translation of the Russian text
Two 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 €30k in today’s money).
Location and surroundings of the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Buch
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Buch is a quaint little memorial. Unlike its eleven 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 those who are interested in some more history – Buch was home to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Hirnforschung (the Institute for Brain Studies), where the Soviets brought the bodies of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun to be identified.
The Soviet War Memorial Buch is one of 12 Soviet War Memorials of Berlin. You can find an overview post here – The Soviet War Memorials of Berlin – with a condensed history of all Soviet War Memorials in Berlin, or you can click through the list below and read about each Soviet War Memorial individually.