The Battle of Berlin all but marked the end of the Second World War in Europe. To get to this point, the Soviet Army advanced on Berlin with a troop strength of 2,5 Million soldiers to crush the remnants of the Third Reich. Roughly a million Wehrmacht, SS, Police, Hitler Youth and Volkssturm draftees (anyone between 16 and 60 who hadn’t been conscripted for the military) were left to defend the city to the last bullet and breath.
After 17 days the Germans had finally lost the battle – though it would be another 6 days until they finally capitulated. The Red Army had lost over 80,000 Soldiers, while the Germans had lost up to an estimated 100,000 soldiers and over 20,000 civilians.
The construction of honorary cemeteries and memorials for the Soviet Army in East Germany began immediately after the war at the discretion of the Soviet Troop Commanders. The memorials were almost always strategically placed in geo- and topographical important locations like public parks, market places and train stations – but also often next to other important German war memorials as a deliberate juxtaposition.
The majority of these soviet war memorials and cemeteries have an obelisk or stele at the center, adorned with various dedications, names and symbols of the USSR – and while their “configuration” might differ, they all followed a certain soviet architectural style. According to official east German figures, there were over 300 Soviet Honorary Cemeteries in East Germany by 1967.
With the signing of the 2+4 treaty (where the Four Allied Powers renounced all rights they held in Germany – both east and west, allowing a united Germany to become fully sovereign the following year) – both the foreign ministers of Germany and East Germany assured the occupying axis powers in the Bulletin Nr 109 (dated 14th of Sep. 1990) that they would retain and care for the monuments and memorials erected on German soil which were dedicated to the victims of the War, and the same applied to all war graves. This explains the memorials still exist in Germany today.
Today, most people are aware of at least the “Big Two” Soviet War Memorials in Berlin – The Soviet War Memorial in the Tiergarten, and the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park. They are mentioned in every tourist guide and have become a staple attraction. BUT they are not the only ones in Berlin. Berlin actually has 12 Soviet War Memorials spread throughout the former east and (one of them in the) west sector (and quite a few honorary plaques and murals) so I decided to track them all down and document them.
All Sowjetische Ehrenmale listed in here have their own single article, with more photos and in some cases expanded information. In addition, you’ll also find a map with all the Soviet War Memorial locations in Berlin at the bottom of this article.
- Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten (Straße des 17 Juni)
- Soviet War Memorial Treptower Park
- Soviet War Memorial Schönholzer Heide
- Soviet War Memorial Buch
- Soviet War Memorial Marzahn
- Soviet War Memorial Herzbergstraße
- Soviet War Memorial Kaulsdorf
- Soviet War Memorial Rummelsburg
- Soviet War Memorial Staaken
- Soviet War Memorial Schöneiche
- Soviet War Memorial Hohenschönhausen
- Soviet War Memorial Güterfelde
- Soviet War Memorial FAQ
- What was the first Soviet War Memorial built in Berlin?
- What was the last Soviet War Memorial built in Berlin?
- What is the largest Soviet War Memorial in Berlin?
- What is the smallest Soviet War Memorial in Berlin?
- How many Soviet War Memorials are there in Berlin?
- How many Soviet War Memorials are there in Germany?
- List of all single Soviet War Memorial articles
- Map of the Soviet War Memorials in Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten (Straße des 17 Juni)
Arguably the most important Soviet War Memorial in Berlin (next to the one in Treptower Park) is the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Tiergarten. Its size and central location – in the heart of Berlin – were a deliberate choice to make the grandest statement possible.
The decision to build the Memorial was made by the war council of the 1st Belorussian Front of May 1945 by the group for Monumental/Memorial buildings of the 27th Administration for special construction projects of the ministry for the defense of the USSR, who ordered chief construction manager Major Grigori Krawzow (who was also responsible for the construction of the Soviet Memorial in Treptower Park, Schönholzer Heide, and the Seelower Höhen) to lead the construction of the first Soviet Victory monument.
The Soviet Memorial was strategically placed in the Tiergarten next to the “Siegesallee”, just a stone’s throw away form the Reichstag, Reichskanzlei and Brandenburger Tor. The German war of aggression started here – and it ended here.
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Tiergarten was designed by the sculptors Wladimir Zigal and Lew Kerbel as well as the architect Nikolai Sergijewski, and was unveiled on the 11th of November 1945 after only 3 months of construction. Various sources both confirm and debunk the legend that the memorial was built with granite taken from the destroyed Reichskanzlei.
The Soviet War Memorial in the Tiergarten is unique among its fellow memorials, as it is the only Soviet Memorial of its kind to be located in the Western Sector. Despite having been located on the British Sector of Berlin, the other 3 axis powers approved of its construction.
The entrance of the memorial is flanked by two type T-34 tanks (which had first entered Berlin), and two 152mm artillery guns – which sounded off the end of the war. Further up the stairs are two stone sarcophagi engraved with the names of 9 “Heroes of the Soviet Union” who died in the Battle of Berlin.
The center piece of the memorial is an 8-meter-tall statue of a Red Army Solider stretching out his left arm over the remains of his fallen brothers. While some interpret the gesture to symbolize the Soviet Union “putting down” Nazi Germany, Lew Krebel later said the following: “The war is over. The solider is saying goodbye to his fallen comrades and is returning home. That is the point of the memorial”.
The Russian text on the column reads:
Вечная слава героям павшим в боях с немецко фашистскими захватчиками за свободу и независимость Советского Союза 1941 – 1945*
The English translation reads:
Eternal glory to heroes who fell in battle with the German fascist invaders for the freedom and independence of the Soviet Union 1941 – 1945
A colonnade of six granite pillars span out behind the statue of the soldier, representing the six branches of armed service which took part in conquering Berlin. Each of the six pillars is additionally engraved with the names of 35 fallen soldiers. Behind the colonnade is the final resting place of around 2,500 Soviet soldiers and officers who died during the capture of Berlin.
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Tiergarten
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Tiergarten | Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten
Address: Straße des 17. Juni 4, 10557 Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Treptower Park
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park dates back to the autumn of 1946, when the Soviet Military Administration of Germany launched a competition for the design of a memorial, which was sought to emphasize on the liberation from Nazism, rather than the victory over Germany.
The Soviet monument in the Treptower Park was created after the end of the Second World War. In the autumn of 1946, the Military Council of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany had launched a competition for the design of a memorial in which it was explicitly demanded that the idea of victory, rather than liberation from national socialism, should be the focus. This was underscored even more when materials, which could have been used (and were greatly needed) to build new housing quarters in Berlin, but were used to build the Soviet War Memorial instead.
The proposal of a Soviet “creator collective” under the direction of the architect Jakov S. Belopolski, the sculptor Yevgeni W. Wuchetich, the painter Alexander A. Gorpenko and the engineer Sarra S. Walerius were selected for the execution of 33 designs. In 1947, a special unit of engineering officers was commissioned with the implementation, under whose direction German companies of the different trades carried out the design.
On May 8th, 1949, an impressive 9-hectare cemetery was erected between the Puschkinallee in the north and the Am Treptower Park road in the south, on the grounds of what was formerly a hippodrome-shaped sports field designed by Gustav Meyers from 1876 to 1888.
The entrance areas to the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal along the Puschkinallee are equipped with two round arch portals. The access roads lead to a forecourt with the 3-meter high granite figure symbolising the “Motherland”. A promenade flanked by funerary birches leads past two huge stylized red-granite flags to the central part of the complex, the actual cemetery of honor. Next to each flag one young and one older kneeling soldier.
At the foot of the raised plateau, five lawn squares are located in the central axis, symbolically shaped as community tombs, framed by a wide jewelry mosaic path. On each side of the central area are eight sarcophagi of limestone blocks, which symbolize the 16 republics of the soviet union and are decorated with reliefs from the “Great Patriotic War” from 1941 to 1945 and quotes from the Soviet Dictator Stalin.
Each sarcophagus depicts a different theme – The Germans attack, Destruction and suffering in the Soviet Union, Sacrifice and renunciation of the Soviet people and support of the army, the heroic army, Sacrifice and suffering of the army, Victory, and a Hero’s Death.
The graves of the more than 7,000 fallen and buried Red Army soldiers are located behind the sarcophagi in the lawns under the plane trees.
At the end of the complex is the main monument of the monument: the cone-shaped mausoleum hill with a crypt, which serves as a base for the main figure, the red army soldier. The mount and the pavilion were modeled after a “Kurgan” – a medieval Slavic grave mound used in the Don lowlands.
The interior of the crypt is lined with a mosaic frieze, representing the 16 Soviet republics, and two lines of text
Heute erkennen alle an, daß das Sowjetvolk durch seinen aufopfernden Kampf die Zivilisation Europas vor den faschistischen Pogromhelden gerettet hat. Darin besteht das große Verdienst des Sowjetvolkes vor der Geschichte der Menschheit.
Ныне все признают, что советский народ своей самоотверженной борьбой спас цивилизацию Европы от фашистских погромщиков. В этом великая заслуга советского народа перед историей человечества.
Which in English translates to:
Now everyone recognizes that the Soviet people, through their selfless struggle, saved the civilization of Europe from the fascist pogroms. This is the great merit of the Soviet people to the history of mankind.
It’s worth noting, that despite all the attention to detail, the German version has a spelling/grammar mistake in it (das große Verdienst).
The mosaic was created by the August Wagner – the same company who created the mosaics for the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche and the Oberbaumbrücke in Berlin. The Soviet soldier, bronze with a child rescued in his arm, and his sword lowered over a crushed swastika, symbolizes the crushing of national socialism and a glimpse into a peaceful future.
Together with the pavilion, the statue towers 30 meters high over the 10-hectare large memorial. The sculptor of the statue stated in multiple interviews, that the Soviet soldier with the “rescued” child was merely a symbolic image, and that it wasn’t related to a specific event. Though legends and stories came up after the war and multiple soviet soldiers recounted a story which was very similar to the depiction of the statue.
The statue along with the one in Volgograd and Magnitogorsk form what could be considered the largest tryptic in the world. More about this in the individual post about the Soviet War Memorial Treptower Park.
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park | Soviet War Memorial Treptower Park
Address: Puschkinallee, 12435 Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Schönholzer Heide
Since the 19th Century, the Schönholzer Heide has been a popular day trip destination for Berlin Families. Until the early 20th Century, the Heide was home to a Mulberry Plantation, a Ballroom, a girl’s school, film studio, outdoor theater and amusement park. During the Second world War sections of it were converted into a forced labor camp.
After the end of the war the Russians used the park as a storage yard for dismantled factory equipment that was intended to be shipped back to the Soviet Union as reparations. While Stalin had already planned to erect a memorial in Berlin directly after the war it wasn’t until 1947 when construction began at the Schönholzer Heide, and it took until 1949 for the Memorial to be completed.
The memorial and war cemetery, which was the final resting place of over 13000 soldiers and officers was designed by the Soviet Architects K.A. Solowjow, M.D. Belawenzew und W.D. Koroljow and the sculptor G. Perschudtschew.
Despite being somewhat more secluded and less well known than the other two large Soviet War Memorials, the Soviet War Memorial Schönholzer Heide, actually is the largest “Russian” cemetery outside of Russia, and is the final resting place of more soldiers than both the Tiergarten and Treptower Park memorials combined.
The Entrance of the Ehrenmal is flanked by two granite pillars with symbolic wreaths and bronze bowls with an eternal burning flame. The main entrance consists of two gatehouse towers made out of red granite. Each of them is decorated with a large bronze relief representing the fighting and grieving soviet people, while the wall of the gatehouse is decorated with 8 coat of arms depicting the various soviet military branches.
The inside of each gatehouse contains a (symbolic empty) urn and a lovely quote by Stalin – both in German and Russian – praising the heroic deeds of the Red Army and the Soviet Union’s respect of all people, even the Germans.
DIE STÄRKE DER ROTEN ARMEE BESTEHT DARIN DASS SIE KEINEN RASSENHASS GEGEN ANDERE VÖLKER, AUCH NICHT GEGEN DAS DEUTSCHE VOLK, HEGT UND HEGEN KANN, DASS SIE IM GEISTE DER GLEICHBERECHTIGUNG ALER VÖLKER UND RASSEN, IM GEISTE DER ACHTUNG DER RECHTE ANDERER VÖLKER ERZOGEN IST.
СИЛА КРАСНОЙ АРМИИ СОСТОИТ В ТОМ ЧТО У НЕЕ НЕТ И НЕ МОЖЕТ БЫТЬ РАСОВОЙ НЕНАВИСТИ К ДРУГИМ НАРОДАМ В ТОМ ЧИСЛЕ ИК НЕМЕЦКОМУ НАРОДУ ЧТО ОНА ВОСПИТАНА В ДУХЕ РАВНПРАВИЯ ВСЕХ НАРОДОВ И РАС В ДУХЕ УВАЖЕНИЯ К ПРАВАМ ДРУТНХ НАРОДОВ
The English translation:
The strength of the Red Army was that it had no, and could not have any, racial hatred neither towards other peoples nor the German people and that they were raised in the belief of equality of all peoples and races, and in the spirit of respect towards other’s rights.
The ceiling consists of several hundred different pieces of stained glass, creating a large mural of the banner of the Soviet Union (the whole thing feels quite like an Egyptian tomb).
The whole cemetery is laid out so that it leads to the central memorial – a statue of Mother Russia. The central section is covered by patches of grass and red flowers, which are flanked by 16 grave chambers. There is another path which leads around the central section, which is lined with another 100 bronze grave plaques on which the names, ranks and birth years of 2647 fallen Soviet soldiers are inscribed (only 1/5 of the fallen were identified, the rest remained anonymous).
An oversized statue of Mother Russia, grieving over her fallen son (who is draped in the soviet flag of victory) guards the obelisk. If you look close enough, it bears a slight resemblance to the Christian Pieta.
The base of the 33,5 m high, grey syenite obelisk is made out of black porphyry blocks and is decorated with the names of 42 Soviet officers. The base of the obelisk contains a domed (quite resembling a church) honor hall with wreaths and flowers from various ex-soviet republics – while the crypt underneath is the final resting place of 2 soviet colonels. The obelisk itself is inscribed on the front and back (in Russian and German) with a few lines of praise to the Soviet Soldiers. Another smaller memorial lies behind the obelisk – a memorial to the Soviet soldiers who died while under German captivity.
The memorial was closed in 2011 for renovations – and after over 2 years and 10,3 million euros it reopened to the public in August 2013.
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Schönholzer Heide
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Schönholzer Heide | Soviet War Memorial Schönholzer Heide
Address: Germanenstraße, 13156 Berlin Schönholz
April- September: 7:00 – 19:00
October – March: 8:00 – 16:00
Soviet War Memorial Buch
In 1946, the Soviet military administration ordered for the construction of a memorial to the 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.
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 in English 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). Sadly, it seems like the War Memorial in Buch is a frequent target of senseless vandalism – forcing the city to shell out thousands of euros to remove splatered paint.
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Buch
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Buch | Soviet War Memorial Buch
Address: Wiltbergstraße, 13125 Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Marzahn
The Soviet War Memorial, which sits on the northwestern end of the Parkfriedhof Marzahn – a large cemetery park in Marzahn – was officially unveiled on the 7th of November 1958. The entrance to the memorial is flanked by symbolic flags of red granite lowered to mourning.
Along with the flags are two granite stones with the inscription in German:
Ewiger Ruhm den Helden, die für die Freiheit und Unabhängigkeit der sozialistischen Heimat gefallen sind
And in Russian:
Вечная слава героям, павшим за свободу и независимость социалистической родины
Which translates into English:
Eternal glory the heroes who fell for the freedom and independence of the socialist homeland
The center of the memorial consists of a raised ten-meter-high red granite obelisk, topped with a hollowed-out star (which over time has acquired a blue oxidation patina). The base of the Obelisk contains the following inscriptions
EURE GROSSEN HELDENTATEN SIND UNSTERBLICH
EUER RUHM WIRD JAHRHUNDERTE ÜBERLEBEN
DIE HEIMAT WIRD EUCH STETS IN ERINNERUNG BEHALTEN
ВЕЛИКИЕ ПОДВИГИ ВАШИ БЕССМЕРТИБІ
СЛАВА О ВАС ПЕРЕЖИВЕТ ВЕКА.
ПАМЯТЬО ВАС НАВСЕГДА СОХРАНИТ РОДИНА.
Which Roughly translates into English:
Your heroic deeds are immortal, your fame will last for centuries, your homeland will always remember you.
Off to the side is a pergola (a shaded walkway, passageway, sitting area) with a symbolic urn made of limestone, which contains the ashes of 142 fallen Soviet soldiers. The cemetery was used as the official cemetery of the Soviet Garrison of Berlin between 1945 and 1959. During that time period, 283 Soviet citizens were buried here; 151 Military personnel and 132 civilians (including 54 children).
The soldiers were initially buried at the Schlosspark Biesdorf, but were transferred over to the Memorial in Marzahn in 1957/58. The Officer’s graves are located on the central pathway between roses and dwarf medlars, surrounded by a thuja hedge. The other graves can be found to the left of a path by a hornbeam hedge.
The Parkfriedhof Marzhan is a very large cemetery park, packed with trees, memorials and graves – but in contrast the large lawns and birch trees planted on the edges give the impression of the wide Russian landscape.
The remains of several unknown soviet soldiers were discovered in 1992 and 1993 during construction work in Berlin Mitte and in Lichtenberg, and were buried here with military honors. The Soviet Memorial and cemetery were renovated between 1997 and 1998.
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Marzahn
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Marzahn | Soviet War Memorial Marzahn
Address: Wiesenburger Weg 10, 12681 Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Herzbergstraße
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Herzbergstraße can be found on the grounds of the Evangelisches Krankenhaus Königin Elisabeth Herzberge in Lichtenberg (Queen Elisabeth Herzberge Protestant Hospital). When Nazi Germany capitulated on the 8th of May, 1945, the Soviet Army partially took over the Hospital to take care of its wounded soldiers and officers. By November 1945, the Soviets forced all patients and staff to evacuate the hospital within 3 days to a repurposed school in the district of Berlin-Friedrichshagen. After months of difficult negotiations, the staff and patients were allowed to use 3 buildings again in 1946.
An undisclosed number of officers and soldiers died whilst being treated for their wounds in the Hospital, and were then buried on the grounds of the hospital. To accompany the graveyard, the soviets erected a gateway and a small obelisk-like memorial. The Obelisk is decorated on the top on each side with what appears to a relief of the medal “Hero of the Soviet Union”.
The base of the soviet memorial contains a solitary white plaque with the date “8 Mai 1945” on it. The indentations on the sides make it appear as if there were previously other plaques attached as well – but those seem to have been lost over time. Some German literature also refer to this memorial as “Denkmal zur Befreiung vom Faschismus” – “Monument to the liberation of fascism”, though the east German and Russian literature simply refers to it as a Soviet War Memorial.
The soldiers and officers that were once buried here were moved over to the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Schönholzer Heide sometime around 1949. The gate makes the memorial look somewhat oversized once the graves had been moved, as it feels like something is missing – but it’s an interesting memorial nevertheless due its unconventional styling.
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Herzbergstraße
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Herzbergstraße | Soviet War Memorial Herzbergstraße
Address: Herzbergstraße 79, 10365 Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Kaulsdorf
Not much aside from the basic facts are known about the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Kaulsdorf. When the Soviets marched into Kaulsdorf (back then a district of Lichtenberg), they buried their war dead in the local cemetery in the Bordauer Straße. The Soviets built a memorial in 1946 consisting of an Obelisk and several stone plaques with inscriptions to commemorate those who died and were buried there. The dead were moved to the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal in Treptower Park between 1947 and 1948, despite it not being officially finished until 1949.
It’s worth noting that the Obelisk is topped by a gold star, rather than the usual red star. The plaques at the base of the memorial are quite decorative and contain the following Russian inscriptions:
ВЕЧНАЯ СЛАВА ВАМ БОГАТЫРИ РУССКОГО НАРОДА ОТСТОЯАВШИМ ЧЕСТЬ СВОБОДУ И НЕЗАВИСИМОСТЬ НАШЕ РОДИНЬ
Eternal glory to you bogatyr*, who have defended the honor, freedom and independence of our homeland
ВЕЧНАЯ СЛАВА ВАМ ГЕРОИ ОТСТОЯАВШИЕ ЧЕСТЬ СВОБОДУ И НЕЗАВИСИМОСТЬ НАШЕ РОДИНЬІ
Eternal glory to you heroes who defended the honor, freedom and independence of our homeland.
ВЕЧНАЯ СЛАВА ВОИНАМ КРАСНОИ АРМИИ ПАВШИМ В БОРЬБЕ ЗИ ВЗЯТИЕ г. БЕРЛИН
Eternal glory to the fighters of the Red Army, who fell in the fight for the capture of Berlin
*One of the plaques mentions БОГАТЫРИ or Bogatyr. The word Bogatyr has its origin in the Russian epic poems called Bylinas, and is used to denote a hero (though originally the word came from the Mongolian baatar) .
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Kaulsdorf
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Kaulsdorf | Soviet War Memorial Kaulsdorf
Address: Brodauer Straße 12, 12621 Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Rummelsburg
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Rummelsburg – or as it is also alternatively known Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Nöldnerstraße or Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Lichtenberg is somewhat shrouded in mystery. It seems like there is very little publicly available information available for this monument. It doesn’t seem to be listed in the Districts Memorial Database, and none of the literature I could dig up seemed to mention anything substantial
What we do know is that it must have been built between 1946 and 1953. A memo from 1953 states that the cenotaph in the Nöldnerstraße had only been “walled in” along the street, but an overall enclosure was absolutely necessary.
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Nöldnerstraße is located on the grounds of the Erlöserkirche. I asked if they had any information and an “established” member of the community gave me the following information:
At the end of April, beginning of May 1945, around 200 Soviet Soldiers were killed in the area. They were buried next to the church. After construction began with the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park, the bodies were exhumed and laid to rest at the memorial in Treptower Park. The Obelisk now serves as a place of remembrance.
Considering that the construction of the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park was completed in 1949 – the Memorial at the Nöldnerstraße could have only been constructed between June 1945 and June 1949 (or at least it would have been highly unlikely for them to build the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Rummelsburg afterwards). The Soviet War Memorial Rummelsburg is an Obelisk, constructed out of simple bricks with a bronze star at the top. Its flanked by two grey flower pots but they seem to be a later addition by the church. Unlike the other Soviet Memorials, it only has one bronze plaque in German:
Ruhm und Ehre den Helden der Sowjetarmee
Which translates into English:
Glory and Honor to the Heroes of the Soviet Army
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Rummelsburg
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Rummelsburg / Soviet War Memorial Rummelsburg
Address: Nöldnerstraße 43, 10317 Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Staaken
Spandau must have one of the highest densities of memorials in all of Berlin. Wherever you go, you’ll spot a plaque, statue or memorial dedicated to something or someone. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that you’ll find one of Berlins 12 Soviet War memorials here, more specifically in the district of Staaken.
The village of Staaken and its surroundings (known as West-Staaken) fell under British occupation after the war, but it didn’t stay under their control for long, as they handed it over to the Soviets in 1951. But why? All of the four occupational forces were to have their own airport in their sector. The Americans had Tempelhof, the Soviets had Schönefeld, the French Tegel and the British had Gatow.
There was a light snag though as the main road leading to the airport (Seeburger Zipfel) and a plot of land penciled in for an expansion were in the Soviet zone. The Soviets had been eyeing up the Airport in Staaken so a land swap was arranged in 1951. The Soviets received Groß Glienicke and Staaken, while the British got the Seeburger Zipfel in Spandau. That this didn’t go over too well with the Staaken residents was an understatement.
Its unclear when exactley the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Staaken was errected, but we can narrow the timeframe down a bit. A plaque on the base of the Soviet War Memorial states “Dedicated by the Socialist Unity” – Socialist Unity in this case referring to the SED, the Socialist Unity Party. The SED came into being on the 22nd of April, 1946, and Staaken was handed over to the Soviets in 1951 – so its safe to assume that the Soviet War Memorial Staaken was erected sometime after 1951, most likely on an anniversary of the “liberation” of Staaken.
Unlike the other Soviet War Memorials in Berlin, the one in Staaken is the only one not to be directly built or ordered to be built (at least not to our knowledge) by the Soviets, but instead by the East Germans.
The base of the memorial has 3 texts in German and in Russian.
[DE] Gewidmet von der sozialistischen Einheit
[EN] Dedicated by the Socialist Unity
And two in Russian reading:
[RU] ВПАМЯТЬ ОСВОБОЖДЕНИЯ Г. ШТААКЕН КРАСНОИ АРМИЕЮ
[EN] In memory of the liberation of Staaken by the Red Army
[RU] ДА ЗДРАВСТВУЕТ ПОБЕДОНОСНАЯ КРАСНАЯ АРМИЯ
[EN] Long live the victorious Red Army
The rather short memorial is topped by a red star, a wreath and a red banner – while the front has a German inscription reading:
[DE] Zum Andenken an die Befreiung am 25. April 1945 durch die Rote Armee
[EN] In memory of the liberation on April 25, 1945 by the Red Army
Again, quite unusual to have a soviet war memorial with such a prominent German text. It’s interesting to note that the memorial itself isn’t in the usual obelisk shape, instead quite the opposite. At first glance, you wouldn’t really notice anything unusual about the shape of the memorial, but the longer you look the more it seems like something is different. Well the reason for the slightly strange shape of this memorial is because its upside-down! In 1901, the village of Staaken erected a 2-meter-high commemorative sandstone obelisk in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Kingdom of Prussia (a so-called Königstein).
The obelisk was topped with a golden crown and had a decorative inscription. When the Soviets came, they chopped the Obelisk in half, removed the crown and turned it upside-down. Hence the odd shape. An unknown number of red army soldiers were buried here, but their bodies were moved to the Soviet War Memorial Schönholzer Heide. The memorial was vandalized in 1991 and the red star was knocked off – but it was restored again in 2002. Local politicians from the CDU wanted to remove the memorial and restore the Königstein, but the Denkmalschutz vetoed the idea.
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Staaken
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Staaken | Soviet War Memorial Staaken
Address: Nennhauser Damm 72 , 13591 Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Schöneiche
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Schöneiche is one of the farthest and most difficult Soviet War memorial in Berlin to get to. Schöneiche bei Berlin as its name suggests is not actually in Berlin, but next to it. Sort of. The grounds that the Soviet War Memorial stands on belongs to both Schöneiche bei Berlin and Berlin.
239 Soviet soldiers died in battles around Schöneiche bei Berlin, Kagel and the surrounding areas in the last days of the War.
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Schöneiche came to be after the architect Alfred Werner submitted plans for a memorial in 1947. In November 1947, the company “König und Eickenrodt” landscaped the memorial.
The memorial in Schöneiche is unique in the sense that despite being located in Berlin, a separate municipality takes care of its upkeep. Unlike its counterparts in Rummelsburg, Hohenschönhausen, Kaulsdorf, Herzbergstraße, Buch and Staaken – it seems like the buried soldiers weren’t exhumed and laid to rest when any of the big 3 Memorials (Tiergarten, Schönholzer Heide, Treptower Park) were built.
The Memorial consists of the obligatory obelisk topped with an encircled red star. The bases of the memorial are covered with 4 plaques. The main plaque bears the Russian inscription:
ВЕЧНАЯ СЛАВА ГЕРОЯМ ПАВШИМ В БОРЬБЕ ЗА СВОБОДУ И НЕЗАВИСИМОСТЬ СОВЕТСКОЙ РОДИНЫ
Which translates into English:
Eternal glory to the heroes who fell in the fight for the freedom and independence of the Soviet homeland.
The other 3 plaques bare the names of the fallen soldiers that could be identified.
It’s a quaint little memorial. The community visibly takes care of it – the small lawn being accurately trimmed and the paint on the memorial rings fresh. It’s probably not worth venturing out to the edge of Berlin just to see this memorial – but if by off chance you’re in the area, it’s worth stopping by for.
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Schöneiche
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Schöneiche | Soviet War Memorial Schöneiche
Address: Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 76, 15566 Schöneiche bei Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Hohenschönhausen
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Hohenschönausen, also known as the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Küstriner Straße is the youngest of Berlins Soviet War Memorials. As with all Soviet War Memorials in Berlin, its origins date back to the Soviet Invasion of Berlin. The Soviet Troops marched into Berlin on the 21st of April, 1945 and one of the first areas to be completely captured was Hohenschönhausen (On the 22nd of April, 1945).
Hohenschönhausen was taken over by the Red Army under the leadership of General Schukow on the 22nd of April 1945. By 1947 – 1948, the first iteration of the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Hohenschönausen was errected, in dedication to the Red Army Soliders and Officers who had died during battle, or succumbed to their injuries in the nearby army hospital. They were initially burried on a plot of private land (where the Soviet War Memorial Hohenschönhausen now stands), but then moved to in 1948 to the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Schönholz (which is the largest Russian cemetery outside of Russia).
The original memorial consisted of a three-tierd pyramid like structure (resembling many of the other Soviet War Memorials), with an ornate plaque and an encircled red star near the top. There are some photos from the German Federal Archive which show quite nicely what the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Hohenschönhausen looked like (but the photos are too costly licence and embed here). Whats not visible on the photos is the (more than) life size statue of a Red Army Soldier, wearing a long flowing cape and rifle in his right hand – indicating that it was most likely completed post-1948. Whats also visible are the rows of neatly groomed graves – that had been moved post 1948 to the cemetery in Schönholz.
Its also worth noting that Iwan Gawrilowitsch Perschudtschew – the same Sculptor responsible for the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal in the Schönholzer Heide – designed the original Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Alt-Hohehnschönhausen.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of the “liberation” of Hohenschönhausen, The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Hohenschönhausen was remodelled. A newspaper reported on the remodelling in 1974, saying that “60 Komsomol members and 60 FDJ members spent over 1000 working hours on the remodelling of the memorial”. The new Soviet War Memorial in Höhenschönhausen was then officially unveiled on the 25th of April, 1975. The artificial stone relief initially had a bronze color (as opposed to the black we see today), while the inscriptions and stars on both sides used to appear in a light grey colour, and the background in an earthy yellow tone.
The Memorial consists a concrete square with a large red star in the middle. The main section consists of a mural depicting Soviet battle scenes. Flanked on both ends are 2 text sections:
Ewiger Ruhm den Helden der Sowjetarmee
And in Russian:
ВЕЧНАЯ СЛАВА ГЕРОЯМ СОВЕТСКОИ АРМИИ
Which translates into English
Eternal Glory to the Heros of the Soviet Army
Oddly enough, unlike the other memorials this one feels quite dated – but not in a good way. It feels very 1970s, quitThe large red star in front of the memorial apparently used to be alight with an eternal flame, something which – if true – would have been a truly unique feature amongst Berlins Soviet War Memorials. The black stone relief, depicting two soviet soldiers in the middle in a victory pose are flanked by scenes of the war as well as kneeling soldiers on both ends. Sadly, this memorial has suffered greatly due to vandalism as someone (or some people) have been chipping away at it. While slight damage is visible in these photos, someone broke off the left arm and gun of one of the soldiers sometime between 2015 and 2016.e possibly due to the once red, now orange text, or the stylised figures on the mural.
Like the Soviet Memorial in Buch, this one is best visited in a combination with the Gedenkstäte Hohenschönhausen (a mere 2km away) and/or the lovely Friedhof St. Andreas/St. Markus Cemetery across the street.
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Hohenschönhausen
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Hohenschönhausen | Soviet War Memorial Hohenschönhausen
Address: Küstriner Straße, 13055 Berlin
Soviet War Memorial Güterfelde
The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Güterfelde – also sometimes referenced to as the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Wilmersdorf is arguably the most difficult Soviet War Memorial to reach in this list. As you can take from the name, this War Memorial is located in Güterfelde, which is lies in Brandenburg and not Berlin. Like the Soviet Memorial in Schöneiche, this memorial technically still lies in Berlin as it is located on the Wilmersdorfer Waldfriedhof – a cemetery belonging to the Berlin district of Wilmersdorf-Charlottenburg.
Not much information can be dug up on this Soviet War Memorial, as there isn’t even a trace of its construction date. Design wise it follows the template we’ve seen on many other memorials – a red granite obelisk topped with a red star and an inscription. What sets this war memorial apart from the other soviet ones is that its dedicated to forced laborers that died in a camp close by, rather than soviet soldiers who died during battle.
The inscription in Russian reads:
ЗДЕСЬ ПОКОЯТЕЯ 1389 СОВЕТСКИХ
НАСИЛЬНО УГНАННЫХ ВО ВРЕМЯ 2-ОЙ МИРОВОЙ ВОЙНЫ И ПОГИБШИХ В ФАШИСТСКОЙ НЕВОЛЕ
ЖИВУЩИЕ ВУДУТ ВСЕГДА ПОМНИТЬ О НИХ И ДЕЛАТЬ ВСЕ ВОЗМОЖНОЕ ЧТОБЫ ОБЕСПЕЧИТЬ МИР НА ЗЕМЛЕ И НЕ ДОПУСТИТЬ ВОЗРОЖДЕНИЯ ФАШИЗМА
Which translates into English:
This is where 1389 Soviet citizens, who were deported during the Second World War and died in fascist captivity / forced labor camps, rest. The living will always remember and do everything in their power to ensure peace in the world and never again allow a revival of fascism.
Despite being rather far out, the memorial clearly is being taken care of, and depending on what time of the year you go, a wreath can be seen laid at the foot of the obelisk. While there are benches next to the memorial, the gate is locked and the grounds are inaccessible.
A full length article with more photos can be found here: Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Güterfelde
Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Güterfelde | Soviet War Memorial Güterfelde
Address: Potsdamer Damm 11, 14532 Stahnsdorf
Soviet War Memorial FAQ
What was the first Soviet War Memorial built in Berlin?
The first Soviet War Memorial to be built in Berlin was the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Tiergarten, Straße des 17 Juni. It was unveiled on the 11th November, 1945.
What was the last Soviet War Memorial built in Berlin?
The last Soviet War Memorial built in Berlin was the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Alt-Hohenschönhausen, which in its current form was constructed in 1974.
What is the largest Soviet War Memorial in Berlin?
With its 93.000 m², the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park is the biggest Soviet War Memorial in Berlin, as well as in Germany. The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Schönholzer Heide is the final resting place of over 13,000 Soldiers making it the largest Soviet Military Cemetery outside of Russia.
What is the smallest Soviet War Memorial in Berlin?
The smallest Soviet War Memorial in Berlin is the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Staaken, which consists only of a roughly 1,5 meter high Obelisk- like structure.
How many Soviet War Memorials are there in Berlin?
To date, there are 12 Soviet War Memorials in Berlin, along with dozens of war graves and memorial plaques.
How many Soviet War Memorials are there in Germany?
As of 2020, there are roughly 1017 Soviet War Memorials still in existence in Germany, along with thousands of graves and memorial plaques.