The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park is both the largest Soviet War Memorial in Germany, as well as quite possibly being the most recognisable. It’s not without reason that this memorial is regarded as the central Soviet War Memorial in all of Germany.


Planning the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal 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 Sowjetisches Ehrenmal 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. No better way to underscore this concept when materials, which could have been used (and were greatly needed) to build new housing quarters in Berlin, were used to build the Soviet War Memorial instead.

The Sowjetisches Ehrenmal 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. No better way to underscore this concept when materials, which could have been used (and were greatly needed) to build new housing quarters in Berlin, were used to build the Soviet War Memorial instead.

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, a proposal was selected from 33 different designs. In 1947, a special unit of engineering officers was commissioned with the implementation of said proposal, who then directed and instructed various German companies with the construction of the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park.

On May 8th, 1949, an impressive 9-hectare cemetery and gigantic Russian Soldier monument was unveiled 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.)

entrance pathway view sowjetisches ehrenmal treptower park treptow soviet war memorial berlin germany
granite flags sowjetisches ehrenmal treptower park treptow soviet war memorial berlin germany


Layout of the Soviet War Memorial Treptower Park

The entrance areas to the Soviet War Memorial 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. Similar granite flags, albeit much smaller can also be found at the entrance of the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal in Marzahn

statue of the soviet liberator sowjetisches ehrenmal treptower park treptow soviet war memorial berlin germany

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. While the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park might be the largest memorial in Germany, the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Schönholzer Heide Heide is actually the largest Soviet Military cemetery outside of Russia.k . 

The graves of the more than 7,000 Red Army soldiers are located behind the sarcophagi in the lawns under the plane trees.


The Soviet Liberator

At the end of the complex is the main feature of the Soviet War Memorial Treptower Park: 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. 

tv tower sowjetisches ehrenmal treptower park treptow soviet war memorial berlin germany


Translation of the Russian Texts

The interior of the crypt of the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park is lined with a mosaic frieze, representing the 16 Soviet Republics, and two lines of text

In German:

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.

In Russian:

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 a spelling/grammar mistake in it (das große Verdienst instead of der Verdienst). Its not quite sure if this was intentional or purely an oversight.

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 bronze Soviet Soldier 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.

panorama view soviet liberator statue sowjetisches ehrenmal treptower park treptow soviet war memorial berlin germany

Together with the pavilion, the statue towers 30 meters high over the 10-hectare large Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park. 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 most convincing version belonged to the Sergeant Nikolai Iwanowitsch Massalow, who apparently saved a small girl while storming the Reichskanzlei. In honor of this, a bronze plaque was set up on the Potsdamer Brücke where this event happened. 

Upon its creation, the Soviet War Memorial Treptower Park was also gifted a darker nickname by the German population, it being dubbed the “Memorial of the Unknown Rapist”. A deeper explanation to origins of this nickname aren’t needed at this point.

full view soviet liberator statue sowjetisches ehrenmal treptower park treptow soviet war memorial berlin germany
back staue of the soviet liberator sowjetisches ehrenmal treptower park treptow soviet war memorial berlin germany

The Soviet War Memorial Treptower Park – A Tryptic

Together with the “Motherland Calls” statue in Volgograd (formerly known as Stalingrad) and the Rear-front Memorial in Magnitogorsk – the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park forms a tryptic. The monuments symbolize the sword being forged in Magnitogorsk, raised in Volgograd, and lowered in Berlin. 

soviet war memorials tryptic
Rear – Front Memorial – Photo By Zooro-Patriot | The Motherland Calls – Photo by Anastasia Galyamicheva | The Soviet Liberator – Photo by Digital Cosmonaut

As with the Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten, a rumor persisted that the memorial was built with marble from the former Reichskanzlei, but this was later proven to be an urban legend as well. 

The Soviet War Memorial Treptower Park 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.

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Address of the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park

Sowjetisches Ehrenmal Treptower Park | Soviet War Memorial Treptower Park
Address: Puschkinallee, 12435 Berlin

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