About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

28 August 2007

Soviet War Memorials

The Soviets suffered one of the highest casualties in WW2, and they were one of the major forces in defeating the Nazis. In many parts of Germany, the soviets built war memorials to commemorate the fallen soldiers. I have been two such memorials in Berlin - the first near the Brandenburg Gate is quite simple, and to the point. It is flanked by two tanks, two artillery canons and features a small museum behind it.

There is much larger soviet war memorial in the former East Berlin, which can only be described in the superlative: grand, massive, majestic. It is a much more complex memorial, and is in fact the burial grounds for about 5000 soviet soldiers killed in the Battle of Berlin. I find it complex, not only because of it size, but also because of the artwork and design. First there is the kneeling woman, probably symbolising the prayers, then the kneeling soldiers at the symbolic gate, and the main feature of a heroic soldier carrying a child. This is a commemoration of fallen heroes, and nothing less. It is highly decorative and very intricately detailed, unlike many other soviet memorials I have seen, notably from the Statue park in Budapest.

But then there are the side panels on either side of the graves, which feature quotes from Stalin and images telling, it seems the story of the war, and how everyone in the country played their part. This is more rough, more common, and in stark contrast to the hero.

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