In a world of decreasing relations between various countries and Russia, there are some parts of history that contrast this. Treptower Park features a variation of the spectrum; through conquering the capital city of Berlin from Fascism, the Russian army were seen as saviours to some, whereas during the rising tensions of the Cold War, the risk of nuclear warfare became a symbol seen any Soviet flag, icon or memorial to Westerners.
Treptower Park commemorates the loss of 80,000 soviet soldiers during the battle for Berlin, which the Soviets fought themselves whilst the Allies attacked from the West. It is also the resting place to some of those that lost their lives in the battle, who have been laid to rest in sarcophagi at the edges of the memorial.
The park was opened in 1949 after being built and designed by Yakov Belopsky. Not only are many soldiers commemorated here, but so are some of those that lost their lives in the battle for Berlin. On the side of the memorial stands a quote from Josef Stalin, written in German and Russian;
Now all recognise that the Soviet people with their selfless fight saved the civilisation of Europe from fascist thugs. This was a great achievement of the Soviet people to the history of mankind
Despite the memorial being solely for those who lost their lives for the saviours Berlin, the monument has been vandalised, potentially, as it is seen as being a link to Russia. Since the fall of the wall, the memorial has been rebuilt to match modern building regulations and also to change the design to being more friendly to modern audiences.
Upon visiting this monument I certainly felt a difference from memorials of the Allied forces. There is a lack of personality, or memory to the soldiers. No names, no faces. A complete contrast to the countless names seen at places like the Menin Gate or even town war memorials. The soviet style seems to be more about the meaning of what they fought for, showing almost a lack of importance for human life, and instead about fighting for a cause.
The park itself is a great spectacle of community. Visiting during the height of summer, there was a complete mix of groups, nationalities and ages. I remember in particular the amount of families spending the afternoon playing in the shade of the trees, groups of young adults laughing, drinking and smoking and closer to the memorial, an elderly lady seeming to reminisce in regard to the red of the spires.
Despite the memorial being seen as a negative to some now, with the tension around political relationships rising, the memorial stands as a figure for those that fought for a just cause. Freeing a population from tyranny and a potentially endless belief of destruction. What followed this freedom was what had been fought against in the first place, but that cannot detract from the bravery that didn’t foresee it coming.
Many thanks to you for taking a look at this post, I hope you have enjoyed it! As with all my posts, you can find the exact location of the subject below, alongside links to buying any of the images should you wish to. Stay classy!