The Soviet monuments in Germany and the Ukrainian war

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THE day of victory over Nazi Germany (08 and 09.05) takes on special dimensions in the country this year. This is due to Russia offensive war against Ukraine, which overshadows the historical reality. That for example during World War II more than 6 million of its soldiers were killed Red Army. Only in Battle of Stalingrad lost their lives 1 million Soviet soldierstens of thousands more fought in Battle of Berlinwhich ended on May 2, 1945 with the occupation of the German capital and hoisting of the Soviet flag over the Reichstag. The black and white photo from the half-destroyed building together with the flag went around the world and went down in history.

Color attacks and historical memory

After the end of World War II the Soviet Army built 4 monuments to commemorate the blood shed by the soldiers, and especially those killed in the battle for Berlin. They are not only monuments to commemorate the victory, but also military cemeteries. The monument in the Thiergarden district of Berlin It was inaugurated on November 11, 1945 with a parade of Allied forces. To the right and left of the entrance are two T-34 tanks and two cannons, used in that battle. End of March 2022 the two armors of great historical value, wrapped in the Ukrainian flag. A little later the Stephanie Bung, Member of Parliament for the Christian Democratic Party, asked to leave. “Today, tanks no longer represent the liberation of Berlin from Nazism, but an aggressive war that ignores territorial boundaries and human lives.” The local government of Berlin rejected the request. “This is the memory of the dead of World War II, during which soldiers of many nationalities of the Soviet Union, including many Russians and Ukrainians, lost their lives in the fight against Nazism on the side of the Red Army,” the Minister of Environment said in a statement. and Mayor of Berlin Betina Giaras. It should be noted that Berlin is legally committed to the care of Soviet monuments. Under the 1990 “2 plus 4” Agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany, East Germany and the 4 victorious powers of World War II, the preservation of the monuments was agreed.

The Soviet monument in Trepto Park is the largest of its kind in Germany and the most important for fallen soldiers in Berlin. There are graves of 7,000 soldiers from all the former Soviet republics in the area around it. In early April, strangers desecrated the monument with anti-Russian slogans. The perpetrators spray-painted slogans such as “Ukrainian blood in Russian hands” or “Death to all Russians”. A few days later they spray-painted “Z”, other symbols and slogans such as “killers”. Since then the monument is under protection and the police are looking for the perpetrators. THE Justus Ulbricht, German historian and president of the Denk Mal Fort Associationis convinced that demolition or desecration of the monument does not bring anything. “What you see in Trepto is a monument to heroes. The love for heroes has drastically decreased in Germany. Monuments of this kind are becoming a topic of discussion.” The historian, however, considers that each monument is part of the history of the city. “My point is, leave them alone, speak up, comment.”

Outside Dresden the Soldier of the Red Army?

The Soviet Monument in Dresden It was built shortly after the end of the war and inaugurated in November 1945. In 1994 the Red Army Soldier was transferred and is now located near the Bundeswehr Historical Military Museum. At the end of March 2022, Stephen Scharf, a Liberal politician in Dresden, wrote on twitter: “No, this Soviet Monument in Dresden can not remain. Not because of 1945, nor because of 1953, 1968 and 2022 “. The explanation is simple. The 1st Army of the Soviet Union participated in the suppression of the popular uprising in East Germany and in 1968 in the suppression of the Prague Spring. Today the corresponding army “Christiane Janeke, scientific director of the Dresden Military History Museum, does not share the idea of ​​removing him, even if the Red Army soldier, who is above the base of the monument, finds a place in a museum.” it would be like removing a piece of city history and memory from public space. I think this is wrong. You can not rewrite the story. These monuments are reminiscent of what happened. “If you put them in a box, describing them more accurately, that would be the right solution.”

Instead, in front of building of the German-Russian Museum The Ukrainian, Russian, Belarusian and German flags were hoisted in the Karlschorst district of Berlin. Now only the Ukrainian is left. Speaking to Deutsche Welle, Museum Director Jκrg More said: “Many people now think that we want to forget the achievements of the Red Army and the role of the Soviet Union in World War II, but that is not the case. It is a sign of solidarity with Ukraine. Before we raised the flags of collaborating nationalities, the unconditional capitulation of Germany was signed on May 8, 1945, in the building that now houses a museum.The museum was founded in 1994 in collaboration with the Russian Confederation in the legal form of the union. which in 1997/98 became part of the War Museums of Ukraine and Belarus.After its redesign the Museum in Karlschorst reopened in May 1995 as a German-Russian Museum.Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine the management of the Museum decided to use the “Berlin-Carlshorst Museum” to commemorate all the Soviet victims of the German extermination of the German war s, regardless of their nationality. The Russian Confederation is trying to nationalize and monopolize the Soviet victory and in some cases uses as a tool any attempt to cooperate with the people of the museum. “At the moment there is a distance, only clarity helps us,” says Museum director Jκrg More.

Source: DW / Vera Friedrich / Editor: Irini Anastassopoulou

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