- Zwieseler Straße 4, Berlin, Germany
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The German-Russian Museum is located at the site of the unconditional surrender of Germany on 8 May 1945 in Berlin-Karlshorst, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. Today it is a place where two former wartime enemies jointly recall some of their common, albeit very violent history.
The museum is a unique bilateral institution, sponsored by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Russian Federation. It is the only museum in Germany with a permanent exhibition recalling the war of annihilation in Eastern Europe.
From 1945 to 1949 the former officers’ mess of the German Armed Forces’ Pioneer School, where the surrender took place, served as the seat of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany. After being used for various purposes by the Soviet military, a Soviet surrender museum opened in 1967. After the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Germany in 1994, both sides decided to use this location to commemorate the war conducted against the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1945.
Never before did a war cause more deaths and more destruction. This is especially true for the war of conquest and annihilation waged by the German Reich against the Soviet Union starting on 22 June 1941. The permanent exhibition documents this war from the perspective of both parties, German and Soviet. The territory occupied by the German forces was where the murder of European Jews began. But German warfare and occupation rule were also responsible for other crimes, like the mass death of Soviet prisoners of war in German custody and the planned starvation of millions of civilians in Russia and Eastern Europe. The exhibition also explores the consequences of the Second World War as they continue to the present day.
Encircling the capital city of Berlin, the region of Brandenburg was fought over fiercely during WWII. The areas of former battlefields are now brimming with historic sites where you can further your knowledge of German history. In the town of
Gisela Stange experienced the Battle of Berlin up close when she was 16 years old and assigned to the Volkssturm medical service as a Gesundheitsdienstmädel, a member of the League of German Girls trained in first aid. She risked death rescuing and nursing wounded soldiers and assisting in operations.
The German Ilse Schier spent her childhood and youth in East Prussia, the easternmost part of the German Reich. Her rural idyllic life there ended abruptly with the outbreak of the Second World War.
Wilhelm Keitel served as chief of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht from 1938 to 1945. He loyally supported Hitler’s policies and shared responsibility for the war of annihilation in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. On 8 May 1945 he signed the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces in Berlin. In November 1945 he stood trial in Nuremberg.
The battle of Berlin was one of the last battles of the Second World War in Europe. The war that had proceeded from Berlin returned to the city. Many soldiers and civilians died in widespread house-to-house fighting.
The 14-year-old Jew Manfred Steinfeld fled from Nazi Germany to the USA in 1938. Seven years later he returned with the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division as a liberator and participated in Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands. On 2 May 1945 he witnessed the meeting of U.S. and Soviet forces at the Elbe as well as the liberation of Wöbbelin concentration camp.
On 1 July 1945, Colonel Frank Howley arrived in Berlin with an advanced detachment of the U.S. Army. His mission was to build the American military administration in Berlin.