- Am Markt, 14469 Ketzin/Havel
In mid-April 1945, the Red Army launched its final offensive: the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation (“Battle of Berlin”), with the goal of not only taking the German capital but also ending the war in Europe.
A direct attack on Berlin was carried out under the command of Marshal Georgy K. Zhukov, who met a massive German resistance in the Battle of Seelow Heights, east of Berlin. From the south of Brandenburg, the 1st Ukrainian Front under Marshal Ivan S. Konev advanced more quickly to the capital. While the Nazis fiercely tried to defend the capital – which had been declared a stronghold – in a hopeless struggle, the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, exerted pressure on the military leadership. The goal was for Berlin to be liberated by May 1, 1945.
Finally, on the morning of April 25, the ring around Berlin was closed when units of Zhukov and Konev met at Ketzin. The end of the war seemed to be within sight, although the ring was occasionally permeated in the following days.
Today, a memorial stone in the centre of the small town of Ketzin commemorates the historic meeting of the armies. The monument was inaugurated in 1975. After the German reunification, the original bronze plaque was stolen and never found again. Since the template was still in the artist’s possession, the plaque could be recast in 2010 and was afterwards attached to the stone again.
The meeting in Ketzin was not the only one on that day: a few hours later, American and Soviet soldiers met on German soil for the first time on the Elbe.
Source: Berlins Taiga
On 16 April 1945, the Soviet forces started to encircle Berlin in a pincer movement. Five days later first Soviet units entered Berlin from the east and fought their way to the city center. On 2 May, two days after Adolf Hitler committed suicide, all remaining German forces in Berlin were ordered to surrender.
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.