- Karl-Marx-Straße 54-56, 15374 Müncheberg
When entering the centre of Müncheberg through the Berlin Gate, complete with a historic city wall and gate tower, one would expect to see a medieval city centre. However, apart from a few historical structures, you’ll find a remarkably large number of prefabricated buildings in this small town in the district of Märkisch-Oderland. About 85% of the medieval city centre was destroyed in April 1945 due to the fact that – being situated on the direct route of the Red Army into Berlin – Müncheberg was of major strategic importance.
The Red Army relentlessly advanced with a broad front towards the German capital Berlin. The Nazis had chosen the Seelow Heights as the last defensive stronghold before Berlin, as a steep slope of up to 90 metres lay between the plain of the Oderbruch and the Soviet deployment zone, and therefore represented favourable topographical conditions. Müncheberg lay within the last of a total of three lines of defence. The Battle of the Seelow Heights not only slowed down the Soviet advance, but was also the biggest battle on German soil during World War II. From April 16 to April 19, tens of thousands of soldiers died within just four days. After the Soviet army broke through the defence, the way to Berlin was open.
Nowadays, the Soviet War Cemetery in Müncheberg can be found along the road to Fürstenwalde. Shortly after the war had ended, the first fallen soldiers were transferred to the Kirchberg. On May 1, 1947, the cemetery was inaugurated with an obelisk. The site as we see it today was built in the late 1970s and is laid out in terraces. At its centre is a large star with the coats of arms of the 15 Soviet republics. Their purpose is to illustrate that the 239 Soviet victims buried here belonged to many different nationalities. The central element on the top level consists of a pedestal with a larger than life-sized Soviet soldier made of granite.
Source: Berlins Taiga
On 16 April 1945, Soviet troops attacked the German line of defense near the town of Seelow, situated 70 km east from Berlin. Because Soviet Marshal Zhukov had underestimated how high the Seelow Heights really were, his commanders were forced to find detours. Chaotic fighting ensued in the Oder Marsh and the Seelow Heights.
The Seelow Heights Memorial Site and Museum has transformed a former battlefield into an internationally recognized place of remembrance, commemorating and documenting the Battle of the Seelow Heights in April 1945. It also shows how the biggest battle fought on German soil during the Second World War was incorporated into East German historiography.
A third large Soviet memorial in Berlin can be found in the borough of Pankow in the northern part of the city.