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A third large Soviet memorial in Berlin can be found in the borough of Pankow in the northern part of the city.
Just like in Treptow, planning of the cemetery started in 1946. The Schönholzer Heide area was chosen both because of its favourable spatial conditions, and also the fact that there were already many mass graves nearby which were supposed to be transferred to the cemetery after the war.
The site is very impressive from an architectural point of view: a shaded avenue leads from the main road to the entrance portal, which consists of an atrium as well as entrance buildings designed like gatehouses. Behind the portal lies the grove of honour with its 16 sarcophagi, and the view opens up to a large obelisk at the far end of the site. In front of the obelisk, a bronze “Mother Russia” sculpture is mourning a fallen soldier. The cemetery is also surrounded by a massive wall with commemorative plaques, which gives it the character of a memorial wall.
On the whole, the structure of the Soviet War Memorial in Schönholzer Heide is reminiscent of the one in Treptower Park. There are however significant differences, particularly as the site is the final resting place of at least 13,200 fallen Red Army soldiers – twice as many as in Treptower Park. One of the underlying reasons is that, unlike in Treptow, some of the soldiers buried here died whilst prisoners of war of the Nazi regime. Moreover, the prisoners of war were honoured with a commemorative plaque. This is insofar remarkable as the Soviet head of state, Joseph Stalin, had a great deal of mistrust towards prisoners of war, and put them under general suspicion of being collaborators. This probably also explains why an initially planned bronze sculpture in honour of the prisoners of war was never completed.
The inauguration of the memorial took place on November 7, 1949. Just like the other sites, it is now a protected historic structure.
Source: Berlins Taiga
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