In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2013. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 273-280.
Installed in 1945, the Soviet memorial in Berlin-Tiergarten was erected in the direct vicinity of the ruins of the Reichstag building. It is thus located at the exact point where Berlin’s north-to-south route meets the city’s east-west axis; both were built during the Third Reich.
Nikolaj V. Sergievski implemented the memorials architectural design while Lev E. Kerbel and Vladimir E. Zigal created the sculpture. The center piece of the 27,000 m² memorial ground is the sculpture of a Red Army soldier. Framed by colonnades and raised on a pedestal the art work reaches a total height of eight meters.
Starting in 1948/49 when the imminent partition of Berlin became evident in the event of the Berlin Blockade, the memorial ground’s role grew increasingly ambivalent. Regardless of its location in the British sector, East Berlin authorities maintained jurisdiction over the monument. Nevertheless it continued to function as a genuinely Soviet place of commemoration as it was exclusively Soviets who had access to it. Furthermore, commemorative acts where performed solely on Soviet holidays. Representatives of the GDR did not take part in any of these events. As a result the monument remained exclusively Soviet despite a number of attempts to change this. Consequently, the monument’s particular location lies at the heart of its failure to integrate into the GDR memorial landscape.