Even before visiting Berlin I had heard about the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park. Having lived during a time when the Soviet Union was touted as one of the biggest threats to the Western world, learning of a monument existing in Berlin of today was interesting.

Visiting this site with Holger, who had grown up in East Berlin and Gundula, who also grew up in East Germany, gave a new perspective on the history of the Soviets in Germany and Berlin. Millions of Soviet citizens lost their lives during World War II. This is something I do not recall learning in history classes. I wonder if it was even written about or if it was overshadowed by writings on the perceived evils of communism and the Soviet system.

Seeing the monuments and hearing the history put a human face on this harsh part of historical reality; the battle for Soviet sovereignty and fight against the Third Reich.

But I also saw that these are active monuments. Even in winter and even in the middle of the week I could find fresh flowers placed at each monument. 

These monuments are also a marker of a past that is gone. Many children of the DDR have fond memories of their childhood. The fall of the wall not only erased the bad, but it also erased some of what was good.

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