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Tank memorial

Tank memorial

A tank on a pedestal

In the summer of 1945, only a few months after the Third Reich was removed from power, the Soviet government erected the Panzerdenkmal (German for 'Tank memorial') near the AVUS highway.

The tank that the Red Army used to enter Berlin in early 1945 was parked on a marble plinth. After the political partition of Berlin in 1948, the monument turned out to be on the wrong side of the border, namely in the American sector. It quickly became the subject of political wrangling, especially when the Russian leader Stalin cut off the enclave of West Berlin from the rest of the world with the blockade of Berlin. 

The Panzerdenkmal was defaced with slogans against the Soviets, and attempts to set the tank on fire followed. The Americans placed a fence around the monument to calm the mood as the GDR refused to move it.

It was not until 1955 that the Pantzerdenkmal found a new home in East Berlin, and fourteen years later, it moved again, namely to the new GDR border crossing, Drewitz. Whoever drove into East Berlin saw the tank looming, its barrel pointed jauntily to the West. 

The collapse of communism also shook this Russian monument. At the end of 1990, the Russian army disassembled the armored vehicle, and artist Eckhardt Haisch replaced it with a snowblower painted pink, a reminder of the uprisings against communism in 1989.

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