BERLIN: Surrender

Time to read:

2 minutes

Deep in formerly Soviet-occupied Berlin is the German-Russian Museum, devoted to the colossal WWII struggle between those nations. It contains the room where the surrender in the European Theater was signed.

The museum is housed in part of a former German military engineering academy, where the Germans surrendered to the Soviets, Americans, British and French in May 1945. Why here? “Probably because the building was still standing,” a staff member said.

Examples of the tanks, trucks and artillery involved in the battle for Germany are displayed outside the museum.

Wikipedia says by mid-1941, the USSR had more than 22,000 tanks—more than all the armies of the world combined and four times the number of tanks in the German arsenal.

Personal artillery that some Russian soldiers carried.

Out a window of the museum, visitors get a good look at a Russian tank.

The four allied military powers accepted the unconditional surrender of the Germans in this room during the night of May 8-9, 1945. The room itself has been preserved right down to the light fixtures, a staff member said. The tables and chairs have been refurbished to match what is seen in archive film of the event.

The museum basement contains a research room, where visitors can search for records involving thousands of people.

“A Database: Soviet Graves in Germany.” The Russians lost 27 million in WWII, more than half civilians. Thousands of Russian war dead, military and civilian, are buried in Germany.

Churchill said “History is written by the victors.” This museum is where the Russians tell their story. Everything is in Russian and German. Where it appears, English seems an after-thought. But in this room, the message is: The Allies — including or especially the Russians — throttled the Nazis.


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