75 Years – 75 Memorials – Stage 3: Berlin’s Northwest
Stage 3 of the photo project “75 years – 75 memorials” from Nauen via Berlin-Staaken and Hennigsdorf to Stolpe Süd, Hohen Neuendorf, Birkenwerder to finish in Oranienburg.
A tour full of navigation errors
I would have loved to have the 3rd stage of my photo project in the bag already a week earlier. However, weather forecast didn’t look that good and since this weather report was surprisingly correct in the end, I changed my plans. Who enjoys cycling in windy rain…? ;-) Also I quite feel the first two stages in my legs. Perfect excuses to start the third stage another time, that is today.
With the regional train I first go to Nauen and its Soviet war cemetery in Parkstraße. It’s part of the local cemetery and is located just to the right after the main gate. Both the obelisk and the gravestones create a wonderful play of light and contrast against the lush, dark green of the forest cemetery. The forest floor makes the obelisk tilt a little bit, but the whole layout of this grave site is pretty picturesque. The cemetery area is subject to opening hours, so one does not always have access.
Well, and then the trouble starts… On the stage to Berlin-Staaken, Komoot plays jokes with me, at least three times. Funny routing is the one thing, but closed solar parks, electric fences or even river are obvious unscalable obstacles :-( Really bad: According to Komoot between Nauen and Staaken I shall ride right next to a high speed rail line, where ICE trains run at 200 km/h… :-( The pressure wave generated by an approaching ICE train is massive and means danger to life! Hence I’m a bit annoyed, even so annoyed that in Berlin-Staaken I almost miss the relatively small Soviet memorial obelisk. The melange of construction sites, cars, people and traffic lights would have made me miss that stele of small extent. When cycling to Hennigsdorf Komoot again shows its strange understanding of navigation and tells me to use forest trails that definitely do not exist.
Lucky, lucky guy…
Having arrived in Hennigsdorf, luck stroke me…! The municipal office for parks is on site at Rathenau Park and permits me to get on the actual memorial site, that is usually locked. With its large Soviet star on top and star decorated fence plus typical symbolism, the Hennigsdorf Soviet memorial is picturesque par excellence. A few bicycle minutes later I am in Stolpe Süd, to capture another Soviet memorial. Also this grave site is fenced. Its three graves in front dominate the memorial optically. Behind them is a big Soviet star on the ground and behind that again stands an obelisk.
The Soviet memorial in Hohen Neuendorf is built in a pretty similar way. I am lucky that I didn’t miss it, as I was fully concentrated not getting swallowed by mad suburban Berlin traffic. However, Komoot failed again, this time to mention this waypoint… What a great app… The route to Birkenwerder is more foolproof, hence something perfect for me ;-) Once there, photos are quickly made, as the Birkenwerder memorial is everything but a big one.
The final Soviet memorial of this tour in Oranienburg is different. Its premises measure almost 4.000m2. However, this military cemetery seems quite cold and unapproachable because of its central concrete ground. That awakens my military service memories when standing guard in full sun on the parade ground of my paratrooper barracks. The Oranienburg Soviet memorial complex is surrounded by a lot of gravestones. Large ones for normal soldiers and small single graves for the officers. After 68 kilometers and 3:08 hours I take the S-Bahn back to Berlin.
Here is the route as well as data of this tour on Komoot