75 Years – 75 Memorials – Stage 4: Berlin’s Southwest
Stage 4 of the photo project “75 years – 75 memorials” from Kleinmachnow, via Potsdam and Michendorf to Stahnsdorf and picturesque Ruhlsdorf, to finish in Teltow.
Thank you, Corona face mask
S-Bahn takes me to Nikolassee, that is the closest station to Kleinmachnow, from where I’d like to kick off this tour. But the whole trip this Sunday morning starts a bit disgusting. Schönhauser Allee is flooded with droppings from the omnipresent pigeons making the platform repulsively slippery. And on Westkreuz, the change to S7 line, things become even grosser as a few homeless people took over the pigeons’ excrement duty. Now I miss the puke emoji…, but luckily the corona mask helps to filter.
But back to the project and its first stage today, that is Kleinmachnow. The memorial over there is a stele in the long stretched park, being directly located at Hohe Kiefer street. In front, towards the roadside, are grave plates, while the stele with big hammer and sickle emblem is a little in the background. The route from Kleinmachnow to Potsdam is a longer one, about 15 kilometres, but it leads through the beautiful Park Babelsberg.
Before reaching Babelsberg I have to cross the streets of southwestern Berlin though. On Sunday mornings, local chic and jet set drive their cars here. Of course there is always only one person in it. For me they make no difference to pigeons and bums, because they take a dump on the environment! Visiting Potsdam this Sunday morning was a lucky choice, as there is absolutely not much going on. To boot weather boasts with a bright blue sky being exemplary for the month of May. The Potsdam Soviet memorial and its large cemetery can be found directly in the centre of the city and in front of church Pfarrkirche, that is on Bassinplatz. A perfect backdrop.
Here in Potsdam, besides soldiers and high-ranking officers, also other military personnel, such as women, are buried. Also those who died from the late consequences of the war found their final resting place here. From the actual memorial monument soldiers of the four most important weapon categories look in all four cardinal directions. But only the infantryman stands guard and watches over the dead. By the way, the size of the grave stones gives information about the rank of the buried person.
Potsdam-Michendorf, war and military cemetery
A much larger facility can be found on the road between Potsdam and Michendorf. With over 5000 graves this war cemetery is simply enormous. Centrally and on the cemetery’s main aisle stands a Red Army solider statue in front of a colonnade. Around it the grave fields with bigger and smaller graves are lined up. But the war grave site is only so big because about half of all graves were clearly built after 1945, such as in 1960, for example.
My pedalling continues towards Stahnsdorf, and its memorial being located in the district of Gütersfelde, on the Wilmersdorf forest cemetery, to be precise. On the way there, Komoot app thinks it has to route me again directly along a railway… The Stahnsdorf memorial is located at the southwestern end of the forest cemetery and has its own entrance. There are no grave plates, at least I didn’t see them, but the memorial monument looks pretty similar to the one in Teltow. The surrounding area is a beautiful forest and also the military cemetery of the Western Allies is not far from here.
After Stahnsdorf my tour leads me to the cemetery of Ruhlsdorf, where the Soviet memorial and grave sites can be found at the rear part. The Ruhlsdorf memorial site is extraordinary beautiful and picturesque, in particular because of the many Soviet star topped grave stones. The lush green and the May blossom add a wonderfully peaceful atmosphere. Every single gravestone, no matter if single or mass grave, is crowned by a metal Soviet star. The scenery becomes only disturbed by the nearby Ruhlsdorf sewage plant and its penetrating smells.
The last tour leg leads me to Teltow. Again the Soviet memorial can be found on the local cemetery. The little square gets framed by two big name plates and a hedgerow. Directly above me a blackbird sings full throat and fills this place with natural harmony. Nevertheless, the memorial looks rather plain and functional. Also, architecturally it reminds very much of the Stahnsdorf-Güterfelde memorial. Well, the final spot of this tour has been reached, so let’s go to the S-Bahn and back to Berlin.
Here is the route as well as data of this tour on Komoot