In terms of casualties, the conflict between Germany and Soviet Russia between 1941-1944 was the most destructive by far. It is estimated that as many as 30 million people died on the Eastern Front. This massive confrontation did not only affect the lives of the people involved in it during those four years, but also decided the fate of many nations in the following decades. Some might say, the effects can be witnessed until this day.
For this reason, the existence of a museum whose focus represents this confrontation is more than justified. And where else could such a place be situated, if not in Berlin in the house where the peace treaty that put an end to the war in Europe was signed on May 9, 1945.
The German-Russian Museum (Deutsch-Russisches Museum) in Karlshorst has an extensive exhibition that presents the story of the war from its start until the end, emphasizing its consequences. It benefits from a large collection of photographs, documents, posters, various items used during that period and books on the topic. More information on the focus of the exhibits is available here.
The main attraction of the museum is constituted by the room where the peace treaty was signed by the representatives of the Allied Forces, on the one hand, and Germany, on the other. What makes it so interesting is the fact that it is arranged so that it looks exactly as it did on the day of the treaty; even some of the objects, such as the big flags and the tables, are the same. The high ceiling chamber is impressive: on the wall opposite the conference tables, large marble plaques encrusted in Russian commemorate the Second World War. The light inside is dim, while a large screen installed four meters above shows footage from 1945 before the end of the war and during the brief conference. The guide helps us relieve those days by telling us how after the treaty was signed, the tables in the main room and in other places in the house were filled with large quantities of alcohol and the various representatives celebrated for several days. The post-war euphoria was a feeling experienced by all of those on the winning sides, as could be observed on the photos displayed in the room.
Unfortunately, currently, the museum’s permanent exhibition is closed and the reopening is set for April 2013. However, until this moment, the surrender room can still be visited and on Saturdays and Sundays guided tours are organized every two hours and all of this is for free. The museum’s courtyard is also of interest, as it features tanks, cars and other machines which have been used in the war.
Address: Zwieseler Straße 4 D-10318 Berlin