All Hail the Victorious Dead!

In Berlin, Melissa and I visited the Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park. An enormous and vaguely creepy memorial to the multitudes of Soviet soldiers who died fighting those good old German Fascists (Nazis!), this memorial was one of the strangest, if not the strangest, memorials I've ever visited. It actually serves as a grave to 5,000-7,000 fallen Soviet soldiers AND as a great place for kids to hang out and get stoned and drink German beer. Out of all the visitors to Treptower Park, I seriously think Melissa and I were the only ones not carrying several beers in each hand, and you've got to love that kind of German planning and gumption.

So, this memorial was built by the Soviets back in the East/West Berlin days, and to my mind was a decidedly "East Berlin-Russian" kind of idea. Here are the important observations and questions that came to my mind as we hiked along, necks craning:

1. That is one big sword that dude is holding. Or wielding.

2. Would you like to be buried beneath concrete for the rest of your eternal life with 5,000 other most likely sweaty Russians?

3. How did they store said Soviet soldiers for the length of the memorials construction? And did their mothers get to say yes or no about where their boys were buried? I doubt it.

4. Why are there only, like, ten people in this enormous memorial in July, the height of tourism season?

5. What if that giant statue came to life, right now, and started kicking ass? Would he fight everything in sight, Godzilla -style, or would he seek out the three or four remaining German war criminals hiding out in South America?

6. This is a lot of concrete.

7. Seriously, that is one huge ass sword. Maybe he's overcompensating for something?

8. How can he carry a baby in one arm and a huge sword like that in the other? Just holding a baby makes my arms tired after awhile. I hope he's not going to try fighting WHILE carrying that sword. That would be madness.

9. How many people have had sex on these sarcophagi?

10. Memorials are almost always a little creepy. And it's not the death that makes them creepy, either. It's the artistic interpretation of all the death, the human urge to comprehend and transcend so much death, that gives a memorial that little extra dab of Despair. Or maybe that's just me.


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