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#989 Soviet War Memorial - Vienna (Austria)

2003-40 Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee (Soviet War Memorial) - Vienna (Austria).jpg Thumbnails#988 Soviet War Memorial - Vienna (Austria)

Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee (Heroes' Monument of the Red Army or Soviet War Memorial), Vienna (Austria)

The Soviet War Memorial in Vienna, more formally known as the Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee (Heroes' Monument of the Red Army) is located
at Vienna's Schwarzenbergplatz. In Vienna, there are several slang terms for it: Looter′s Memorial, Memorial of the Unknown Rapist or "Erbsendenkmal" (Pea Memorial). More official names are "Russendenkmal" (Russians′ Memorial), "Befreiungsdenkmal" (Liberation Memorial) or "Siegesdenkmal" (Victory Memorial). It was built in 1945 by the Soviet army to commemorate the 17.000 Soviet soldiers that died in the course of the "Battle for Vienna". The plan to built such a memorial first occurred in February of 1945 - note that this was before the battle had even started. The Soviet army held a competition and a soldier (and architect) called Yakovlev won it with a simple pencil drawing. The artist Michail Avakovic Schejnfeld built the first models from breadcrumbs. The poet Sergey Mikhalkov contributed appropriate words for the inscriptions. Once the fighting had ceased, the Soviets discussed several options on where to build the memorial. They finally decided to use the Schwarzenbergplatz and built the memorial in a way that it would sort of "warp around" the Hochstrahlbrunnen and almost incorporate the fountain. The Soviets employed locals and prisoners of war for the construction. The 12 metre high statue of a soldier was made of 15 tons of bronze by a casting house from the 3rd district Landstraße. In the course of the construction, the Hochstrahlbrunnen was fixed and restored. 300 square metres of polished marble were used and 2500 square metres of soil transferred. The original memorial included a tank. In 1946, the Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee (Heroes' Monument of the Red Army) was opened and the Schwarzenbergplatz changed its name into Stalinplatz. Dead Soviet soldiers were buried on the site of the memorial. In 1955, when the allied troops withdrew and released Austria into independence, a state treaty was signed in which Austria guaranteed to take care of the maintenance of the memorial. The Stalinplatz was re-named into Schwarzenbergplatz, the tank was transferred to the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in the nearby Arsenal; and the buried soldiers were exhumed and their bodies transferred
to an honorary section of the Zentralfriedhof.

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