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Soviet war memorials should be preserved intact — German expert

May 08, 2014, 17:01 UTC+3 BERLIN
Earlier, German papers Bild and Berliner Zeitung (BZ) urged to remove T-34 tanks from the Soviet war memorial in Berlin's Tiergarten
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BERLIN, May 08. /ITAR-TASS/. One should not mingle history and politics, so the recent urges of the German papers Bild and Berliner Zeitung (BZ) to remove T-34 tanks from the Soviet war memorial in the Tiergarten district are just inappropriate, German politician, former foreign minister of the GDR, President of the German War Graves Commission Markus Meckel told ITAR-TASS on Thursday.

Firmly disapproving of the initiative, Meckel said historical heritage should be handled with respect and appreciated as it was. The Tiergarten memorial should not be removed as it serves as a reminder of Germany’s liberation from National Socialism.

The same, he believes, applies to the Treptower Park, where Stalin’s words are engraved. Not being enthusiastic about that, Meckel believes this to be part of historical context. War cemeteries and other monuments should be left alone, while special exhibitions could be used in the future to shed light on the link between the memorials and the present events, he said.

As for the Tiergarten memorial, Bild and BZ are trying to draw parallels between the World War II and the current tensions between the West and Russia, the thought Meckel believes to be unacceptable.

Speaking of the current state of Soviet war memorials in Germany, the expert said they were mainly observed by certain states, cities and communes, whereas his organization acted as a consultative and supervisory body. Monuments in Treptower Park, in Tiergarten not far from the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag and in the Pankow district were excellently preserved, he added.

All the three memorials in Berlin stand on the list of nationally and internationally significant monuments and are maintained on funds from the German budget, millions of euros allocated for this purpose since 1991, the government told ITAR-TASS. Ten million euros was allocated alone for the restoration of the Pankow memorial in 2010 - August 2013.

More than 3,300 Soviet war graves are situated in Germany, where rest 760,000 Soviet people.

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