|Wilhelm Liebknecht's grave and monument.|
In some respects fortunately, Lichtenberg became part of the Soviet Sector after the Second World War and the DDR built a replacement monument, ceremoniously unveiled in 1951. That is what we can see today. It consists of a central monolith carved with the words 'die Toten mahnen uns' ('the dead remind/admonish/urge us') around which is a rotunda of graves and memorials of famous socialists reburied from elsewhere in the cemetery. And so, of course, Rosa Luxemburg is there:
|The central memorial stone and Rosa Luxemberg's grave|
|Rosa Luxemburg's gravestone, close up.|
In this exhalted inner circle are the graves of socialists who perished opposing the Nazis, such as Ernst Thälmann and Rudolph Breitscheid. Indeed, the whole memorial reads a little like a street-map of any former East German town. Post-War DDR leaders are also buried alongside these heroes, including Wilhelm Pieck and Walter "Nobody has the intention of building a wall" Ulbricht.
|Gedenkstätte der Sozialisten rotunda.|
Even further from the centre are wall niches where the urns of formerly prominent politburo members (many of whom even Google hasn't heard of) are adorned with bunches of plastic flowers. That's rather sad, as you can imagine how at the time their nearest and dearest would have been so proud of them being interred here, even if on the outer periphery of the monument.
The Friedrichsfelde cemetery has other things of interest beyond the Socialist Memorial, if you like wandering around graveyards, which isn't everybody's cup of tea. Particularly poignant is the gravesite and memorial to a tragic boating accident at Treptow Hafen on 5th July 1951 when the ship Heimatland blew up with at least 28 children on board who perished. The memorial is boat-shaped, carrying the remains of 16 of the young victims into eternity.
|Memorial to the Heimatland disaster 1951|
|Käthe Kollwitz gravestone|
|Gräberanlage für Opfer des Faschismus und Verfolgte des Naziregimes|
|Graves for the victims of fascism, right up to the present day.|
After leaving Friedrichsfelde we travelled across to the other side of Berlin to remind ourselves of what the victims and heroes were up against in the sheer brutality of the Nazi regime. We went to Plötzensee Prison in Charlottenburg, a place of horror where many many thousands of political prisoners and conscientious objectors were illegally executed, including thousands caught up in the retribution after the failed von Stauffenberg 20 July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler. There is little to see here, but what there is is shocking: the row of meathooks from which the murdered kicked out their last gasps of life.
|Inside the execution shed at Pötzensee Prison|
|Urn filled with soil from German concentration camps.|