Ars vs Bellum | Monuments of the Great Patriotic War. "NO ONE IS FORGOTTEN, NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN"

Natella Voiskunski

Victory: 75
Magazine issue: 
#1 2020 (66)


St. Petersburg (Leningrad)

The Piskarevskoye Memorial Cemetery

“There are too many noble names to list,
So many buried ‘neath granite’s eternal guard.
But you who gaze on these stones should know:
No one is forgotten, nothing is forgotten.”

These words of the poet Olga Berggolts, who became a living symbol of the fortitude of besieged Leningrad, are engraved on the granite stela of the Piskarevskoye Memorial Cemetery in Leningrad that was opened on May 9 1960.

Anyone who has visited this place of grief will have experienced a huge shock of emotions when facing its endless rows of tombs: about half a million of Leningrad’s civilian and military dead are buried in these mass graves.

The monument “Motherland” was created by the sculptors Vera Isaeva and Robert Taurit; the architects of the ensemble were Alexander Vasiliev and Yevgeny Levinson.



The “Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad” memorial complex

The “Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad” memorial complex on Volgograd’s Mamayev Kurgan hill was unveiled with much ceremony on October 15 1967, its compositional centre the statue “The Motherland Calls”.

The inscription at the Square of Heroes where the memorial is located reads:

“The wind of iron was hitting their faces as they marched on and on, and again a superstitious fear swept over the enemy: was these humans marching, could they be mortal?!”

(The words are taken from a 1942 essay by Vasily Grossman, written during the writer’s time at Stalingrad.) The Hall of Military Glory features an appeal to those whose future existence was ensured by the deaths of the more than 34,000 soldiers who are buried at Mamayev Kurgan:

“Yes, we were ordinary mortals and few of us survived, but all of us fulfilled our patriotic duty before our hallowed Motherland!”

The memorial complex was the work of a team of artists led by Yevgeny Vuchetich, its chief architect Yakov Belopolsky.


Khatyn, Belarus

The Khatyn Memorial. “The Unbowed Man”

“Good people, remember:
We loved life, and our Motherland, and you, our dearest.
We were burned alive.
And this is our appeal to all:
May sorrow and grief turn
into your fortitude and strength,
So that you could bring peace
and calm to the Earth forever.
So that never, nowhere from now
will flames consume such lives!”

These words can be read on the concrete wall of the Khatyn Memorial, which was opened on July 5 1969. The memorial to the 185 Belarusian villages destroyed in the Great Patriotic War stands on the site where 149 people from the village of Khatyn were burned alive.

Sculptor Sergei Selikhanov’s figure “The Unbowed Man” depicts Yuzif Kaminsky, the only villager who survived that Nazi massacre, cradling the corpse of his dead son.

Architects: Yury Gradov, Valentin Zankovich, Leonid Levin.


Salaspils, Latvia

Ensemble to the Victims of Nazism

“Aiz siem vartiem vaid zeme”
(Beyond this gate the land groans)

This line is from a poem by the Latvian poet Eizens Veveris, a former prisoner of the Salaspils, Stutthof and Mauthausen concentration camps. The words, in Latvian, are engraved on a wall of the Salaspils Memorial Ensemble to the Victims of Nazism that stands on the former site of the Nazi concentration camp; it was opened in 1967.

One of its stones has the inscription:

“Here people were executed because
they were innocent
Here people were executed because each
was a human being and loved their Motherland.”

Sculptors, Levs Bukovskis, Olegs Skarainis, Janis Zarins, Ernst Neizvestny; architects, Gunars Asaris, Olgerts Ostenbergs, Ivars Strautmanis, Olegs Zakamennijs, Albert Paperno, Maris Gundars, Georgs Mincs.



“We fell for the Motherland - but She was saved.”
These words are to be engraved in the marble at the foot of the monument to the Soviet Soldier in Rzhev that will be unveiled to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory.


Berlin, Germany

The War Memorial “The Liberator Warrior”

The Soviet War Memorial “The Liberator Warrior” was unveiled in Berlin’s Treptower Park on May 8 1949, the complex a symbol of the victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War and World War II and of the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany.

The sculptor of the monument was Yevgeny Vuchetich; architect, Yakov Belopolsky; engineer, Sarah Valerius.

The base of the monument has a round memorial hall with wall mosaic panels by Anatoly Gorpenko.

An inscription in Russian and German reads:

“Today it is universally recognized that the Soviet people through their selfless struggle saved European civilization from the fascist thugs.
This is the great historical service of the Soviet people to humankind.”





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