Warsaw – Soviet Military Cemetery

In the post-war period, the Soviets liked to create an impression that they saved the city, which wasn’t entirely in line with the reality of the Warsaw Uprising, something which they tried to erase from the collective memory. This grand cemetery relatively near to the centre of the city was constructed between 1949 and 1950 and it contains the remains of over 21,000 Soviet soldiers.

The remains of the deceased Soviet soldiers were collected from various cemeteries around the city and transferred here in 1951 in collective plots.

The Soviets put up a plaque stating:

“To the eternal glory of heroic soldiers of the invincible Soviet Army, fallen in battles with the Hitlerite invader for the liberation of Poland and our capital Warsaw.”

It’s fair to say that this doesn’t really entirely reflect the situation with the Warsaw Uprising, and the Polish Government agreed, and it was changed in 2015 to state:

“To the memory of Soviet Army soldiers fallen in liberating Poland from German occupation in the years 1944-1945.”

It’s probably worth adding that the Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September 1939, as part of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with Germany.

One of the numerous sculptures which were supervised by Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz and Stanisław Lisowski.

The ornamental plots, which look empty at first, but there is an identifying number in each corner.

There are some plaques in the plots, a few with photos of the deceased soldier. I’m not sure when these were placed here, but there are relatively few of them.

The whole arrangement is inevitably controversial given the relationship between Poland and the Soviet Union and then Poland and Russia. That has led to a series of vandalism incidents where graffiti has been placed on the main memorial, with cameras now protecting the site and for some time there was a permanent police presence at the site. It is though otherwise a peaceful site and is still well cared for.