Photographer's Note

This is my second photo from Berlin on TrekEarth.
The first photo showed the present day Bundestag, former Reichstag. On 27 February 1933, shortly before Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany, the Reichstag was set on fire. Because it was obviously a symbol of democracy, its fire was quite symbolic for Nazi taking over the country.

The day after the fire, at Hitler's request, President Hindenburg signed the Reichstag Fire Decree into law by using Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. The Reichstag Fire Decree suspended most civil liberties in Germany, including habeas corpus, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right of free association and public assembly, the secrecy of the post and telephone.

The current photo presents the Brandenburg Gate. Another symbolic structure in Berlin. When Berlin was taken over by Russian Army in 1945 the Soviet flag was mounted on top of the gate and it stayed there until 1957.
Many WWII movies which I remember seeing as a child, start with the iconic Reichstag Fire and end up with the flags on top of the Brandenburg Gate.

I have found this information about Polish contribution to the final WWII battle:

About 180,000 Polish soldiers had took part in the final drive on Berlin under the command of Polish General Michal Rola-Zymierski, and 12,000 soldiers of the Kosciuszko Infantry Division, two artillery regiments and an engineering unit, found themselves in the middle of vicious battles on the streets of Berlin. Those Polish soldiers took 56 quadrants of the city, 7 factory complexes, 4 subway stations and most of the Polytechnic campus. They took 2550 POWs. But they paid a heavy price, loosing 2,800 of their own in these battles. On May 1, the Polish flag was hoisted on top of Brandenburg Gate, shortly joined by the red Soviet flag. Next day the Soviets removed the Polish flag, before advancing on the Reichstag building.

More info on Reichstag fire and Brandenburg Gate.

Photo taken with small low quality compact camera.

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Additional Photos by Mariusz Kamionka (mkamionka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5059 W: 102 N: 13024] (52428)
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