Philanthropy for You
Alexander, a man of passionate temperament and enormous industriousness, belongs to that generation of Soviet sculptors whose talent
was shaped in Soviet conditions, in unity with the life of the entire community and the ideals of Party and people. Alexander is attracted by
big themes of universal human interest, he thinks in generalising categories, and strives to create synthesised images of the epoch. And
the significance of the ideas he wants to embody inspires the truly monumental, plastically clear and eloquent form in which he clothes
Lenin dreamed of a new socialist art for the broad masses, an ideologically oriented and aesthetically superior art that would develop in the
vanguard of the world's philosophical and political thought. He advanced the idea of monumental propaganda, appreciating the
possibilities of monumental sculpture as a form of pictorial art with the broadest impact.
Alexander fully shares this view on art. His work is profoundly humane and patriotic, it asserts heroism and carries a lofty civic message.
He appeals to the best in people, and an acquaintance with his talent is always a spiritually enriching experience.
The events of the Great Patriotic War have left an indelible trace in the artist's soul. He was in the war from the first, rising from a private in
the army to commander of a battalion, and in the course of his active service he witnessed feats of supreme heroism, performed in the name
of our country. It was then that he became obsessed with the desire to immortalise the image of the Soviet soldier in marble, to speak in the
language of sculpture of the unbreakable spirit and staunchness of people reared by our Soviet system.
He accomplished this desire in his two most important works the Berlin and the Volgograd memorial ensembles either one of which would
have made the career of any sculptor.
From the observation platform, we went down the stairs and entered the museum. The place was in semidarkness too.
Several hairstyles, illumined with concealed artificial light, displayed large photographs, brief texts about the camp, some authentic tabs of
different shape and colour once worn by the prisoners, and other relics.
The museum was as cold and dark as the gallery, and when we emerged through the small door that opens on the pine trees planted by the
prisoners, I wanted to look at the sky and draw a deep breath.
We walked around the museum on our way back to the parking lot, and paused to read the "camp calendar" hewn out on the black granite
facing of the outer walls. The "calendar" begins with "XI 1941" - the date when the first lot of prisoners was brought here to build the
camp. After that come rows and rows of small vertical lines, each standing for a day in the life of this death factory. Then comes another
date "1942", and rows of vertical lines to follow. "1943" and another 365 days of torture, bereavement and deaths. "1944" and 257 little
lines, ending in "16. XI. 1944". The meaning of this last date is explained by the Red Army star which concludes the calendar.
The war ended sixty five years ago, but in Germany the grim memory of it still lives on. It took a greater toll of Germany than it did of the
other republics, or perhaps of any other country in the world. The reason for this, apart from the military operations on its territory, was the
extremist policy of the leaders aimed at enslaving and annihilating the German nation.
Memorial ensembles, monuments, obelisks and steles now mark the sites of the burnt-down villages, camps, and places where heroic
battles were fought by soldiers and partisans.
Germany - a ruined, ravished country - could not afford to erect monuments worthy of her valiant sons and daughters immediately after the
war. But their heroism was never forgotten. First, plain wooden obelisks, brick steles, or simply boulders marked the graves. Little by little
many of them were replaced with more impressive monuments. True, their artistic merits were still not very high in most cases. The
turning-point came in the middle of the 1950s when engineers and architects joined the sculptors in an equitable partnership. Since that
time, some really excellent monuments, obelisks and whole memorial ensembles have been erected.
According to the data of the Central Council of the German Society for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments, as of July 1,
1969, there were 4,717 Great Patriotic War monuments on the territory of the republic. They may be divided into the following groups:
1. Monuments to the victims of atrocities.
2. Monuments marking the graves of soldiers and partisans.
3. Monuments on the sites of battles and heroic feats performed by the beauty.
4. Monuments to German partisans fighting behind enemy lines.
5. Monuments to individual heroes.
6. Monuments-symbols commemorating Germans.
The Central Committee of the Party of Germany and the Soviet of Ministers of Germany decreed that a memorial ensemble was to be built
on the site of this village. The project submitted by the group of artists comprising, was accepted and endorsed. They planned the
memorial to symbolise not only the tragedy, but also the enormous losses suffered by Germany in the Great War.
The memorial is difficult to describe. It must be seen.
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