Vandals spray Nazi symbols at Soviet war memorial in Berlin

Vandals sprayed Nazi symbols and anti-communist slogans on a massive monument to Soviet war dead in Berlin, police said Wednesday.

Two engraved Soviet flags were sprayed with swastikas, and the base of a stone monument was marked with a Nazi anti-communist slogan, spokeswoman Mirjam Selmke said. The vandalism was reported at about 5:30 p.m. (1530 GMT) Tuesday, she said.

Police covered over the graffiti with white paint, Selmke said. It will be removed later by the park's custodians, she said.

The block-long memorial in the former East Berlin's Treptow Park is a grave for thousands of Soviet soldiers who died taking the city in 1945 at the end of World War II.

Its massive militaristic scope includes eight stone sarcophagi depicting acts of heroism and engraved with sayings of former Soviet leader Josef Stalin. It is dominated by a 11.5-meter (38-foot) statue of a Soviet soldier holding a child and smashing a swastika with a sword.

The Soviet war memorial is the biggest of three in Berlin that former Chancellor Helmut Kohl promised Germany would keep up after the last Soviet troops pulled out.

Associated Press

On the photo: the monument to a Soviet Soldier the Liberator in Treptow Park

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