First Soviet Commandant of Berlin Put on the "Honorary Citizens" List Again

The name of Colonel-General Nikolai Berzarin, the first Soviet commandant of Berlin, has been again put on the "honorary citizens" list of the German capital. Berlin's Senate made up of the deputies from the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Party of Democratic Socialism, made such a decision on Tuesday.

Mr. Barzarin, one of the youngest Generals of the Soviet Army, served as a commandant of the defeated Berlin from April 28th to June 16th, 1945. This extraordinary man made every effort to save Berlin from hunger immediately after Nazi Germany's capitulation. His personal contribution is widely acknowledged. It was he who was responsible for the restoration of normal life in the city. He died in an accident that remains a mystery for many historians.

In 1965 the Council of Berlin, the GDR capital, granted him a title of an Honorary Citizen, but shortly after Germany unified in 1992, the House of Deputies of the unified Berlin decided to write the name of Nikolai Berzarin off the list. Berlin's Bersarin-Platz was renamed.

It took historians, politicians and common people in the FRG and Russia many years to restore justice and include the name of Berzarin in the list of the most respected people in Berlin. The Party of Democratic Socialism, the Green Party and the Social Democrats did their best.

In 2002 the Council of Friedrichhain, one of Berlin's central districts, restored the name of Bersarin-Platz. A plaque was put on a house in the square to appreciate the deed made by the Colonel-General helping common Germans at a time when they greatly suffered.

It became possible for the Council of Berlin to include the name of Nikolai Berzarin in the list of Honorary Citizens only after representatives of the rightist Christian-Democratic Union left the Berlin Government and Social Democrat Klaus Wowereit became mayor last year.

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