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Soviet Flag over the Reichstag Building 1945 (Germany)

Last modified: 2006-01-14 by santiago dotor
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Soviet Flag over the Reichstag Building

Stepan Andreyevich Neustroyev was the commander of the battalion that stormed the Reichstag in 1945 and the man who hoisted the flag over the building. This is one of the most famous images of World War Two and only last year [1997] did it become known that it had been doctored. [Cameraman] Khaldei had made the flag in the photograph himself from red tablecloths from Tass [Soviet press agency], which were emblazoned with the hammer and sickle like the Soviet flag. Erich Kuby's book The Russians and Berlin, page 60, says:

It seems strange that the Russians should have looked upon the Reichstag, (...) now an empty piece of masonry, its windows and doors bricked up, as the symbol of Germany. (...) Mednikov describes this historic action in great detail:
About noon on April 28 [1945], one of our battalions advanced on the Spree. At the same time the commander of the regiment, Col. F.M. Zinchenko, took charge of a red banner (...) expressly set aside for planting on the dome. It was Red Banner No.5 of the [150th Rifle Division] 3rd Shock Army (...) [it was] twenty-three-year-old Capt. Stefan Andreyevich Noystroev (...) men [who eventually] battled their way into the building, fighting for every room and corridor (...) Noystroev ordered a shock detachment commanded by Lt. Berest to escort the two [Zinchenko appointed regimental] standard-bearers (...) [who] took nearly half a day to reach the dome. At 10:50 p.m. on April 30, the banner of victory was unfurled over the Reichstag.
From this account it becomes clear that the famous photograph [by Khaldei] of [standard-bearers] Egorov and Kantariya planting the Red Flag on the roof of the Reichstag could not have been taken at that historic moment. For a start, it was dark at 10:50 p.m., while the picture was obviously taken in broad daylight. Moreover, the soldiers in the street appear to be moving about quite fearlessly and openly, which they would not have done had fighting still been going on all around them — as it was at the time the banner was first held aloft. If we look more closely, we see that there is no trace of anything on the vulgar pinnacle of the Reichstag to which a flag pole could have been attached. The soldier is simply holding up the flag in a dramatic pose. In other words, the world-famous photograph must have been taken a day or two after the storming of the Reichstag.

Ben Weed, 28 February 1998