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Hand-Annotated Map of the Battle of Berlin, Showing the Progress of the 89th Armenian Rifles through the City, to the Reichstag. From the Personal Papers of the Major General Who Led the 89th Rifles' Assault on Berlin.

An excellent Battle of Berlin map, consisting of a contemporary manuscript record of the progress across Berlin of elements of the Soviet 3rd Shock Army, namely the 89th Armenian Rifles (89-я стрелковая дивизия), drawn onto a captured contemporary German map of Berlin: Grosser Silva-Stadtplan von Berlin (Berlin: Willy Holz, ca. 1939).

The hand-written notes show the 89th Infantry Rifle Division (the Tamanyan Division) entering Berlin from the northern suburbs and proceeding to the Reichstag, where they famously danced the kochari (Armenian national folk dance) on what remained of the walls of the building that was seen by the Soviets to be the heart of Nazi Germany.

Battle of Berlin

By early 1945, the Germans had all but lost the war on Eastern Front.  The Red Army proved an unstoppable tidal wave, destroying the Wehrmacht division by division. Evacuation measures for Berlin had been prepared for the Reich government, ministries, and security apparatus starting in February of 1945. However, their implementation was delayed so that the commanders would not be seen to be admitting defeat. With two million Soviet soldiers quickly surrounding Berlin, Adolf Hitler finally gave the order to execute the defensive plan for the city on April 20th, 1945, his 56th birthday.

With a balance of power of some two million Soviet troops to forty-thousand German defenders, Berlin's defenses proved completely inadequate in the face of the Red Army, and by May 2nd the Battle of Berlin had come to an end with a complete Soviet victory, and shortly thereafter a conclusion to the Second World War in Europe.

89th Armenian Rifles

The hand-drawn notes on the map show the Tamanyan Division entering the city from the north through Reinickendorf-Ost, proceeding to capture the Schäfersee Lake, Bornholmer Strasse rail station, Humboldthain Park (with its massive concrete Flak Tower), Rosenthaler Platz (where several small fronts are shown), crossing the Spree River just to the east of Friedrichstraße, continuing to the Reichstag, and Königsplatz. To the west, the manuscript notes show deployments of the 390th, 400th, and 526th Regiments of the 3rd Shock Army in Charlottenberg.

The 89th Armenian Rifles arrived at the Reichstag just after its capture by other elements of the 3rd Shock Army.

Wikipedia provides the following overview of the exploits of the Tamanyan Division during the Battle of Berlin:

The 89th arrived in the German capital on the night of April 29, along with other elements of the 3rd Shock Army, and deployed the 390th, 400th, and 526th Regiments to take part in heavy street-to-street battles in the Wedding and Reinickendorf districts.The division's artillery was put to good effect to level buildings where lurking panzerfaust teams were holding up the unit's advance into the central part of the city. On April 30 the division had encountered the twin four-story structures at Flakturm III at Humboldthain Park. Safaryan ordered that they be encircled, and brought his artillery to bear against the flak towers and had his sappers lay a thousand kilograms of explosives at the foundations. Though they caused a great number of casualties, including inflicting concussions against the defenders within, they were unable to penetrate the four meters of iron and concrete walls. But under withering artillery and anti-tank gunfire, on May 2 the commander of the flak towers agreed to surrender.

In several days of fighting the division had overrun seven districts. For its role in the capture of Berlin, the 89th was awarded with the Order of Kutuzov 2nd Class and Major General Hmayak G. Babayan was bestowed with the Hero of the Soviet Union. The 89th Rifle Division is recorded to have liberated a total of 900 cities, towns, and villages. It had advanced a distance of 3,700 kilometers in its combat history, and 7,333 of its members were given commendations and awards, nine of whom were decorated with the award of the Hero of the Soviet Union. A "friendship monument" and memorial was erected in the division's honor in Sevastopol.

Provenance: Major General Nver Georgievich Safaryan

Nver Georgievich Safaryan (Нве́р Гео́ргиевич Сафаря́н) was an Armenian military officer who commanded the Soviet 295th (1942), then the 89th Rifle Divisions (1943-1946). Under his command, the 89th Tamanyan Rifles participated in the Vistula-Oder Offensive and the assault on Berlin.

On February 19, 1943, Safaryan was promoted to the rank of Colonel, and on December 21 of that year, he was promoted again, to the rank of Major General. On May 31, 1945, by a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, he was awarded the Order of Kutuzov, 2nd Class.

This map and two others were purchased from the descendants of Major General Safaryan.

Condition Description
Contemporary hand-drawn notes. Some old separation expertly stabilized on verso. Flattened.