Manuscript-Annotated Map Showing Soviet Forces Entering Germany for the First Time!
A fantastic map showing the first Soviet breakthrough into Germany-proper, during the leadup to the Battle of Berlin and the closing stages of the Vistula-Oder Offensive. The map comes from the personal collection of Major General Nver Georgievich Safaryan, who led the 89th Armenian Rifles during the Vistula-Oder Offensive and the Battle of Berlin.
The map centers around Frankfurt (Oder) in eastern Germany on the present-day border with Poland, and stretches from Kustrin in the north to Neuzelle in the south, in the west is Fürstenwalde, almost on the outskirts of Berlin. This swath of territory represents the first foothold of the Soviet Red Army as it pushed into Germany-proper in the quest to capture Berlin. This map is particularly special as it shows in contemporary manuscript the Red Army front as it first crossed the Oder River into Germany.
The manuscript notes on the map show several fronts, one north of Frankfurt (Oder), pushing just across the Oder River; one just to the south of Frankfurt (Oder), encircling the town; and then a less-well-defined front advancing in several layers west towards Berlin. The Seelow Heights ("Зеелов") are shown on the map - this was the site of the final major battle before Soviet forces reached Berlin.
The most detailed manuscript notes are just to the south of Frankfurt (Oder), where the 89th Armenian Rifles were engaged in capturing the city.
A red pencil shows a track from Frankfurt (Oder) north to Müncheberg and from there north-west to Berlin. The 89th Armenian Rifles participated in the assault on Berlin from the north, along with other aspects of the 3rd Shock Army.
89th Armenian Rifles
Wikipedia provides the following overview of the exploits of the Tamanyan Division during the Vistula-Oder Offensive:
In October–September 1944, the division was transferred first to Brest and then deployed along the defensive line near Lublin. With the commencement of the Vistula–Oder Offensive on January 12, 1945, the 89th Division took part in the general advance into Poland and aided in the liberation of dozens of Polish settlements and towns. By February, it had crossed the Oder River and had taken control of the approach leading to Frankfurt an der Oder and prevented the Germans from breaking through to endanger the Soviet forces now converging onto Berlin. By now, the unit was formally referred to as the "Little Armenian Land" (Haykakan Malaya Zemlya). With these routes secure, the Soviets now prepared for the capture of Berlin. The 89th Division entered Frankfurt an der Oder on April 16 and was then integrated into the command of the 3rd Shock Army. Unit veteran Arshavir Hakobyan writes that many of the Armenians of the division expressed a particular eagerness to take part in Berlin's capture on account of the role the German Empire as an ally of the Ottoman Empire during the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
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.