WWII Photo: The Long Journey of the Isted Lion – Returned to Berlin After 65 Years

Snapped over 65 years ago at the Lichterfelde-Berlin SS Barracks in October of 1945, this shot gives us a rare glimpse of the US Army unit that transported the famous Isted Lion from it’s home in Berlin back to it’s ancestral lands of Denmark.  Danish sculptor Herman Wilhelm Bissen created the monument for installation as a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the common Danish soldier.  The statue we see today was completed and unveiled in 1862 with the following inscription:

Isted den 25. Juli 1850. Det danske Folk reiste dette Minde
(Isted, 25 July 1850. The Danish people set this memorial)

The statue was then taken in 1864 by the Germans after a bitter Danish defeat at the Battle of Dybbol.  From there it was put on display, attacked by German nationalists, dismantled, copied, reconfigured and moved to the arsenal in Berlin, moved again to the barracks at Lichterfelde where it rested until October of 1945.  This is where my recent photograph acquisition comes into play.

Isted Lion is Lifted

Isted Lion is Lifted

Lion on the Move

Lion on the Move

This pair of incredible photographs was privately taken by a member of a US Army engineering unit who were stationed in Berlin right after the end of the war.  This shot shows the engineers loading the wandering lion into the bed of a heavy-duty truck.  I can’t find any other shots of this scene.  Also, there aren’t many soldiers in the shot……  this could be the only photograph of this scene on the web.  From there, the lion was transported back to Denmark where it rested until 2010.  Please watch the video below to finish the story!

2 thoughts on “WWII Photo: The Long Journey of the Isted Lion – Returned to Berlin After 65 Years

  1. I know this is an old post so I am not sure anyone will ever see this, but My grandfather was a US army engineer. He was in Berlin after the war and I have an identical copy of one of those photos. I had assumed he took the photo but maybe not. I would be interested to know any background about where you got the photo and if you ever found any others of it being moved.

    • Brian – these were taken by a medical doctor whose name escapes me currently. I have several hundred taken by him with notes on the back of each as well as some of his negatives and color slides. How did you come to find the site?

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