The bronze Berest (the author of the monument is a known Rostov sculptor Anatoly Sknarin) is shown holding the Victory Banner – assault flag of the 150th
Idritskaya Rifle Division Order of Kutuzov, II grade of the 3rd
Attack Army of 1st
The banner, which the squad under his command set up on Reichstag. However later, already in August 1946, when the decision was taken to give awards to the squad members, name of Alexei Berest was crossed out fr om award list for whatever reason. As the result Meliton Kantaria and Mikhail Egorov, who had accompanied Berest in that operation, were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and Berest was not.
It was decided to lim it to the Order of Red Banner. Though, initially he was nominated to the top award of the USSR. Vasily Kuznetsov, Colonel General, Commander of the 3rd
Attack Army, wrote in his report to the Head of the Chief Political Directorate of the Red Army: “On April 30, 1945, at 14:25 the soldiers from the company of senior sergeant Sianov forced along the staircase to the roof of the building and reached the dome of Reichstag. The brave militants – communist lieutenant Berest, komsomol (Young Communist Union) member Red Army private Egorov, and nonparty junior sergeant Kantaria – set up the banner; above the building of German parliament flew glorious flag of the Soviet Union – sign of our Great Victory.”
It is worth to note that it was not the only act of valor of Alexei Berest during the capture of Reichstag: it was he, who in the night of May 2, having changed to the uniform of the Red Army colonel (Berest had respectable appearance, confident voice and manners, that is why the part of negotiator, who must be a senior officer, was trusted to him), hold the parley with Reichstag garrison about its capitulation.
Life of Alexei Berest was interrupted also a that of a hero – at the sake of his life on November 3, 1970, he saved a small girl “Selmash” the railway station from the dashing train. He moved her away from the tracks in front of the flying passenger train “Moscow – Baku”, and had no time left for himself. The ambulance arrived only three hours later, Berest died in the hospital.