The engraved portrait of Lenin

When the Soviet Army left East Germany in the early 1990s, a vast network of empty barracks and ghost towns was left behind. There are still traces, leftovers and some mysteries of the Soviets to be found there today. One of these enigmas is the Lenin head, about one meter high, carved into the wall in the abandoned complex in Kummersdorf.

2_Lenin88This barracks had been an important military complex for troop training and for the testing and production of military technology since imperial times. Combat equipment and war tools were also developed here during World War II. Among other things, the „Maus“ tank was to be tested and manufactured here. Hitler expected this combat vehicle to give him decisive superiority on the battlefields, which would ultimately lead Germany to victory. However, the hall, planned in 1944, was never completed and its basic structure stands today as a gigantic ruin on the site. Not far from this Nazi-era skeleton, several buildings remain that were used by Soviet forces during GDR times.

In one building, which may have served as a canteen, the engraved side portrait of Lenin can be seen on the second floor. After decades of weathering, it is a bit faded, but still clearly recognizable. The genesis of this work, however, is a big question mark: Was it a draft for a monument that was never installed? Or simply the immortalization of a loyal Soviet soldier shortly before his departure? Many members of the army carved their names, hometowns, or simple pictures into walls as a farewell. Why not a last portrait of Lenin, perhaps even inspired by Bertolt Brecht’s poem „The Invincible Inscription“?

In the abandoned building, one finds other evidence of the Soviets: tin cans, badges, newspapers, posters, and even an address book. However, one searches in vain for clues to the motives of the creator of this unique Lenin head. The mystery remains unsolved.


The ruin of the hall planned to produce the tank „Maus“ during World War 2

In Kummersdorf there is also a Soviet mural with Lenin as the central figure: More info & pics


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