The Lenin Stele from the Special Armaments Camp

Many Lenin monuments on abandoned Soviet sites are highly endangered. Despite their historical value as authentic contemporary documents of the Soviet Army in Germany, there is usually a lack of people or institutions as well as financial resources to ensure their protection. Therefore, every rescue of such a monument deserves to be celebrated. The last one to be saved is the 3-ton Lenin Stele from Himmelpforter Heide, which is now at the German-Russian Museum in Berlin-Karlshorst, where it will soon be re-erected.

2_Lenin600The Soviet Special Armaments Camp Himmelpfort (also known as Lychen II) was built in 1967/1968 in the forest area near Fürstenberg an der Havel and served as a storage site for nuclear warheads. It was used until 1990 and then stood abandoned for many years. In 2010, the district of Oberhavel acquired the property and started a renaturation project in which only the two storage bunkers were preserved, while the remaining buildings succumbed to the wrecking ball. Fortunately, the responsible site supervisor made sure that the Lenin monument was preserved. It is a stele of the Soviet Army with a side portrait of Lenin on the front side and a Soviet emblem on the back. Under the emblem is the number 50, suggesting the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Soviet Union, celebrated in 1972, as the occasion for the erection of the monument. It stood at the entrance of the complex and its maximum height is 6.20 meters, its length up to 2.20 meters and its width 60 cm.

After the dismantling, the monument was kept in a depot for a few years, without any future use in sight. But after the administrators of the platform heimatgalerie.de heard about it, they contacted the German-Russian Museum. There, a permanent exhibition on the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany is to be created in the future, to which the magnificent stele could fit well. In fact, the museum showed interest, so that the monument was brought to Berlin in 2019. Enclosed by a protective tarpaulin, it now lies behind the museum building, waiting for the exact location to be determined and permission to erect it to be granted. Traces of weathering are clearly visible on the stele, but at least it will endure in the future.

Many thanks to Christoph Meißner from the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst

Video of the transport of the stele to the museum

Photo Himmelpfort 2009: Sven (instagram: urbex_svenhb)

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