Lenin in the Communist Curve

In the course of our documentation of all German monuments to Lenin, it became increasingly clear that despite the frenetic destruction of all leftovers from the GDR in the early 1990s, the Soviet revolutionary hero can still be found in the most unexpected places. This is also the case at Seepark Lünen, a 63-hectare green space in the Ruhr region. When the recreation area was created in 1996 as part of the National Garden Exhibition, nine Soviet monuments that had landed in Lünen by chance were also erected. To the present day, they stand there as an unconventional tourist attraction.

LUENEN_88For the National Garden Exhibition in Lünen near Dortmund, the site of the former „Preußen“ coalmine was transformed into the „Seepark“. With many trees, a lake, a bathing beach, playgrounds, bicycle paths and the largest Frisbee golf course in Germany, this green zone quickly developed into one of the most popular places for excursions in the Ruhr area. The erection of the Soviet monuments was a fortuitous story with a happy ending: in the early 1990s, a number of sculptures from the former Soviet Union arrived at the Kayser iron and steel works to be melted down and reused. However, some works of art were first temporarily stored in a depot. For unknown reasons, they were not melted down in the end, so that they could return to the public years later.

In the preparation of the garden exhibition, the then mayor Christina Dörr-Schmidt (SPD) discovered these sculptures by chance and had the idea to make an art installation with them in the new natural complex. So the nine sculptures were placed without pedestals along a rather hidden path. This was supposed to symbolize the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the personality cult to its heroes. It is unclear, however, who exactly these nine historical figures are. Only Lenin is clearly recognizable. The identity of the others is unknown and no one has taken the trouble to investigate them. We will gratefully take on this task and hope to soon bring some of these figures out of anonymity.

Almost a quarter of a year after its creation, this open-air gallery is still in an acceptable state of preservation. Although some monuments already show traces of weathering, but overall the place popularly known as „Communist Curve“ is quite well maintained. Many visitors, including many Russians, come here specifically to take a selfie with Lenin, while others discover them by chance while walking or playing Frisbee golf, puzzling over their identity of these. A sculpture of a bearded man is sometimes mistaken for Karl Marx. Lenin, on the other hand, is recognized by everybody at first sight. Some people seem to be astonished to find the Bolshevik revolutionary hero here. Well, Lenin is always good for a surprise.

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