Leipzig’s spark extinguished

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„From the spark the flame will strike“ was the slogan of the Decembrists, who were the first to fight the tsarist regime in the 19th century. Lenin was inspired by it when he worked in exile in 1900 on the publication of a newspaper to unite the Russian workers‘ movement. It was given the title „Iskra“ (Engl. „Spark“) and was initially published in a small print house near Leipzig. In the former building of this print office, the first permanent museum exhibition on Lenin outside the Soviet Union was created in GDR times. Weiterlesen

The NVA glass painting

The central figure of the four-part glass painting is a soldier of the GDR-Army (NVA) next to the state symbol, a golden wreath of ears of corn with a hammer and a compass. On the right side Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels can be seen, while on the left a side portrait of Lenin appears in front of a sea of red flags. From the thematic point of view, it could be a typical work of art of the GDR, especially since it is located on a former barracks of the NVA. However, a closer look raises doubts, because both the sketchy style and the deplorable quality of the colors do not fit the art historical context. Weiterlesen

Leipzig’s monumental Lenin in Pirna

How Germany’s largest bust of Lenin ended up in the Saxon district town of Pirna three decades after the reunification is one of the many surprising chronicles of German monuments to Lenin. The bronze sculpture, two and a half meters tall, two meters wide and weighing nearly four tons, was erected in 1981 in front of the Kremlin-like Soviet pavilion at the Old Exhibition Center in Leipzig. It is a work of art by sculptor Georgij Neroda and a copy of the world’s largest bust, a bust of Lenin by Neroda in Ulan-Ude, Siberia. It shows Lenin with slightly Asian features and a friendly look. Weiterlesen

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. Weiterlesen

The Lenin Statue of the Socialist Youth Organization

In the permanent exhibition „Our History – Dictatorship and Democracy after 1945“ in the Zeithistorisches Forum Leipzig there is a larger-than-life statue of Lenin. However, not much is known about this black statue made of zinc alloy. Neither its creator, nor the year of its erection, nor its former location are documented; all that is known is that it came from the holdings of the socialist youth organization Free German Youth (FDJ). Weiterlesen

Lenin peeling off

Two red stars can still be seen on the rusted gate. It stands wide open and leads nowhere, because the garages and warehouses behind it have been demolished in the meantime. Dismantling and complete renovation in Krampnitz are proceeding rapidly, and all traces of the Soviet Army will probably be erased in the coming months and years. Also the red stars and an already heavily weathered Lenin mural. Weiterlesen

In the shadow of Perestroika

The hall is dark and has to be lighted with a torch. Now Lenin appears on the back wall in a resolute forward march. Behind him are symbolic buildings and infrastructure of the Soviet Union as well as a waving red flag with a Roman XXVII. Apparently, the mural was created on the occasion of the 27th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), which took place in Moscow from 25th February to 6th March 1986. There, the General Secretary of the Central Committee, Mikhail Gorbachev, introduced the political reforms of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) with which he wanted to modernise the Soviet Union. This process failed and only five years after the announcement of the plans, the USSR disintegrated. Weiterlesen

Lenin in the Olympic Village

The Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 were held during the Nazi regime and the National Socialist regime used them to project a positive, modern image of itself. The Olympic Stadium in Berlin-Westend was built for the sporting competitions and 18 kilometres to the west, in the Brandenburg Elstal, the accommodation for the international athletes was erected. 80 years have passed and now part of the rotten complex of the Olympic Village is being redeveloped into luxury flats, while the rest is left to decay. Among the abandoned buildings is the Hindenburghaus, named in honour of the former Field Marshal and President of the Reich, a cultural centre where a Lenin mural can still be found today. And of course, one might ask how this Lenin painting came to be placed in a sports complex built by the Nazis. Weiterlesen

A Lenin monument that is none

One of the most surprising chronicles of Lenin monuments in Germany is that of the statue ensemble „Hessendrescher“ in Groß-Gerau. This work by the artist Mario Derra has been standing in front of the historic town hall of this small West-German town since 2007 and shows five figures from the pre-industrial era: three peasants threshing grain and, a little further away, a woman with a child. One of the threshers clearly shows the facial features of Lenin: The leader of the October Revolution holds up the flail and appears relaxed despite the hard work. He probably already suspects that the oppression of the agricultural workers will soon be over. Weiterlesen