The first German Lenin monument

The first Lenin monument in Germany was inaugurated in 1929 and placed in the building of the German Communist Party (KPD) in Halle. After a trip to the Soviet Union, a group of members of the KPD described with enthusiasm the “Lenin corners”, which could be seen all around the country. These memorials consisted of a representation of Lenin and other Communist symbols, located in buildings of the public administration or political organizations. Following this model, the KPD of Halle-Merseburg decided to erect the first German monument dedicated to Lenin. The central element of this installation was a ceramic mask 1,10m in height and 80cm in width, made by the sculptor Will Halle. Weiterlesen

Residents save Lenin-monument

In the small city of Bützow in the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern there is still a street named “Leninring”, where a commemorative stone dedicated to the founder of the Soviet Union can be found. The monument stands in front of an apartment block with the typical Socialist architecture style and is in bad shape, partially overgrown with moss. But nevertheless the Communist revolutionary still seems to matter to the residents, who in the year 2011 rebelled against a proposal of the local CDU, to change the name of the street (which would also have meant the demolition of the memorial stone). Weiterlesen

At the border

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In April 2016 a bust of Lenin was erected only a few meters from the border between Germany and Poland. During World War II, this sculpture had been stolen by the German army in the Soviet Union and sent to Küstrin-Kietz, in order to be destroyed and reused as a raw material for the arms industry. But two workers of the scrapping facility decided to hide it, saving it from the imminent smelting. Weiterlesen

Damnatio memoriae (ENG)

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The abandoned military area of Wittstock has turned into a ghost town. Entire apartment buildings, schools, office-blocks and hangars are falling apart. In front of the former cultural center we find an image, which is rich in contrasts: Lenin is standing there with his typical statesmanlike pose, but he is mutilated and completely covered with lichen. It was not possible to get more information about this act of vandalism, but the view of this half-destroyed statue seems like an exemplary representation of the neglect of the East-German monumental landscape. Weiterlesen

In the shadow of the Berlin Wall

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When the allies designed the border separating West-Berlin from the Eastern occupation zone, which would become the Democratic Republic of Germany, they set the line just before the city of Falkensee. After the building of the Berlin Wall, this small city lay literally in its shadow. When after decades of separation, Germany was finally reunited, the local population didn’t want their past, marked by the division, to be simply forgotten, so that in contrast to what happened in other towns, some monuments and elements of the life in the Socialist Germany were preserved. That’s why even nowadays we can still run into Lenin or Karl Marx in Falkensee. Their busts are exposed in the backyard of the museum for local history just in front of an authentic part of the Berlin Wall.

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Lenin in Switzerland

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During his last month of exile before travelling back to Russia, where he would lead the October Revolution, Lenin lived in Zürich. He spent most of his time in libraries, working on his political texts, or in cafés, where he often met other Russians living in exile. On the weekends, he liked to go with his wife, Nadeschda Krupskaja, to the Zürichberg, a green hill nearby. It was in that moment when Lenin wrote his essay “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”, one of his most important works. Weiterlesen