X-files: Lenin in Potsdam 1 – The Statue

Potsdam2001a

A statue, which is under monument protection, but disappears without a trace. An old and forgotten bust, which suddenly is standing at the entrance of the Volkspark. Lenin’s existence in Potsdam is a succession of mysterious incidents and even journalists, politicians and public authorities lose track of it. Weiterlesen

Damnatio memoriae (ENG)

lenin_in_wittstock

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

Lenin in Forst Zinna (ENG)

the-look

Between Luckenwalde and Jüterbog we find the nature reserve of Forst Zinna-Jüterbog-Kellberg, where one of the darkest pages in the history of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany was written. Back in the 19th century, the German army built a military training area, which was expanded by the Wehrmacht during World War II and taken over by the Red Army after the Nazi’s capitulation. This military area included a driving school for tanks. Weiterlesen

At the abandoned military hospital

1Wandplakat

Hidden beyond a green curtain of trees and wild growing shrubberies, we can still find the abandoned complex of the former military hospital in Jüterbog. After the Soviets left it in 1993 after using it for 48 years, the buildings were emptied by German authorities and abandoned. Nowadays and after so many years of decay, the main building looks like a location for a horror movie: long corridors with peeled walls, collapsed ceilings, broken windows and two completely rotten operation rooms with a chair and a bed. Weiterlesen

In front of the food-stand

Red Lenin

Though the style of Soviet Realism, which dominates amongst the public monuments with politic relevance in the entire Eastern Block, was not precisely known for its variety, it’s quite surprising, in how many different forms it was able to represent Lenin. For instance in the 3 meters statue of Eberswalde made of red granite, the role of strong statesman isn’t specially emphasized, being Lenin rather presented as a dreamy thinker: With one hand in the pocket and the other grabbing his coat collar, his glance gets lost in the distance. He is wearing the Swedish fisherman cap, which he bought in 1917 in Stockholm, on his way back to Russia after many years of exile in Central Europe, and looks a little bit fatter than usual. If it wasn’t for the unmistakable facial features, one could think to be standing in front of the figure of a Scandinavian Fisherman, looking into the infinite ocean…

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Red carnations for Lenin

Lenin in Nohra

Since the 19th century, red carnations have been considered a symbol of the international labor movement: Back then they were carried out by the participants of illegal meetings in Germany and France. During the period of the Cold War these flowers would become a distinctive mark of Socialist ideology in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. To celebrate special holidays, people would put them down – and actually still do nowadays – at the grave of soldiers fallen in war or in front of monuments dedicated to the adored state-idols. In Nohra, on a sunny spring day, we found red carnation lying in front of the statue of Lenin. They were not real, but plastic-flowers, maybe because they are cheaper and last longer. Weiterlesen

The Tank Division in Bernau

Mausuleum

ENGLISH

HauptgebaudeNow that he was relegated from the central spots of the capital, Lenin has got to hang around in remote ruins. In Bernau there are two parcels with big building blocks, which were the headquarter of the Heeresbekleidungsamts – something like a national clothing agency – during the Third Reich. After the war, the Red Army took over the place. The 90. Armoured Division was the last group to use the installations, before they were abandoned in the year of 1993: Where once was a direct train track, in order to deliver asap the new fancy uniforms or the most modern weapons, trees and bushes are growing now completely unwound. And in the buildings, in which generals were discussing the posible development of a third world war, now prevails the decay and a grave silence, which is only interrupted by some distant footsteps and you ask yourself if it’s only the echo of your own ones or maybe the ones of a soldier, which was left behind… Weiterlesen