While global strife rages about the controversial historical figure’s past being enshrined as a statue, on Saturday a new memorial has divided the former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin will be launched in Germany.
More than 30 years after the communist experimentation on German soil following the end of the second world war, the small Marxist-Leninist party German (MLPD) will put up a Lenin appearance in the western city of Gelsenkirchen.
The MLPD said it was the first statue erected in the former territory of West Germany, decades after the communist state of the eastern German Democratic Republic collapsed.
“The time for monuments to racist, anti-Semitic, fascist, anti-communist and other relics has clearly passed,” MLPD chairman Gabi Fechtner said in a statement.
“Lenin was the foremost thinker of his time about the importance of world history, the early fighters for freedom and democracy,” he said.
Not everyone in Gelsenkirchen, a center of the former industrial and mining center in the Ruhr region, has welcomed the appearance of a 2.15 meter (7 ft) communist leader, which was made in the former Czechoslovakia in 1957.
“Lenin represents violence, oppression, terrorism and terrible human suffering,” representatives of the mainline parties in the Gelsenkirchen-West district council said in a resolution adopted in early March.
The council “will not tolerate such anti-democratic symbols in its district”, he added, urging all legal methods to be used to block their installation.
But then in March the state high court in Münster rejected the argument that the statue would have an impact on historic buildings on the same site.
The MLPD has expressed interest in sculptures from as far away as Russia, and celebrated the opening with sausages and cakes – while urging guests to maintain social distance and wear nose and mouth cover for coronavirus infections.
Around the world Black Lives Matter Movement have found some echoes in Germany. Unknown people sprinkled red paint on the statue of Otto von Bismarck in the Altona district in Hamburg this week.
The “Iron Chancellor” behind German unification in 1871 was also known as the host of the Berlin Conference of 1884, which became a byword for African carvings among European colonial powers.
Berlin itself has become a center of activism against the colonial public’s warnings, with much anger directed at street names honoring 19th-century figures in the so-called “African Quarter”.
But the political decision to change the name of the road was named after figures such as Adolf Lüderitz, a trader who played a key role in colonizing Namibia, or Carl Peters, a colonizer behind German expansion in east Africa, had met with resistance from the local population.
Urte Evert, head of the Berlin Spandau Fortress museum, where many old statues are on display, said that in the decades of experience dealing with the Nazis and the country’s communist past, “everything was always done right” with official applications to the local government and demolition orderly regularly. monument.
“We have not made much progress with colonialism, something that the US, Britain and France have also faced for longer,” Evert added.
While the US, Britain and Belgium have seen statues of Christopher Columbus, slave trader Edward Colston and King Leopold II, Congo’s brutal rulers, attacked or vanished, in Germany, only a handful of monuments were scattered by paint.
For Evert, how these items are presented to the public can be a way for the state to calculate its past.
The statues are “upside down or provided with placards [to explain its past] can allow debates to take place in public spaces, “he said.
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