Lenin’s head goes missing in Berlin

A statue of Vladimir I. Lenin that stood in East Berlin for over two decades and which was dismantled and removed in 1991 was thought to have been buried in pieces in the Köpenick Forest, located to the southeast of the German capital. The monument’s 3.5 ton granite head was believed to have been buried there as well, but when a group of artists asked for parts of the 19 meter-high statue to be unearthed, it was discovered that the head (and most of the other 129 disassembled parts) have gone missing over the years. The head–which is five meters tall–would have been used a part of an art exhibit planned for spring 2015, showcasing the changing face of Berlin art since the 18th century to the present.

The statue was erected in 1970 in East Berlin’s Lenin Square (since renamed United Nations Square). Klaus Wowereit, Berlin’s mayor, indicated that the precise location of the buried statue is unknown within the forest and as such, trying to unearth it for the exhibit would be a very costly venture.

The Leninplatz statue before 1992.

The Leninplatz statue before 1992.

The far-left Die Linke–a party that  was formed on the ruins of the Party of Democratic Socialism–doesn’t believe that the prime motivating factor in not searching for the statue is pure economics and fiscal conservatism. “They are still scared of that stupid old head,” the Die Linke MP Wolfgang Brauer told journalists.

American filmmaker Rick Minnich, however, believes that he can find Lenin’s granite head, as he had once searched for it in 1994, as part of a documentary film project entitled The Book of Lenins.

Andrea Theissen, the proposed exhibit’s curator, spoke with Britain’s Guardian daily and noted that she has a map which indicates the statue’s precise location. “”The Lenin statue is an important document to show how a united Germany has dealt with the history of the German Democratic Republic, ” Ms. Theissen noted.

Readers of HFP who have seen the German tragicomedy Good bye, Lenin! will recall the memorable scene, where the Lenin statue in question flies over Berlin, dangling off of a helicopter. This was a bronze replica of the original used as a prop in Wolfgang Becker’s 2003 film.

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