Berlin exhumes head of Lenin statue 24 years after burial


Berlin authorities dug up a 3,900-kilogramme piece of red granite carved in the likeness of Vladimir Lenin on Thursday, exhuming a piece of Germany’s Soviet history that was displayed in city’s east before being buried after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A crane lifted the 1.7-metre stone head of the communist revolutionary and Soviet leader from a forest on the south-eastern outskirts of Berlin.

A truck then carried the collossal head across the capital to a Renaissance fortress-turned-museum in the city’s west, where it will become the center of an exhibition on Berlin monuments to open early next year.

“The cracks in German history are interesting,” museum director Andrea Theissen said. “That is expected to be shown in the exhibit on the monuments.”

Lenin’s granite head was unloaded with a forklift when it arrived at the Spandau Citadel and placed on pallets in the fortress’ courtyard, layed sideways on the right half of Lenin’s face.

The head used to sit atop a 19-metre figure of Lenin, created by Soviet sculptor Nikolai Tomsky and unveiled in 1970 in East Berlin. It stood in what was once known as Leninplatz, today’s United Nations Square until its removal in 1991, a year after German reunification.

It was cut into about 130 pieces and buried in the woods, a symbol of the burial of the German Democratic Republic of East Germany.

Only the head of the statue was exhumed; the other parts will remain buried.

Lenin’s leading role in political repression in the early days of the Soviet Union, in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed, went unnoticed for many years.