Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Berliners came to bury Lenin, not exhume his statue. But I remember it well.

As it looked then. 

It was 25 years ago this month that I was in East Berlin, tidying the vicinity of this very decapitated statue in preparation for the celebration of East Germany's 40th birthday, at which Mikhail Gorbachev famously wagged his finger at Erich Honecker.

Berlin's giant Lenin statue may have been lost, say city authorities; Monument torn down in 1991 was buried and cannot be dug up for exhibition, according to officials, by Philip Oltermann (Guardian)

It was the star of Good Bye Lenin, Wolfgang Becker's tragicomedy set around the fall of the Berlin Wall: a statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, suspended from a helicopter, seemingly waving goodbye to the crumbling socialist republic.

But more than two decades after it was torn down, Berlin authorities have admitted the giant monument may be lost in storage.

Curators of an exhibition about the German capital's monuments had proposed including the Russian revolutionary's 1.7-metre (5.6ft) head in their show, scheduled for spring 2015. Between 1970 and 1991, the statue had stood on Lenin Square in Berlin's Friedrichshain district. After its removal, it was cut into 129 pieces and buried in a pit in Köpenick.

My work duties at Leninplatz and the adjacent Friedrichshain public park as a temporary employee of the East Berlin Parks Department, culminating in a beer with Vladimir Putin in Dresden, were documented previously at NAC way back in 2008.

Pilsner, Putin and Me (Part One).

Pilsner, Putin and Me (Part Two).

Pilsner, Putin and Me (Part Three).

Pilsner, Putin and Me (Part Four).

These probably merit a comprehensive touch-up. Maybe some other time. I'll be back in Berlin soon for the first time in 15 years, and plan on visiting the empty space.

Ghosts affect me that way.

No comments: