Statue of Vladimir Lenin Contested in Germany

The communist policies spread by Vladimir Lenin shaped a large portion of the world for decades. Relatively speaking, it has not been long since the wall dividing Germany was torn down. Now, the destruction of another communist symbol might be due to commence. In the city of Schwerin, a bronze statue of Lenin stands in close proximity to a residential apartment building. While there is some controversy surrounding the decision, it may soon be torn down.

The controversy springs from the belief of many that this may be the last statue of its kind that still exists in the nation of Germany. The decision to tear it down falls quite close to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the event which helped put a cap on the Cold War era. Many want to preserve the statue of Lenin simply because the man was a big part of history. Not all who would like the statue to remain are necessarily communists or even communist sympathizers, but they believe that the legacy of German’s divide is a part of history which is worth remembering.

Even Schwerin’s mayor believes that the statue should remain, but many who would rather forget about the rockier chapters in German history have been protesting its existence and demanding that it be torn down. Meanwhile, protestors of the Lenin statue are actually hurting their own city’s finances by constantly vandalizing the statue and the surrounding area with graffiti. This has led to graffiti counter-attacks bearing messages in favor of the statue’s preservation, the NPR reports.

This is not the first time that the city has debated taking the statue down. They gave the matter considerable attention roughly seven years ago, and decided to preserve history but to add a placard to the statue explaining that Lenin was not necessarily being honored as a hero. Despite this placard, many East Germans do in fact harbor fond memories of the communist regime in East Germany. As such, they do consider the man to be a hero and harbor stark resentments against those who would have his likeness taken down.

A decision regarding the Lenin statue has yet to be reached, but many tempers are flaring as the debate continues. The debate has spread far beyond the simple issue of history’s preservation and has divided the town into those who take pride in East Germany and those who find certain chapters of history regrettable. It appears that the predominant view of the public in Schwerin is that the statue of Lenin should stay, but protestors against this decision have been incredibly active.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE