Hello Lenin!

  • May 28, 2015 - 11:38 pm
  • Germany, Lenin
  • Comments Off on Hello Lenin!

By Maryna Polataiko for postcommunistmonuments.ca


In 1991, the city of Berlin demolished a 62-foot-high monument of Lenin in an attempt to leave its East/West divisions behind. Smashed to pieces, remnants of the statue were buried—with the head hidden in a sandpit on the outskirts of the city. Twenty-four years later, organizers of a museum exhibition are scheduling a showcase of around 100 historical monuments from Berlin. The 3.5 ton head would undoubtedly be a crowd-pulling highlight, laying bare the city’s communist past.

The exhibition is meant to provide an objective look at the city’s turbulent history. Indeed, this embracement of contentious monuments goes against the wake of recent reactions to Soviet relics in many former republics of the U.S.S.R. — and falls in line with Germany’s tendency to thoroughly acknowledge and display its less impressive historical moments. However, the project has stirred opposition to a perceived form of communist revival, and city officials have not failed to raise administrative barriers to the uprooting of the head.

Yet the final obstacle is neither political nor ideological: It is reptilian. Home to a colony of sand lizards, the sandpit containing Lenin’s head cannot be disturbed in the lead up to the creatures’ mating season. Biologists are thus helping excavators to navigate European wildlife conservation laws by drawing the lizards away from the Lenin site.

When Lenin’s debut at “Unveiled: Berlin and its Monuments” will take place is still uncertain.



David Crossland. “Berlin’s Lizards Impend Lenin’s Resurrection.” Deutsche Welle, April 18, 2015. Accessed April 20, 2015. http://www.dw.de/berlin-lizards-impede-lenins-resurrection/a-18386865.


Joel Stonington. “Berlin Begins the Search for Lenin’s Head.” Vocativ, September 24, 2014. Accessed April 20, 2015. http://www.vocativ.com/culture/art-culture/berlin-begins-search-lenins-head/.


Ulli Kulke. “Der alte Lenin hat eine Eidechse auf dem Kopf.” Hamburger Abendblatt, March 30, 2015. Accessed April 20, 2015. http://www.abendblatt.de/vermischtes/article205230097/Der-alte-Lenin-hat-eine-Eidechse-auf-dem-Kopf.html.