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Culture

Berlin to Welcome Lenin Back?

Berlin authorities are mulling whether to rescue the 3.5-ton head from a statue of the late Soviet leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin from a public dump and grant it a prominent spot in a local museum.

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Will the Soviet revolutionary be resurrected?

A spokesperson for the cultural authority in the city-state confirmed a report in Monday's Bild newspaper that Berlin officials intended to preserve a part of the Lenin monument, 14 years after it was consigned to history's dust heap.

A 19-meter-tall (62-foot-tall) statue of the Russian revolutionary was sawed from its pedestal in the Friedrichshain district of east Berlin in 1991, one year after German reunification, broken up in 129 pieces and buried near the Müggelsee lake in nearby Köpenick.

Pieces of history

After souvenir-hunters had repeatedly plundered the site where the statue was buried, Köpenick authorities called for the thorough destruction of the defunct monument.

City authorities rejected the request and said they now aimed to integrate at least the head of the statue in an exhibition on eastern Germany's communist past.

"The city government will now take up the issue and decide whom or which museum to turn to," the spokesman said. "Then they, together with museum experts, can decide how to deal with these parts of the memorial and where they can be stored or presented."

Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin Außenansicht

The German Historical Museum in Berlin is considered to be a possible resting place for the Lenin statue

One of the possible future homes for the giant statue is the German Historic Museum in Berlin, which already owns several Lenin statues, one of which is more than 3 meters high.

According to the museum spokesperson, Rudolf Tarbolt, however, it is too early to speak about it. A series of decisions -- financial, legal and curatorial -- had to be made before the museum could offer its hospitality to another Lenin statue. The city government has not yet approached the museum with an official inquiry.

Deep under the ground

Lenin-Denkmal am Leninplatz in Berlin-Friedrichshain

Lenin had not only a statue, but a square of his own in East Berlin

Frank Henkel, secretary general of Berlin's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), sharply criticized the city government and the city-state's minister of culture, Thomas Flierl of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the successor to the East German communist party, for what he saw as an attempt at reviving defeated ideologies.

"Leftist historical ideology belongs exactly there where the Lenin monument is today -- buried deep under the ground," Henkel said.

The leader of the neoliberal Free Democratic Party parliamentary group in Berlin's House of Representatives, Martin Lindner, called the proposed idea "nonsense" and described the Soviet revolutionary leader as a "criminal."

Plakat Good Bye Lenin

Plakat Good Bye Lenin

The enormous statue -- immortalized in the German hit film "Good Bye Lenin," where it could be seen flying above eastern Berlin's massive apartment complexes suspended from a helicopter -- was erected in 1970, shortly before the 100th anniversary of Lenin's birth.

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