Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels monuments in Germany
The two fathers of socialism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, are controversial figures in Germany. There are nevertheless many monuments dedicated to them throughout the country.
A present from China
China offered to donate a 6.3-meter (20-foot) statue of Karl Marx to the German city of Trier, where the philosopher was born, for his 200th anniversary in 2018. After intense debates, the city council decided to accept the gift. Pictured here is the wooden dummy that was previously set up to give an impression of what the statue would look like.
Reflecting on Marx
Trier celebrated another anniversary of the political thinker in 2013, 130 years after his death. The German conceptual artist Ottmar Hörl installed 500 plastic Marx figures in front of the impressive Porta Nigra. The artist aimed to provoke a discussion on the historical figure and the legacy of his works.
Friedrich Engels in a thinker's pose
The four-meter-tall bronze sculpture of the other philosopher of communism, Friedrich Engels, is a bit smaller than the planned Marx statue in Trier. This Engels monument in his hometown, Wuppertal, was also made by a Chinese artist and offered by the government of China in 2014.
The Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels monument in Berlin shows both authors of "The Communist Manifesto" together. The short work was published in 1848. The East German government had this monument, built in 1986, dedicated to the fathers of communism. After it had to be moved during construction works in 2010, Marx and Engels were turned to make them look towards the West, instead of the East.
Carved in stone
A huge Karl Marx monument can be found in Chemnitz - a city that was named after him until 1990. The 13-meter-high monument is the second largest bust in the world. On a wall behind the bust, Marx's well-known phrase from "The Communist Manifesto," "Workers of the world, unite!" is written in four languages: German, English, Russian and French.
Marx instead of Bismarck
This memorial stone in Fürstenwalde, a town located in former East Germany, used to feature the first chancellor of the German Empire, Otto von Bismarck. The Prussian was replaced by Karl Marx in 1945. After German reunification, the bronze was stolen and the city council had to decide if a new one should be dedicated to Bismarck or Marx. The latter obtained this new plaque in 2003.
Relief with potential for conflict
Karl Marx is also depicted on this bronze relief, called "Aufbruch" (Departure). For over 30 years, it decorated the main entrance of the Leipzig University, formerly named after the thinker in East German times. It was moved during renovation works in 2006, leading some to argue it should disappear completely. Finally, the relief was set up on the Campus Jahnallee with an explanatory text.