Gelsenkirchen bucks global trends with new monument as other cities confront relics of colonial past
20 Jun 2020
photo: Rolf G. Wackenberg – stock.adobe.com
While a global row rages over the controversial pasts of historical figures immortalised as statues, on Saturday a divisive new monument to the former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin will be unveiled in Germany.
More than 30 years after the communist experiment on German soil that followed the second world war ended, the tiny Marxist-Leninist party of Germany (MLPD) will install Lenin’s likeness in the western city of Gelsenkirchen.
The MLPD says it is the first such statue ever to be erected on the territory of the former West Germany, decades after the eastern German Democratic Republic communist state collapsed.
“The time for monuments to racists, antisemites, fascists, anti-communists and other relics of the past has clearly passed,” said MLPD’s chair, Gabi Fechtner, in a statement.
“Lenin was an ahead-of-his-time thinker of world-historical importance, an early fighter for freedom and democracy,” she said.
Not everyone in Gelsenkirchen, a centre of the former industrial and mining powerhouse Ruhr region, has welcomed the 2.15 metre (7ft) likeness of the communist leader, which was made in the former Czechoslovakia in 1957.