BERLIN, Sept. 10 (UPI) — German officials on Thursday unearthed the granite head of Vladimir Lenin, part of a 62-foot-tall sculpture of the Russian leader, buried since 1992 near Berlin.
The statue graced East Berlin from 1970 until the fall of communism. It was removed in 1992 on the order of Eberhard Diepgen, the first mayor of the reunited Berlin, who said it was representative of a “dictatorship where people were persecuted and murdered.”
The statue was broken into about 120 pieces and buried, seemingly forgotten, outside the city. The 3.5-ton head, 5 feet high, was recently dug up and taken by flatbed truck to the Spandau Citadel, a museum west of Berlin, for an exhibit on Berlin’s turbulent history.
“Welcome back, Lenin,” deadpanned Gerhard Hanke, Spandau’s district councilor for culture.
The image of Lenin’s massive head being transported through Berlin was reminiscent of a scene in the 2003 film Goodbye Lenin, in which the granite head was airlifted by helicopter from the city, symbolic of the departure of communism in Germany.
The statue, a gift from the Soviet Union to East Germany, was designed by Nikolai Tomsky, then-president of the Soviet Academy of Arts, and carved by German artisans from Ukrainian pink granite. It was unveiled on Apr. 19, 1970, three days before Lenin’s centenary, before a crowd of about 200,000 in East Berlin’s Lenin Square.