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GDR monument Ernst Thälmann

GDR monument Ernst Thälmann

Forgotten GDR monument Ernst Thälmann

Victorious look, fist in the air and a waving flag decorated with a hammer and sickle: the bronze bust for the communist leader Ernst Thälmann survived the fall of the GDR.

Ernst Thälmann was chairman of the German Communist Party during the Weimar Republic. After the Nazis seized power in 1933, he tried twice to overthrow the regime, after which the Gestapo put him behind bars.


After 11 years of captivity, his execution took place in Buchenwald concentration camp in 1944 on Hitler's orders.


The 14-meter-high statue was placed in a park named after him by the GDR regime in 1986, on Thälmann's 100th birthday.

Previously there was an unused gasometer, which was dynamited in 1984. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Ernst Thälmann Park was the showcase for state visits from the GDR's socialist brother countries.


After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the monument and the park's name came under fire. The memorial was only protected in 2014. The protection does not translate into a well-maintained statue: the plinth is covered by graffiti, despite regular cleaning.

50 tons of bronze

The Russian invasion of Ukraine once again put Thälmann in dire straits. The German political party CDU proposed in 2022 to demolish the bust, melt down the 50 tons of bronze and donate the proceeds to Ukraine.

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