There aren’t a lot of communist heroes left in Berlin these days. The bronze profile of Lenin behind the Russian embassy disappeared last year with little fanfare. Another bronze statue of the leader of the October Revolution sits dejectedly in the Zapf Umzüge parking of a removals firm on Köpenicker Straße.
The last two to occupy a space with any prominence, Marx and Engels, were unceremoniously moved to the side of Alexanderplatz (temporarily they say) to make way for an U-bahn extension.
But if bombastic Soviet style statuary gets you going, Ernst Thälmann Park may just be your answer. Unlike Lenin and his Russian revolutionaries, Marx, Engels and Thälmann were all German communists so they survived the initial purge after the Berlin Wall fell. Thälmann was the leader of the Communist Party of Germany through much of the Weimar Republic years.
Today the park and statue seem forgotten by everyone except the young who use it to practice their graffiti (though it’s recently been cleaned!). But the park, built on the site of a disused gasometer in the 1980s, is a great (?) example of city planning, East German style.
The Ernst Thälmann Park, which connects the busy streets of Prenzlauer Allee and Greifswalder Str, was originally designed as a showpiece for official visitors from the “socialist brother countries”. It contains some high-rise apartments, a school, an indoor swimming pool and the Zeiss Planetarium. It was designed to be the GDR in miniature – a nexus of housing, culture, sport and relaxation.