You can’t keep a great man down, no matter how hard you might try. At the end of a week-long bicycle ride along the Spree River – from its source near the Czech border to Berlin – is the cemetery and memorial for some of the Red Army soldiers who died taking Berlin and ending Hitler’s fascism. It’s in Treptower Park and if it’s the only think you do in Berlin, it’s worth a visit. More on that and the ride soon enough, but inside the memorial you will find not only hammer and sickles aplenty, along with red stars and other communist symbols, but eight quotations from comrade Joe himself. Each of them is in German and in Russian, on the sides of reliefs depicting scenes of war and peace:

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Just to remind us of the vast differences between communism and fascism. But Stalin’s name is on each piece:

IMG_0719a (2)

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And then, even though the large statue of Joe has gone from Karl Marx Allee, his ear and a piece of the moustache remain.

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Both originals are under the care of Cafe Sybille, on Karl Marx Allee. But if you have a generous partner, then a copy of the ear may make its way into your own pocket:

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One of the few truly interesting and intriguing parts of Berlin is the Stalinbauten, or Stalin Baroque, along Karl Marx Allee (on which I have commented more than once). Central to that appeal is the way communist history can’t be erased so easily. Or should I say, Stalin’s place in that history? You see, what is now Karl Marx Allee used to be Stalin Allee.

Stalin Allee sign

And at a significant spot there was a statue of the man who won The Second World War:

Stalin statue on Stalin Allee

But after Khrushchev’s deft moves to secure the succession on his terms, Stalin was unceremoniously debunked. It took some years, but eventually, dragging their feet, the government of the DDR thought they should probably do the right thing and pull the statue down. While they were at it, they renamed the street Karl Marx Allee.

If only they had realised how important Stalin would become once again, they would have left the statue rooted to the spot. Plus, it would have been a fantastic attraction, making Berlin actually worth a visit on its own merit.

However, he is not completely gone (there’s an allegory in there somewhere). Some of Stalin has actually been left behind:

Stalin's ears 02 (Berlin)

The item on the left is clearly an ear; on the right it is arguably part of the famous moustache. Given that they are still on the Allee, I can’t help wondering if it’s possible to clone statues.

(ht cp for doing the sleuthing on this one)

In response to my post on anti-clericalism, Bruce mentioned one of the great anti-clerics, Léon Bloy (1846-1917). Not only did he live a life poverty, begging from all and sundry so he could write, but he had a moustache to rival Stalin’s:

Bloy 01

Bloy 02jpg