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German History in Documents and Images
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The Renaming of Streets (September 1991)
In the GDR, streets and squares were often dedicated to ideological catchphrases such as “German-Soviet Friendship” and to socialist figureheads, especially Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Lenin. Monuments, street names, and public symbols that reflected the GDR’s understanding of socialist tradition were called into question after the political transformation of 1989-90. In Leipzig, for example, 67 streets and squares with controversial names were put to discussion; by 1992, thirty-eight of them had been renamed. Many name changes were made in Berlin: “Leninallee,” for example, became “Landsberger Allee,” “Lenin Square” became “United Nations Square,” and “Marx-Engels Square” became “Castle Square.” Below is the sign for “Klement-Gottwald-Allee,” which had been named after the Czech communist; by September 2, 1991, it had been renamed “Berliner Allee.” Photgrapher: Jan Bauer.