As one living in a ex-communist state, I remember that after the fall of the Iron Curtain many things that sounded communist related were renamed (e.g. streets, parks, plazas).

From Wikipedia we found that:

De-Stalinization led to the renaming of the street, after the founder of Marxism, in late 1961. Since the collapse of Eastern European communism in 1989/1990, renaming the street back to its prewar name Große Frankfurter Straße has periodically been discussed, so far without conclusive results.

Question: Why Karl-Marx-Allee renaming the street back to its prewar name process failed?

  • As a side note, according to an old article from Der Spiegel this is not an isolated case. – Alexei Jan 29 '19 at 8:26
  • 10
    No idea about the specific street, but generally, renaming isn’t very popular with those living/working in the to-be-renamed street as they would need to notify dozens or hundreds of correspondents, print new business cards and letterhead paper, etc. – chirlu Jan 29 '19 at 11:56
  • 4
    Having lived in a city that was renamed - twice - I think that the comment-answer by Chirlu is likely the correct one. It's impossible to prove, but the cost of such renamings is usually pretty high and therefore there is a natural amount of friction. – user4012 Jan 29 '19 at 13:42
  • 1
    Note that there are quite a number of Karl-Marx-Straßen/-Plätze etc. (as well as ones named after Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, Friedrich Engels etc.) also in what used to be West Germany. – cbeleites unhappy with SX Jan 30 '19 at 2:13

There wasn't really a big renaming process started which could have failed.

The closest it ever came to a renaming was in 1994, when an independent commission for the renaming of streets suggested to rename half of the Karl-Marx-Allee to Hegelallee (the other half was suggested to remain named after Marx). The local mayor objected because of the costs and a bad budget, and the senator of the right-wing CDU rejected the proposal.

Other than that, far-right fringe groups have from time to time proposed to rename the street, but were never successful and there were no other processes started which could have failed.

The reason is likely that renaming streets is difficult (you need to agree on a new name, and the legal process is often complex) and expensive (especially for businesses located in the street). That is for example the reason why the process of renaming street names such as those in the Afrikanisches Viertel takes so long.

And why would one start such a difficult and expensive process to rename the Karl-Marx-Allee? Marx was an important German philosopher and is not really related to Stalin.

If being a reference point for later ideologies or being deemed offensive when looking at it from today's morals is reason for renaming, then there would a be lot of streets to rename, e.g. Martin-Luther-Straße, Richard-Wagner-Straße, or Treitschkestraße. Things are even still named after people directly associated with national socialism, such as Rommel, Hanns Martin Schleyer, etc. That not even these were renamed shows how difficult the process of renaming is.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .