Memorials in Ethiopia

The large statue of Lenin stood only for a few years in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. The bronze monument was erected on the central Meskel Square in October 1983 – and was removed again in May 1991 after the Dergue regime was overthrown. The Communist Party was banned and many of its leading functionaries were arrested and convicted at that time. However, only a few memorials in Ethiopia commemorate the victims of the regime.

Credit: z-pinch / CC BY-SA

Red Terror Martyrs’ Memorial Museum

A memorial dedicated to the victims of the Marxist Dergue regime was created in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa in 2010. Some of the objects in the museum’s exhibition include blood-smeared clothing, human bones and coffins from the time of the Red Terror. The photo shows a display cabinet containing the human remains of several murder victims. On a tour, visitors learn about how the communist military junta in Ethiopia persecuted dissidents. A sculpture of a mother with two daughters stands at the entrance. Its inscription reads: “Never, Ever Again.”

Display cabinet in the Red Terror Martyrs’ Memorial Museum 
Credit: Adam Jones /CC BY-SA


Former website of the Red Terror Martyrs’ Memorial Museum

Information on the Red Terror Martyrs’ Memorial Museum


After the Dictatorship. Instruments of Transitional Justice in Former Authoritarian Systems – An International Comparison

A project at the Department of Modern History at the University of Würzburg

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With financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development 

Alem Bekagn Prison

The bombastic headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa stands at the former site of Ethiopia’s central prison. The prison building referred to by the locals as “Alem Bekagn” (farewell to the world) was erected in the early 1920s. Sixty members of the royal family and imperial government were murdered here by the Dergue regime in 1974. It is estimated that another 10,000 people were also killed here during the Red Terror. In 1991 the inmates managed to free themselves after the guards had fled from the rebels. The prison was closed in 2004 and plans were made to turn it into a memorial, but the building was instead torn down in 2007 to make room for a new building funded by China. Today the prison is only remembered by a small monument on the inside.

African Union headquarters
Credit: Andrew More / CC BY-SA





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