Murder Rewarded: how the killers of Rosa Luxemburg avoided punishment in the Weimar Republic (and beyond…)

Toasting Murder: Otto Runge (second from right) and his comrades celebrate the murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht with a drink in the Hotel Eden, 15 January 1919. The photo was printed in the Communist ‘Die Rote Fahne’ newspaper soon after, by the editor Leo Jogiches.

On 15 January 1919, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the leaders of the German Communist Party, were arrested by soldiers of the Garde-Kavallerie-Schützen-Division and taken to the Hotel Eden for interrogation. Karl Liebknecht was then taken to the Tiergarten, Berlin’s central park, where he was shot dead. Rosa Luxemburg was hit in the head with a rifle butt and dragged outside to a waiting vehicle. Inside the car, a second soldier shot her in the head. They then drove to the the western edge of the Tiergarten, near Berlin’s famous Zoo, and dumped her body in the Landwehr canal.

The murderers- who claimed to have acted on the orders of the socialist Minister of Defence, Gustav Noske- largely avoided punishment. Through a combination of judicial corruption, official support and cover ups, they were able to continue their careers in the military. Many went on to play leading roles in Nazi Germany, for which they also went unpunished after 1945. The majority of the murderers died peacefully in their beds, as late as the 1980s.

How and why were these men allowed to escape justice in the Weimar Republic, and later in the Federal German Republic?

In the following five blog posts, we will study the cases of the men accused of the murderers:

1) Captain Waldemar Pabst (1880- 1970)

2) Lieutenant Horst von Pflugk-Harttung (1889- 1967)

3) Otto Runge (1875- 1945)

4) Lieutenant Kurt Vogel (1889- 1967)

5) Lieutenant Hermann Souchon (1894- 1982)




About rosaluxemburgblog

I was awarded a PhD in History by Swansea University for a thesis on Rosa Luxemburg (2016). I am currently co-editing the fourth volume of 'The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg' and am a member of the Advisory Board of the International Rosa Luxemburg Society.
This entry was posted in 15 January 1919 Murders, Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Murder Rewarded: how the killers of Rosa Luxemburg avoided punishment in the Weimar Republic (and beyond…)

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  2. Wynn Norris says:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. That evil, hate-filled Jewess got exactly what she deserved. Too bad her buddies Lenin and Trotsky managed to cheat the gallows. 2 Jews killed for trying to overthrow an elected government. What’s that compared to the brutal murder of the kindly Imperial Family in the cellar in Ekaterinburg by their coreligionists?

  3. wteague says:

    Typo: “went punished” should be “went unpunished.”

  4. rawalpurna says:

    shocked of the terrific killings! let Rosa’s soul keep inspiring the revolutionaries!

  5. mort Levy says:

    Dear Mr. W. Norrris: You’re more than an anti-communist. You’re also a Jew-hater. I happened to be Jewish but a devout anti-communist. So what does that tell us? It tells me that there was possibly an error at the time of your birth. Is it possible that you entered the world by the wrong orifice and that you were really a B.M. but mistaken for something human? Regards M.L.

  6. Elliott says:

    Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. But imagine if you added some great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this website could definitely be one of the very best in its niche. Superb blog!|

  7. Richard says:

    Well I definitely enjoyed studying it. This information offered by you is very helpful for good planning.

  8. Pingback: Rosa Luxemburgo, el águila de la izquierda que callaron con una bala | Cada taula, un Vietnam

  9. johny radio says:

    Can you share citations and sources for this article? That would make it sharable. Thx!

  10. metrobusman says:

    Nice post, but perhaps a bit more detail

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