Traces of Rosa Luxemburg in modern Berlin
All photographs by rosaluxemburgblog
Rosa Luxemburg Platz, Berlin. Although there is no statue of Rosa Luxemburg here, the pavements are laid with quotations from her; on politics, revolution, love and life.
Rosa Luxemburg Platz is home to the famous Volksbuhne (People’s Theatre) and Babylon Cinema.
It is also home to Karl-Liebknecht-House, formerly the headquarters of the German Communist Party (KPD) and now the Left Party (Die Linke). A nearby cafe on Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse proudly displays a portrait of Luxemburg.
On the reliefs surrounding the famous statues of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels at Marx-Engels-Forum in central Berlin. The reliefs, like the statues themselves, are controversial and many Berliners would like to see them removed. Someone has scratched a cross through the first image. The second shows an annual Liebknecht-Luxemburg Demonstration in the German Democratic Republic. Demonstrators carry pictures of Rosa Luxemburg, Ho Chi Minh and Karl Liebknecht.
Rosa Luxemburg statue outside the headquarters of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Franz-Mehring-Platz, Friedrichshain, Berlin. The reliefs on either side show Karl Liebknecht, who was murdered with her on 15 January 1919, and Rosa’s secretary and friend Mathilde Jacob, who was murdered in the Holocaust.
Memorial to Rosa Luxemburg at the Lichtenstein Bridge over the Landwehr Canal on the edge of the Tiergarten. It was from this bridge that Luxemburg’s murderers threw her body into the canal of the night of 15 January 1919.
Flowers at the Friedrichsfelde Cemetery after the Luxemburg-Liebknecht Demonstration in 2010. Rosa Luxemburg’s body was buried here in June 1919 and the Cemetery has been a site of pilgrimage ever since, despite questions about the authenticity of the corpse and the destruction of her grave by the Nazis in the 1930s.
An exhibition in the Stasi (the East German Secret Police) Museum explains how protestors appeared at the official Luxemburg-Liebknecht Demonstration in January 1988, brandishing banners with quotations from Luxemburg- ‘Freedom is always the freedom of the dissenter’ and ‘The Only Way to Rebirth is Democracy’. The protestors used the words of Rosa Luxemburg, whom the East German regime claimed as their ideological ancestor, to discredit it. The pro-democracy protestors were arrested, but the following year the Communist regime was overthrown in what the Germans call ‘The Peaceful Revolution’ of 1989.
As during her life, Rosa Luxemburg remains a controversial figures in Germany over ninety years after her death. She remains a heroine to many, and a villain to others.