On This Day: 21 November 1916 ‘These are sad days, and all of us have lost many of our loved ones…’

Sophie and Karl Liebknecht (1913) (Source: IISG)

On 21 November 1916, Rosa Luxemburg wrote to Sophie Liebknecht, the wife of her comrade Karl, upon the death of her brother at the front. Rosa and Sophie, or Sonja as she was known, corresponded throughout the war and Liebknecht published her letters from Rosa as ‘Briefe aus dem Gefangnis’ (‘Letters From Prison’) in 1921. Sophie Liebknecht died in Moscow in 1964.

‘Wronke, November 21, 1916

My dear little Sonichka,

I hear from Mathilde that your brother has been killed at the front. The idea that you have this fresh blow to endure is a great shock to me. Lately there has been one trouble after another.

And yet I cannot be with you, to cheer you up a little! … I am uneasy, too, at the thought of your mother, wondering how she will bear this new sorrow. These are sad days, and all of us have lost many of our loved ones. As during the siege of Sebastopol, every month seems a year. I do hope I shall be able to see you soon, for I am longing to do so. How did your hear about your brother? through your mother, or direct? What news of your other brother?

I did so much want to send you something by Mathilde, and I had absolutely nothing but the little coloured kerchief; don’t make fun of it; I only sent it to show that I love you. Write a line or two as soon as you can, to let me know you are all right.

Love to Karl and your dear self. Your Rosa

Much love to the children.’

(Source: http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1918/letters-sophie.htm)


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.
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