Leo Jogiches (1867- 1919)
Jogiches was born in Wilna (Vilnius) in the Russian Empire, the son of a wealthy Jewish family. He was forced to flee into exile in the early 1890s as a result of his involvement in the revolutionary movement. As a student at Zurich University, he met Rosa Luxemburg, with whom he formed a romantic relationship which lasted for many years and a political and ideological partnership which continued until their deaths.
A co-founder of the Social Democracy of Kingdom of Poland (SDKP), which later merged with the Lithuanian organisation to become the SDKPiL, Jogiches remained a leader of the Party until 1918, when it merged to form the Polish Communist Party.
During the First World War, Jogiches became involved in German politics for the first time as a member of the Spartacus League, established by Rosa Luxemburg and others in opposition to the war. While its prominent leaders languished in prison for their anti-war activities, Jogiches became the group’s leader, operating underground.
A somewhat reluctant co-founder of the German Communist Party (KPD) in December 1918, Jogiches argued against the so-called ‘Spartacist Rising’ in January 1919. After the murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht on 15 January, Jogiches became the leader of the KPD and in that role campaigned for the punishment of the murderers. On 10 March, Jogiches was arrested by government Freikorps in the working-class Berlin suburb of Neukolln. After interrogation and torture, he was murdered. His killers, like those who murdered Luxemburg and Liebknecht, escaped punishment.