96 Years Ago Today: Rosa Luxemburg was murdered in Berlin

97 Years Ago Today…


1907 or 1908 maybe- rosa luxemburg- rls

96 years ago today, on 15 January 1919, Rosa Luxemburg was detained, interrogated and murdered by right-wing soldiers under the command of socialist Defence Minister Gustav Noske. Today she is remembered around the world for her life and ideas.

Born in Russian-Poland in a middle-class Jewish family in 1873, Rosa Luxemburg emigrated to Switzerland after completing High School and enrolled at Zurich University. Whilst still a student she co-founded the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland (SDKP, later SDKPiL), with Leo Jogiches, Adolf Warszawski and Julian Marchlewski, before being awarded a doctorate in 1897.

The following year, she moved to Berlin and joined the German Social-Democratic Party (SPD), then the largest and most powerful socialist organisation in the world. She rose to prominence on the left-wing of the SPD as a firebrand speaker, journalist and theoretician, writing works on economics, nationalism, imperialism, war, socialism and democracy.

Luxemburg taught at…

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Annual Liebknecht-Luxemburg Demonstration in Berlin (12 Jan 2014)- Pictures and Videos

Post on the annual Luxemburg-Liebknecht memorial demo (being held today in Berlin) from back in 2014…


On Sunday, the traditional demonstration to mark the anniversary of the murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht was held in Berlin. The annual demonstration is traditionally held on the Sunday before the anniversary, which is on 15 January. This year an estimated 10,000 marchers took part.

Here are a selection of pictures, videos and links covering the demonstration:

Video report of demonstrations and wreath laying (RBB): http://www.rbb-online.de/politik/beitrag/2014/01/linke-erinnert-an-luxemburg-und-liebknecht.html

Video of demonstrations and at Cemetery:

Video coverage from the Berliner Zeitung newspaper:

More video coverage:

Fifteen minutes of film coverage from the demonstrations:

And photos from the day from Tagesspiegel (http://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/demonstration-auf-dem-sozialistenfriedhof-ein-hoch-auf-karl-und-rosa/9319240.html):


(1. demonstrators marching through Berlin, 2. people paying their respects at the Memorial to the Socialists at the Friedrichsfelde Cemetery, where Luxemburg and Liebknecht were buried, and 3. Leaders of Die Linke (The Left Party) lay wreaths at the graves- Oksar Lafontaine, Gregor Gysi and Gesine Lotzsch) (Photos:…

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Red Rosa! Event at Waterstones, Piccaddily Circus, 7pm Mon 30th Nov, with Kate Evans and Rory Castle

Red Rosa by Kate Evans (Verso, 2015)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/713366352096448/

A giant of the political left, Rosa Luxemburg is one of the foremost figures of the twentieth century left. In this new graphic biography of, Kate Evans takes us through Rosa’s story from her childhood in Poland right through to the turbulent events of the First World War and her untimely death in 1919. Rosa overcame physical infirmity and the prejudice she faced as a Jew to become an active revolutionary whose philosophy enriched every corner of an incredibly productive and creative life – her many friendships, her sexual intimacies, and her love of science, nature and art.

Join Kate Evans and Rory Castle to discuss Rosa’s extraordinary life and work, her enduring influence and the power of comics to convey political and social issues.

This event is free but to reserve your place please email piccadilly@waterstones.com

Kate Evans is a cartoonist, artist, and activist. She is the author of numerous books and zines including Bump: How to Make, Grow and Birth a Baby and Funny Weather: Everything You Didn’t Want to Know about Climate Change but Probably Should Find Out.

Rory Castle is a historian specialising in modern Polish, German, Jewish and Russian history and identity. He recently completed a phd on the life of Rosa Luxemburg at Swansea University, and his research was recently cited in the Jacqueline Rose’s acclaimed ‘Women In Dark Times’

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Excerpts from excellent new Rosa Luxemburg graphic novel by Kate Evans published in ‘The Nation’…

For an extensive excerpt from this excellent new graphic biography, see the piece in ‘The Nation’ here.

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A visit to the Pavilion X of the Warsaw Citadel (where Rosa Luxemburg was imprisoned during the 1905 Revolution)

1906- rosa luxemburg in warsaw prison- iisg- high res IMG_2940 IMG_2943 IMG_2944 IMG_2947 IMG_2950 IMG_2953 IMG_2956

Photos from a visit to the Pavilion X of the Warsaw Citadel, where Rosa Luxemburg was imprisoned for several months in 1906 during the 1905-06 Revolution which rocked the Russian Empire.

Luxemburg was eventually released as a result of a large bail payment made by her family and the German Social-Democratic Party, international pressure, and threats of terrorist reprisals against Tsarist officials by some revolutionaries. She travelled via St Petersburg to Finland, on to Sweden, and eventually returned to Germany. She was never able to return to her native Poland.

Read more about Luxemburg’s experiences in prison in Warsaw (including extracts from her letters) in an earlier blog post here.

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Rosa Luxemburg’s ‘Social Reform or Revolution?’ in Yiddish available online


Originally published in New York in 1921, a Yiddish translation of Rosa Luxemburg’s ‘Social Reform or Revolution?’ is now available to download here courtesy of the Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library.

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Prof. Dr. Feliks Tych (1929-2015) – Obituary by Ottokar Luban

RL-Konferenz Jan 2009 Fayet bis Tych (Small)

Prof. Feliks Tych and Ottokar Luban, Berlin, 2009

The following obituary was written by Ottokar Luban, Secretary of the International Rosa Luxemburg Society and a long-time friend and collaborator of the late Prof. Feliks Tych, who died in February. It is published here at Mr Luban’s request.

Prof. Dr. Feliks Tych (1929-2015)

An Outstanding Rosa Luxemburg Researcher,
Historian of the European Labor Movement, and of Post-Holocaust Issues

On February 17th, 2015 Feliks Tych passed away in Warsaw at the age of 85. The distinguished Polish scholar is well known to North American and UK historians mainly for his important research results on the famous Polish-German socialist Rosa Luxemburg and on the “Jewish Bund”.

During World War II his Jewish parents could give him to a Polish family. So he survived while all other family members became victims of the Holocaust. After the war he studied history in Warsaw and Moscow and in 1960 he received his post-doctoral degree (habilitation) with a thesis about the Left Polish Socialist Party in World War I. Between 1956 and 1968 he worked at the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences and in the History Department of the Polish Workers Movement. During these years and later on, too, he initiated several important projects and edited very carefully reference books and document volumes e. g. the “Biographical Dictionary of Polish Labor Movement”, the “Archive of Labor Movement” with unknown documents from Polish and Russian archives in 11 volumes, the Journal “Z pola walki“ with many essays and documentations like some unknown Rosa Luxemburg letters which were discovered by Feliks Tych in a Moscow archive.

But in 1968 as a result of the anti-Jewish purges in Poland he was dismissed. Nevertheless he continued his scientific work – for the next two years as a “free” academic writer – publishing 3 volumes with the complete Rosa Luxemburg letters to her close companion Leo Jogiches – a pioneer work which was translated into German, French, and English and gave much impact and inspiration to the Rosa Luxemburg research. It was especially this work that gave him an international reputation in the early years of his career. When the anti-Semitic wave in Poland went down again he could work as the head of the archive of the Polish Labor Party and was appointed as extraordinary professor in 1970, as full professor in 1982.

After the cancellation of travel restrictions by the Polish communist authorities for him he could join again the “International Conference of Labour and Social History” an annual congress in the city of Linz in Austria and meeting place for international scholars of labor movement. During his permanent active participation he influenced the meetings as a “bridge constructor” between the “Eastern” and “Western” historians which was quite a difficult but important task in the era of the “Cold War”. In the same sense he worked actively in the “International Rosa Luxemburg Society” (Chairman: Prof. Narihiko Ito, Tokyo) since its foundation in 1980. Due to his international reputation he received invitations from foreign universities and in the 1990s worked as visiting professor at several German universities. From 1995 to 2006 he headed the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw for which he improved its financial stability and its scientific and public influence and reputation. One result was the “Museum of Polish Jews” which he initiated and realized with the help of many volunteers. Several important publication projects (some of which he even continued after his retirement) were e. g. document editions like the Ringelblum archive papers from the Warsaw Ghetto, the documents on the Polish Jews who had fled to the Russian occupied part of Poland, children interviews protocols on the holocaust (1944-1948). At the same time he still lectured and published on labor movement issues. As a special honor he was asked to take over the memorial speech before the German Parliament on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January 2010.

Prof. Tych leaves a rich scientific heritage: He was author of five monographs, a most careful editor of 26 tomes of reference books on labor movement and Jewish history in Eastern and Central Europe during the late 19th and the 20th century. He was a most appreciated lecturer at international conferences and a much demanded writer by scientific journals with altogether about 300 papers. Many of his works have been published not only in Poland but also in other countries from Germany on to France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Israel, the US, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

During some well organized conferences in Warsaw (e. g. 1996 on Rosa Luxemburg, 1997 and 2012 on the “Jewish Bund”) friends and colleagues enjoyed his generous hospitality. Feliks Tych will always be kept in mind as an outstanding historian, as an inspiring, encouraging colleague and good friend.

Ottokar Luban (“International Rosa Luxemburg Society”)

Further obituaries for Prof. Tych can be found here.

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