Rosa Luxemburg

* 5. März 1871 (Zamosc, Russisch-Polen) 15. Januar 1919 (Berlin ) Germany
Fields of activity: hervorragende Politikerin
Author: Ilse Fodil

Rosa luxemburg

'Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.'


 Why did I choose this woman?

I think that the life and action of Rosa Luxemburg Shows great authenticity. She was full of hope, resolute, believed in the conscience and required for herself and the people the maximum of freedom. She represented the tradition that human being can and must develop much more humanity. She was an outsider who represented the opinion that the right to luck is for all humans. 

Tragic, involuntary end: 

In the evening of January 15th, 1919, soldiers of a newly set up corps pushed a woman out of the Hotel Eden in Berlin by hitting her with a rifle butt, accompanied by insulting cries of a crowd, full of hate. She was a small woman with a big head and a long, prominent nose, grey hair and a tired, pale face. She was humping but tried to hide her impediment. She wore gloves and carried a small suitcase in one of her hands. In her coat the looked like an average German middle class woman. The soldiers of the free corps wore various uniforms. They insulted the woman badly and made her feel their hate because of the ideologies she interceded in the last two decades, such as the social idea, the antimilitarism and the resistance to the war, which was lost shortly before. She staggered under their blows and perhaps some of them knew the words, she wrote once: "Nevertheless I will hopefully die on guard-duty: in a street battle or in the prison". When leaving the hotel, one of the soldiers beat her on the head with a rifle butt and when she layed on the ground a second time in the temple. Blood run over her face. They carried her to a car and drove away. Sometime later the People in the Eden Hotel heard a gunshot. 

Who was that woman? 

This woman, Rosa Luxemburg, belongs to the most important personalities of the 20th century, she was an extraordinary woman, an excellent politician and farsightedness. This woman was murdered. They threw her into the Landwehrkanal.  While her body was searched for, Berthold Brecht, at the age of 21 years wrote: "Red Rosa now also disappeared, where she lays is not known. Because she told the truth to the poor, the rich hunted her out of the world". The body of Rosa Luxemburg was found on May 31th, 1919 and buried on July 13th, 1919 on the central cemetery of Berlin-Friedrichsdorf. Since 1988, at the Landwehrkanal under the Lichtensteinbrücke, the place Rosa Luxemburg was thrown into the water, a Memorial is situated in the form of large letters of the name ROSA LUXEMBURG. 

Childhood, youth, family: 

Rosalie Luxemburg was born on March 5th, 1871 as the fifth child of Eliasz Luxemburg and his wife Line, born Löwenstein, at Zamosc in Russian-Poland. Her parents belonged to the emancipated, higher Jewish middle class society. In 1873 the wood dealer Eliasz Luxemburg moved with his family to Warsaw. At the age of 5 years Rosa became ill with unclear diagnosis, was wrong treated and had to lay in bed for one year. In that time she learnt by her own to read and write. A disablement remained. In 1883 Rosa who had many talents and was very clever could attend the Second Girls High School of Warsaw where only Russian was spoken.  Also because of this she early engaged herself in a secret education circle and learnt to know the Marxist group "Proletariat", which was forbidden by state. In 1889 she had to immigrate to Switzerland to escape arrest.  

Study and political activities in Switzerland: 

In Zürich Rosa studied law, political economy and wrote a doctoral dissertation about "The industrial development of Poland". In 1893 she participated in the International Social Democratic Worker Party of Zürich. One year later she founded together with Leo Jogiches "The Social Democratic Worker Party of the Kingdom of Poland" and participated in the first illegal congress of that party at Warchaw. She interrupted her studies because of political activities such as the foundation of the Polish social democratic Journal "Matter of the workers" in Paris. In 1897 she married the mechanic Gustav Lübeck, son of her guest family at Zürich, in order to obtain the German nationality and one year later she moved to Berlin. 

 Life and political carrier in Berlin, speaker for the Left: 

In the following two decades up to her violent death, she worked as a passionate politician without neglecting her private life. She had also a love-relation with Leo Jogiches. After arriving in Berlin she became a member of the Social Party of Germany (SPD) and was some time engaged with the development of that party. She worked for the "Matter of Worker" until it was stopped in 1896. In 1900 she founded together with friends the "Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania" and defended the SDKP Program abroad, spoke on party days, took place at European Meetings, published articles, became chief Editor of the "Sächsische Abendzeitung", represented vehemently and fluently her opinions, was controversialist. Because of the non-existing social laws since 1890 and because of the national liberal way of the SPD, she took Position in a Marxist Party wing and represented the consequent attitude of the class conflict:  "Real social reforms should always keep in eye the aim of the social revolution and serve it". (Brochure R.L. Social reform or revolution) 

In 1904 and 1906 she was convicted each time for 2 months because of "Insulting his Majesty" and "Enticement to class hate". Because of her active engagement in an anti-war-demonstration in Frankfurt am Main in 1913, Rosa was convicted because of "Demanding disobedience against the laws and orders of the authorities" which had brought her between 1915 and 1918 three years and four months imprisonment.

 In 1914 after a meeting of the "International Social Office" she had to with disappointment recognize that within the European labor parties, nationalism was stronger than the international class-consciousness, especially in Germany and France. Before she had to go to prison she founded together with 6 friends, who were also against the war and the passive SPD policy, the "Gruppe International" (later Spartacusbund). 

After the war and prison: 

After the imprisonment she worked in Berlin in the editor-office of the newspaper of the Spartacusbund, the "Red Flag". Although she supported the idea of the revolution, principally she remained a pacifist. By the end of 1918 she was co-founder of the "Communist Party of Germany" (KPD).During the January unrests in 1919 she had to change her accommodation all the time because of the danger of being arrested again. On January 15th, 1919, she was abducted together with Karl Liebknecht and murdered. 


  • Max Gallo, Rosa Luxemburg "Ich fürchte mich vor gar nichts mehr",
  • Presses de la Renaissance, Paris, 1992
  • Dietmar Dath, Rosa Luxemburg, Shurkamp- Baisis-Biographie 35, 2010



  •  Rosa Luxemburg, BRD, Margarete von Trotta, 1985