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Remembering Rosa Luxemburg

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

This week, in die Welt-Online, Marc Reichwein remembers Rosa Luxemburg, the polish-born revolutionary socialist, Marxist theorist and philosopher.

Memorial to Rosa Luxemburg in Zwickau. Photo: Aarp65 via Wikimedia Commons

The 15th of January 2019 marks exactly 100 years since Luxemburg was brutally murdered in Berlin: Rosa, along with her fellow co-founder of the Spartacist League Karl Liebknecht, was abducted from her Hideout in Wilmersdorf, severely beaten and eventually shot dead.

Those responsible for the murder of 41-year old Rosa Luxembourg were never sentenced. Her body, which had been thrown into the Landwehr Canal, was only found several months later. Freiheit ist immer die Freiheit des Andersdenkenden“: Her legacy in the GDR was a complex one. As a prominent and persecuted leftist thinker, her public commemoration became a matter of party propaganda.

At the same time, however, her most famous speech, and in the context of the GDR perhaps the one with most significance – Freedom is always freedom for the one who thinks differently’ - was banned.

Reichwein concludes his article by saying that Luxemburg was neither a pure theorist nor merely a party bureaucrat; what made her stand out in the world of activism was the intensity and heart with which she fought for the causes she cared about, and this is why her memory in Germany remains so essential today.

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