Messter-Woche 1919 (Woche 25) 1919
Rosa Luxemburg’s 150th Birthday (* March 5, 1871)
The revolutionary’s most famous quote is „Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently“. Many consider Rosa Luxemburg the greatest leftist politician of the 20th century—for her fundamental critique of capitalism, for vehemently fighting for a free democratic socialism and for rigorously opposing World War I.
Born into a Jewish family in the Russian-occupied part of Poland in 1871, Rosa Luxemburg attends the University of Zurich after graduating from high school in Warsaw, where she earns her doctorate in political science in 1897. She continues her political education by socializing in emigrant circles. She fights the exploitation of the working class. In 1893 she co-founds the party "Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland".
Europe's strongest social democratic movement at the time is in Germany, Rosa Luxemburg wants to be part of it and thus moves to Berlin in 1898. She writes for various German and Polish newspapers and, as a rousing speaker, quickly becomes an important spokeswoman for the left wing of the SPD.
The polyglot politician soon makes a name for herself throughout Europe with her speeches and writings. In 1913 her main work "The Accumulation of Capital" is published—its her great contribution to the debate on imperialism in the run-up to the First World War.
When the Social Democrats approve of the mobilization a year later she has an identity crisis. Together with other war-opponents from her party, she founds what would later be named the "Spartacus Group," which would join the newly founded USPD in 1917. After spending almost the entire war in jail—partly because of her plea to conscientious objection—Rosa Luxemburg is released at the beginning of the November Revolution.
She drafts the program for the revived Spartacus League, which is absorbed into the newly founded Communist Party of Germany on January 1, 1919. Only two weeks later, its two leading figures - Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht - are murdered by right-wing guerrillas following the failed Spartacus uprising.
Her body is only discovered months later, and so Rosa Luxemburg is symbolically buried in an empty coffin next to Karl Liebknecht at the Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery. Tens of thousands take part in the funeral procession. To this day a memorial service is held in her honour in Berlin every January.