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Rosa Luxemburg Memorial Lichtensteinbrucke, Berlin (black & white + color) – ID: 164383 (all sizes)

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    Home > Products > 2019 - Twenty Nineteen -19% > Rosa Luxemburg Memorial Lichtensteinbrucke, Berlin (black & white + color) – ID: 164383 (all sizes)


    Rosa Luxemburg Memorial Lichtensteinbrucke, Berlin

    Rosa Luxemburg Memorial Lichtensteinbrucke, Berlin
    © Prosper Jerominus 2018

     

    By  on May 22, 2012, in Historical Berlin

    It’s an odd feeling, to walk around Tiergarten with the joggers and the bikers and the well-dressed business people surrounding, to then suddenly stumble upon these memorials to Rosa Luxemburg. To stand on the very soil where someone was killed is a rare and disturbing opportunity. So often when it comes to Berlin’s past, the deaths are en masse and faceless – but in Tiergarten, the memorials to two of Berlin’s great revolutionaries remain visible and tangible pieces of Berlin history.

    Text byTam Eastley investigates the life and death of Berlin’s famous revolutionary, “Red Rosa”…

    Image via wikicommons

    To those of us living in Berlin, Rosa Luxemburg’s name rings through our ears every time we hop on the U-Bahn heading towards Mitte. Rosa Luxemburg Platz, named after her in 1969, is in the centre of it all – home to the Babylon KinoVolksbühne, and situated just around the corner from Alexanderplatz.

    Wandering around the square, one stumbles upon 60 quotations from the woman some fondly refer to as “Red Rosa”, after the epitaph Bertolt Brecht wrote for her in 1919. Imprinted on the ground in bronze characters, taken from her works and letters, the scattering of quotations express her revolutionary zeal and beliefs.

    They are a quiet reminder to the residents and tourists of Berlin of Luxemburg’s monumental impact on the political scene in the early 20th century. One of her most famous statements, directly to the left of the Volksbühne, reads:

    Freiheit nur für die Anhänger der Regierung, nur für die Mitglieder einer Partei – mögen Sie noch so zahlreich sein – ist keine Freiheit. Freiheit is immer Freiheit der Andersdenkenden.”

    “Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of a party – however numerous they may be – is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently.”

    To this day, the body of Luxemburg remains undiscovered. However, her grave, like the memorial in Tiergarten, like Rosa Luxemburg Platz, and like the plaque at the women’s prison, serves as yet another tribute to her brave and inspiring life.

    For more on the contemporary legacy of Rosa Luxemburg, check out the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, based here in Berlin, or watch the 1986 film, Rosa Luxemburg, chronicling her life and the events of the Spartacus Uprising. 

    Read further:

    A Double Murder

    By the end of WWI, Berlin was in chaos. Poverty, homelessness, and hunger were rampant. The city was on the brink of civil war, and revolutionary ideas filled the air. Upon the conclusion of the war, Luxemburg was released from prison due to an act of amnesty, and used her freedom to immediately dive back into the political conflict. No longer a part of the SPD, Luxemburg, Liebknecht, and their fellow Spartacists, founded the German Communist Party (KPD).

    As the Spartacists turned toward communist activism, the German empire was crumbling, paving the way for the Weimar Republic. Revolts spread through the country, in response, the most famous of which was the Spartacus Uprising of January 1919.

    Luxemburg and Liebknecht hoped the revolt would bring about a communist Germany, but the ruling SPD government decided instead to crush the uprising, giving the Freikorps (Germany’s paramilitaries) permission to forcefully put an end to the protests. Among those captured were Luxemburg and Liebknecht. Captain of the Freikorps, Waldemar Pabst, said in 1962:

    “In January 1919, I attended a KPD meeting where Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were speaking. I gathered the impression that they were the intellectual leaders of the revolution, and I decided to have them killed. Following my orders, they were captured. One has to decide to break the rule of law… This decision to have them both killed did not come easy to me… I do maintain that this decision is morally and theologically legitimate.”

    Considering the notoriety their deaths received, details of their capture and murders are surprisingly varied. Some reports say that at the time of their capture, the two were staying at the luxurious Hotel Adlon on Pariser Platz. Others say they were staying at the Hotel Eden on what is now Budapester Strasse, while still others place them in an apartment. No matter where they were, the two were apprehended and murdered in January 1919.

    The reports on how exactly this happened are again murky. Some reports say they were shot in a car on the way to prison; others say Luxemburg was beaten outside the offices of the SPD; others still say that she was hit on the head with the butt of a rifle and then dragged into a car half-dead. Regardless, at the age of forty-seven, she was driven alone to the Landwehr canal in Tiergarten, where she was shot, her body then thrown into the water under the Lichtensteinbrücke.

     


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