Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg



At the end of 1914, Liebknecht, together with Rosa Luxemburg, Leo Jogiches, Paul Levi, Ernest Meyer, Franz Mehring and Clara Zetkin formed the so-called Spartacus League (Spartakusbund); the league publicized its views in a newspaper titled Spartakusbriefe ("Spartacus Letters") which was soon declared illegal. Liebknecht was arrested and sent to the eastern front during World War I for the group's echoing of Russian Bolsheviks' arguments for a Proletarian Revolution; refusing to fight, he served burying the dead, and due to his rapidly deteriorating health was allowed to return to Germany in October 1915.
Liebknecht was arrested again following a demonstration against the war in Berlin on 1 May 1916 that was organized by the Spartacus League, and sentenced to two and a half years in jail for high treason, which was later increased to four years and one month.
Liebknecht was released again in October 1918, when Max von Baden granted an amnesty to all political prisoners. Following the outbreak of the German Revolution, Liebknecht carried on his activities in the Spartacist League; he resumed leadership of the group together with Rosa Luxemburg and published its party organ, the Rote Fahne ("red flag").
On 9 November, Liebknecht declared the formation of a "Freie Sozialistische Republik" (Free Socialist Republic) from a balcony of the Berliner Stadtschloss, two hours after Philipp Scheidemann's declaration of the "German Republic" from a balcony of the Reichstag.
On 31 December 1918 / 1 January 1919, Liebknecht was involved in the founding of the KPD. Together with Luxemburg, Leo Jogiches and Clara Zetkin, Liebknecht was also instrumental in the January 1919 Spartacist uprising in Berlin. Initially he and Luxemburg opposed the revolt, but participated after it had begun. The uprising was brutally opposed by the new German government under Friedrich Ebert with the help of the remnants of the Imperial German Army and militias called the Freikorps; by 13 January, the uprising had been extinguished. Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were captured by Freikorps soldiers, on 15 January 1919, with considerable support from Minister of Defense Gustav Noske, and brought to the Eden Hotel in Berlin, where they were tortured and interrogated for several hours. Following this, Luxemburg was beaten to death with rifle butts and thrown into a nearby river while Liebknecht was shot in the back of the head then deposited as an unknown body in a nearby mortuary.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Liebknecht


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Hotel Eden
Berlin


Luxemburg was freed from prison in Breslau on November 8, 1918. One day later Karl Liebknecht, who had also been freed from prison, proclaimed the Freie Sozialistische Republik (Free Socialist Republic) in Berlin. He and Luxemburg reorganised the Spartacus League and founded the Red Flag newspaper, demanding amnesty for all political prisoners and the abolition of capital punishment. On December 14, 1918, they published the new programme of the Spartacist League.
From December 29 to 31 of 1918, they took part in a joint congress of the Spartacist League, independent Socialists, and the International Communists of Germany (IKD), that led to the foundation of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) under the leadership of Karl Liebknecht and Luxemburg on January 1, 1919. She supported the new KPD's participation in the national constitutional assembly that founded the Weimar Republic; but she was out-voted.
In January 1919, a second revolutionary wave swept Berlin. Unlike Liebknecht, Luxemburg rejected this violent attempt to seize power. But the Red Flag encouraged the rebels to occupy the editorial offices of the liberal press.
In response to the uprising, Social Democratic leader Friedrich Ebert ordered the Freikorps to destroy the left-wing revolution. Luxemburg and Liebknecht were captured in Berlin on January 15, 1919, by the Freikorps' Garde-Kavallerie-Schützendivision. Its commander, Captain Waldemar Pabst, along with Horst von Pflugk-Hartung questioned them and then gave the order to execute them. Luxemburg was knocked down with a rifle butt, then shot in the head; her body was flung into Berlin's Landwehr Canal. In the Tiergarten Karl Liebknecht was shot and his body, without a name, brought to a morgue. Likewise, hundreds of KPD members were summarily killed, and the Workers' and Soldiers' councils disbanded; the German revolution was ended. More than four months later, on June 1, 1919, Luxemburg's corpse was found and identified.
One Freikorps soldier, Otto Runge (1875–1945), was imprisoned for two years for her murder, though Pabst was not. The Nazis later compensated Runge for having been jailed, and they merged the Garde-Kavallerie-Schutzendivision into the SA. In an interview given to the German news magazine "Der Spiegel" in 1962 and again in his memoirs, Pabst maintained that two SPD leaders, defense minister Gustav Noske and chancellor Friedrich Ebert, had approved of his actions. This statement has never been confirmed, since neither parliament nor the courts examined the case.
Luxemburg and Liebknecht were buried at Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery in Berlin, where socialists and communists commemorate them every January 15.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Luxemburg

 

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Landwehr Kanal
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Funeral train
for Rosa Luxemburg

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  Funeral of Karl Liebknecht and
Rosa Luxemburg




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