Rosa Luxemburg (Róża Luksemburg in Polish spelling; March 5, 1870 - January 15, 1919) was a Polish Jewish Marxist politician, socialist philosopher, and revolutionary. She cofounded the Marxist group which later became the Communist Party of Germany.
Rosa Luxemburg was born in Zamość near Lublin, now Poland. After fleeing to Switzerland from imminent detention, she attended Zurich University along with other socialist figures such as Anatoli Lunacharsky and Leo Jogiches. Against the nationalism of the "Polish Socialist Party" (PPS) she created in 1893 together with Leo Jogiches and Julian Marchlewski the magazine "Sprawa Robotnicza" (The Worker's Cause). She believed that independence for Poland would only be possible by a revolution in Germany, Austria, and Russia, and that the fight against capitalism was more important than independence. She denied the right of self-determination for nations, in disagreement with Lenin.
Together with Karl Liebknecht, she created the Internationale group which later became the Spartacist League, in 1915. This, in turn, was part first of the Social Democratic Party, and then, of the Independent Social Democratic Party, before it became the nucleus of the Communist Party of Germany.
On June 28 1916 she, along with Karl Liebknecht, was sentenced to two years imprisonment. During this time she wrote several articles, including The Russian Revolution, which criticised the Bolsheviks on a number of scores. Nonetheless she remained a loyal supporter of Lenin and the Bolsheviks and forbade the publication of this unfinished document.
Luxemburg was active in the 1918 German Revolution, but she opposed the so-called Spartacist uprising as being adventurist, and the formation of the Communist Party of Germany as premature. In the wake of the Spartacist Uprising, she was abducted and later murdered, along with Liebknecht, on January 15 1919 by soldiers of the Freikorps (Free Corps) in Berlin.
The East German government named Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin's historic city center, Mitte, after her. The Volksbühne (People's Theatre) sits on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. Since she died well before East Germany was founded, the name has been left unchanged after reunification.
The grave of Rosa Luxemburg on the Zentralfriedhof Friedrichsfelde in Berlin