On June 1, 1919 a passer-by walking along Berlin´s Landwehrkanal discovers a corpse floating in the water: it is the body of Rosa Luxemburg, a famous communist activist and leader brutally murdered together with Karl Liebknecht on the order of the Social-Democratic government in January the same year.
Although both Liebknecht and Luxemburg had already been buried at the Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery, also known as the Socialists´ Cemetery, the coffin of Rosa Luxemburg was, unbeknownst to many, empty.
In June, however, her body, examined by two excellent pathologists at Berlin´s University Clinic Charité, could be released for burial proper (although we should be aware of the fact that there is a slight but impossible to ignore possibility that it was not Luxemburg´s body that was lowered into the gave that day).
The funeral train for Rosa Luxemburg on June 13, 1919 (image: Bundesarchiv) .
Today, both Luxemburg´s and Liebknecht´s graves are known to be empty: the Nazis took their revenge on the hated politicians by destroying their original graves and annihilating their remains. Their fate was shared by Mies van der Rohe´s famous Revolution Memorial erected on the site: unveiled on June 13, 1926 the strong, impressive work by the today legendary designer was demolished in 1935, too.
Revolutionsdenkmal by Mies van der Rohe after its unveiling on June 13, 1926 (image: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H29710)