Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


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).
Beisetzung von Rosa Luxemburg

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.

Berlin-Friedrichsfelde, Revolutionsdenkmal

Revolutionsdenkmal by Mies van der Rohe after its unveiling on June 13, 1926 (image: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H29710)



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