Rosa Luxemburg

While the name sounds like that of a soap opera character or possibly a romance novel heroine, Poland’s Rosa Luxemburg was not a fictional figure – though her story as a noted revolutionary socialist is just as dramatic. Born in the southern city of Zamość (which was then controlled by Russia) in 1871, Luxemburg was the fifth child born to a Polish Jewish family that eventually moved to the capital of Warsaw. There Luxemburg attended school and got her first taste of political activity by becoming involved in the left-wing Proletariat party, a short-lived socialist political party that was essentially dissolved after most of its members were executed or imprisoned around 1886.

Luxemburg fled to Switzerland in 1889 to escape persecution for her beliefs and enrolled in Zurich University, where she met Leo Jogiches – a fellow student and the man who would be her romantic and political partner for the rest of her life.
Together the duo founded the Social Democratic Party of the Kingdom of Poland and created a newspaper, Sprawa Robotnicza (The Worker’s Cause) to oppose the policies of the Polish Socialist Party.


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