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On Rosa Luxemburg

March 26, 1995

I dare say there are a number of readers of the Times who know more about European history than your reviewer David Helvarg ("The Life and Death of Petra Kelly," Feb. 12).

Rosa Luxemburg was not . . . "a German revolutionary leader of the 1920s. . . ."

Luxemburg, born in Poland, was among the founders of the Spartacus Bund and was shot to death in Berlin, probably by German soldiers, on Jan. 16, 1919, following an abortive uprising of revolutionary socialist activists.



There is a deplorable factual error in the Sunday, Feb. 12 book review of "The Life and Death of Petra Kelly."

It concerned the life and death of Rosa Luxemburg, who certainly was not a "German revolutionary leader of the 1920s." She was murdered in January, 1919, by a paid fascist gang. Her body was thrown into a canal. The punishment for this gang, which was well-known to the Berlin police and the Prussian Government, was six months in jail for one of the assailants who had stolen her wristwatch.

Rosa Luxemburg was perhaps the first militant feminist and an independent socialist strongly opposed to Lenin.

I would greatly appreciate a correction.


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