FWD: From R. Mickey

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Sun Feb 4 12:23:46 MST 2001

------Original Message------
From: Rkmickey at aol.com
To: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
Sent: February 4, 2001 6:44:02 PM GMT
Subject: re: FWD: Comments on Lenin/Lux. and Phillip f.

"Walters, Dave D." <dave.walters at mirant.com> asks:

>Lastly, was Luxembourg Polish? I thought she was Jewish. Was her first
>language Yiddish? or German? or Polish? Most Poles, ironcically, probably
>didn't consider her Polish, but Jewish, a distinct nationality within the
>Polish state....

Luxemburg's family were "enlightened" Jews who spoke both Polish and German
in their home; she early mastered Russian as a required subject in school
and also spoke French and Italian. She evidently spoke German with a slight
but noticeable Polish accent, according to Margarethe Von Trotta's cinematic
characterisation of her which was based on extensive research. (Luxemburg
did not know Yiddish, although her comrade and lover, Leo Jogiches did write
and speak it.)  While her family had indeed been "assimilated" to Polish and
German culture for at least a couple of generations  they did not convert to
Christianity -  they would almost certainly have not been regarded as truly
Polish by most Poles.

RK Mickey

The following is from:
"Rosa Luxemburg: A Socialist With a Human Face"
by Beverly G Merck
full article at URL:  http://www.cddc.vt.edu/feminism/Luxemburg.html

"Her life spanned the five decades that opened the first dress rehearsal for
the socialist revolution and closed as a new era was launched -- 1871 to
1919. Luxemburg was born on March 1, 1871, in Zanosc, a small town in
southeastern Russian Poland in the year of the Paris commune.. She was the
youngest of five children. Her parents were Jews who de-emphasized their
Jewishness.. Although little is known about her mother, it is known that she
was well-read. Luxemburg wrote to Sophie Leibknect, in Letters From Prison,
that her mother considered Schiller and the Bible supreme sources of wisdom,
being "firmly convinced that King Solomon understood the language of
Rosa said that in the pride of her 14 years and in her training in natural
science, she used to smile at her "mother's simplicity.". Her father,
educated in Germany, owned a timber business. He has generally been
as cosmopolitan in thought and actions. The Polish and German languages were
spoken in the home. Luxemburg also learned Russian. Rosa said she learned
from her father liberal ideas, an active interest in world affairs, an
ongoing pleasure in Western literature. He had emancipated himself from the
strictness of the ghetto and from the Jewish orthodoxy at an early age.. The
family moved to Warsaw, where at the age of 5 Rosa developed a serious hip
ailment. Bedridden for a year, she taught herself to read. Luxemburg never
fully recovered from the disease. She walked with a slight limp the rest of
her life.. Biographer and friend Paul Frolich writes:
Physically she was not cut out for the role of heroine. She was slight of
build and her body was badly proportioned; her legs were too short for her
torso, and owing to her early hip trouble her walk was ungainly. Her
were sharp and pronouncedly Jewish. It was a face indicating energy and
determination, and it repelled one and fascinated the other..
Her education was remarkable in several respects. At the age of 13, she
entered the second girls school, graduating in 1887 with an excellent
academic record from an institution reserved "first and foremost" for the
children and Russian administrators.. Mary-Alice Waters said school
authorities denied Luxemburg a gold medal she had earned for academic
achievement because of her "rebellious attitude." Apparently, Luxemburg had
already become active in the underground revolutionary movement.. Two years
later, with arrest eminent, Luxemburg was smuggled out of Poland into
Germany. A Catholic priest helped her after she told him she had to leave
Poland because she wanted to be baptized to marry her lover.. Luxemburg went
to Zurich. She attended the University of Zurich, one of the few
of the time that admitted men and women on an equal basis. Her studies
covered a wide range of the humanities, social science and history. Earning
doctorate in political science, she was considered an oddity by prospective
landlords, who had never before seen a woman with a doctor's degree..
writes that along with her studies, Luxemburg took part in the Zurich
working-class movement. She became active in the intellectual life of
political emigrants from Poland and Russia.. Frolich said that free thought
prevailed amongst them in an angst of strict and almost ascetic morality..
The subjects of discussion had one theme -- revolution, whether it be
philosophy, Darwinism, the emancipation of women, Marx, Tolstoy, Russian
agrarian communism, capitalistic development, Nihilist terrorism, Bakunin,
Blanqy, methods of revolutionary struggle, demoralization of the Western
bourgeoisie, Bismark's fall, German social democracy, the emancipation of
Poland, Emile Zola.. Luxemburg positioned herself in the thick of political
battles, invariably advocating Marxism. She became one of the central
of Polish social democracy, and remained so until her murder. She also
entered into an intimate personal, intellectual and political relationship
with Leo Jogiches, which lasted for 15 years.."

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