Rosa Luxemburg .. Prison and Love Correspondence | culture

Marxist theorist and philosopher Rosa Luxemburg (born in Poland in 1871) is one of the most influential philosophers in the European and Marxist labor movements.

Despite her obstacle and descent from Eastern Europe, the revolutionary socialist philosopher – who was assassinated in Berlin in 1919 – influenced the movements against so-called “national extremism”, and is also known for her harsh criticism of the Russian Bolshevik revolution and the oppression it caused.

After the ideological debates between right and left on the one hand, and between the different currents of left on the other, have recently resurfaced, Rosa Luxemburg’s published correspondence is of particular interest in the light of the personal and human faces she reveals, some of which published by the translator Nahla al-Shahal in her book “Correspondence: Rosa Luxemburg”, which included messages of love and nostalgia from the German prison in which she was imprisoned, to her lover Hans Diva Nebach, who was related. to her through a relationship of friendship and love and their mutual friends had hoped for their marriage after the war.

These letters were sent to him from various prisons in Germany; As it is known that Rosa did not come out of prison except to re-enter it; It was imprisoned in Poland, Russia and Germany, and important parts of its theoretical and practical contributions were made there and then leaked abroad.

Rosa Luxemburg is known as the best-known socialist woman in German-speaking countries for her sharp critique of capitalism, and she is the idealist of social-democratic thinking and practice.

Lenin called it “the rising falcon of Marxism”, and it stood against the First World War, which broke out in 1914 and ended in 1918.


This book “Correspondence: Rosa Luxemburg” – which was published in its first issue in 1977 – was recently reprinted by Shahryar 2020.

Regarding the new issue, the owner of “Dar Shahryar” Iraqi publisher Safa Diab said: “There are several reasons for reprinting Rosa’s correspondence. The first is that the book is important and it deals with Rosa’s private life, and because it was printed 45 years ago, it is no longer available at hand. “

The second – according to Diab – is that there is an “unprecedented interest – Iraqi and Arab – in Marxist and communist books, by young people interested in reading, which prompted us to reprint it, noting that these young people mostly are not communists. “

In these correspondences, Rosa Luxemburg appears as a person who loves and suffers, and who lives like any woman in this world apart from her leading figure.

Who’s Rosa?

In the letters, Luxembourg appears slender, short and always ill, but she is a woman with deep culture and diverse knowledge, loves flowers, birds, the sun, loves music and literature, is both cheerful and sad, and know how to suffer others.

She sympathizes with women and their pain, suffering and weakness, although she has always refused to make her contributions to the struggle to be feminine, not in contempt for this field, but because she believed that the best service that she could deliver on the women’s struggle was to establish her position as a leader for both men and women.

Translator Nahla al-Shahal says: “She intends to translate these correspondences not only for a documentary purpose, or to illuminate aspects of Rosa’s personality, but to convey aspects of femininity to the one who has a solid “In the heart of this contradiction lies all the splendor of man.”

Al-Shahal continues, “The letters reveal the unenlightened side of the personality and psychology of a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and revolutionary socialist. Several sources have indicated her nervous and moral collapse, and her attempted suicide as a result. of the collapse of hope. for a communist revolution in Germany. “

Al-Shahal: The Letters Reveal the Unlightened Side of a Revolutionary Marxist Theorist, Philosopher, Economist, and Socialist (Shutterstock)

Copies run out

The translator, Nahla Al-Shahal, said she was pleased with this new edition of the book, which she translated into Beirut in 1977 and was published by Ibn Khaldoun House.

She added, “Unfortunately, the rest of my copies of the book were lost. The publisher Safa Diab contacted me via Facebook and asked for my approval for the book, which was found among the books of an old library bought in Basra. “I, of course, agreed. I asked to read the text before I reprint it.”

And she continued: “I corrected some typographical errors. I left the introduction I made for him at the age of 25 as it is. Not as a clue, but because I honestly found it excellent and I had nothing to add to it.or what I want to change.I was happy because after more than 40 years and some experiences Bitterness and disappointments with the amount of enthusiasm (even more) and a change in many things, I still agree on the foundations of my beliefs and the values ​​I adhere to.

Waiting impatiently for you

Al Shahal explains, “When I bought the book, I did not know who Rosa Luxemburg was, I just moved to the cover. After reading, I loved the world of this strong woman and ardent defender of her ideas, and the woman who appreciates love and describes it as giving us the ability to see the world, as if it comes from fairy tales and from the human soul. The most beautiful of them. “

In her letter signed on 14 May 1917, she wrote to Hans, “Tonight I felt more miserable than can be described, so I went through the East-West Divan – a collection of poems written by Goethe at the age of 70 – and was very fond of this book, not only because of the flammability and eternal life that radiates from it, but also because of Zuleikha or Marianne, who alone, in my opinion, the image of the woman that Goethe loves, and who I’m really equal to Goethe’s poems in terms of warmth and simplicity.

When she was captured in the Franca castle on January 7, 1917, she wrote to Hans and told him that today was Sunday, and it had always been ominous for her, and for the first time since her stay in this place she felt miserable, so she decides to write this message to him.

“Today I thought of you for a long time, Hans, when will we live again? Our sweet evenings in Soudante, when you read to me about Goethe’s (writings) of Goethe while drinking countless cups of tea, and when we compete in endless quarrels about God and the universe, “it said. until you (Hans) – about midnight – after throwing a miserable glance at the clock, lower your head into your hat, and run to the station like a crazy man.

Rosa Luxemburg often concluded these letters with the phrase “I am waiting for you.” In February 1917 she wrote to him not to surprise her with his visit, but to inform her before he came. Hans Deva Nachsbach (1884-1917) met Rosa for the first time during his stay. In Berlin he was drafted into the artillery during the war, where he was killed by a shell.

These correspondences do not contain explanations and details of Rosa’s life in prison. It is rather a short and fast diary with a lot of nostalgia for Hans. For example, she tells him about the books she works on and asks him for his letters on paper, not on the receipts of the libraries from which he selects books and sends them to jail.

On the morning of June 29, 1917, I wrote to him: “Every night, as I sit in front of the arid window with my feet outstretched on another chair, I breathe in fresh air and dream … from somewhere in the neighborhood I do not know the exact owner of this work and its place, but the frequent repetition of these voices makes me feel like I am in an intimate relationship with these people. “

These sounds, which she can hear from afar while inside the cell, make her feel comfortable. In one of the prisons, she listened to the sound of two ducks living in a nearby swamp and woke her up every day at two o’clock. made. ‘clock in the middle of the night. I told him about the impression caused by sounds of which we do not know the source, and in other messages I told him about the size of her cell, which does not exceed 11 cubic meters, without lighting, and what she in did those moments sang a few poems.

And she always told him at the beginning of every message that she had gone through unhappy moments, but now she is better as long as she chats with him and brings back fond memories with him despite the deep sadness that surrounds her.

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