Leon "Leo" Jogiches (German: Leo Jogiches; Russian: Ð›ÐµÐ² "Ð›ÐµÐ¾" Ð™Ð¾Ð³Ð¸Ñ…ÐµÑ; 17 July 1867 â€“ 10 March 1919), also commonly known by the party name Jan Tyszka, was a Marxist revolutionary and politician, active in Poland, Lithuania and Germany. Jogiches was a founder of the political party known as The Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland (main forerunner of the Communist Party of Poland) in 1893 and a key figure in the underground Spartacus League in Germany (main forerunner of the Communist Party of Germany) during the years of World War I. For many years the personal companion and a close political ally of internationally famous revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg, Jogiches was assassinated in Berlin by right-wing paramilitary forces in March 1919 while investigating Luxemburg's murder some weeks before.
Leon Jogiches was born to a wealthy ethnic Polish-Jewish family in Vilnius, now Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire, on 17 July 1867.J.P. Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg. In Two Volumes. London: Oxford University Press, 1966; vol. 1, pg. 66.Biographische Datenbanken â€“ Jogiches, Leo. Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung. Retrieved 1 December 2018. Little is known of his childhood years, although it is perhaps instructive that Jogiches spoke no Hebrew and had no more than a rudimentary grasp of Yiddish, indicating a closer familiarity with other regional languages and cultures than those of his Jewish heritage. The family mostly spoke Polish at home and Russian languageRussian elsewhere. As a young man of 18, Jogiches founded one of the earliest underground socialist study circles in Vilnius, its 1885 origin predating the foundation of the first mass international socialist organization in the Russian Empire by a dozen years. Using the first of many pseudonyms, Liofka (little Leo), Jogiches attained an almost legendary local status for his tenacious dedication to the anti-Tsarist cause.Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, vol. 1, pg. 67. This commitment led to two arrests and short terms in jail, in both 1888 and 1889.Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov, "Leo Jogiches," Great Soviet Encyclopedia. English edition. New York: Macmillan Educational Company, 1982.
The Russian Revolution of 1905 erupted abruptly on "Bloody Sunday," 22 January with the shooting deaths of hundreds of peaceful protesters who were attempting to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II. Within days, protests and strikes calling for establishment of a constitutional order swept the empire, which rocked the state censorship and threatened the stability of the government for months. For the time, Leo Jogiches and his common-law wife, Luxemburg, remained in German exile, their eyes set firmly on the German movement. Jogiches returned to Poland first, traveling to Warsaw in the spring of 1905 to Warsaw to establish the Central Committee of the SDKPiL there together with Julian Marchlewski, Adolf Warski, Felix Dzerzhinsky, and Yakov Hanecki.Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, pg. 326. Luxemburg remained in Berlin as the representative of the SDKPiL abroad, representing it before the Socialist International and attempting to win support for the organization and its activities among the German socialist movement. Within the SPD Luxemburg, drawing upon the ongoing Russian experience, pushed the idea of the "mass strike" as a strategic tool for the achievement of power, over the objections of trade unionists and more conservative and electorally-driven party leaders.Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, vol. 1, pp. 307-308, 311. Jogiches would return to delegate to the annual congress of the SPD, held at Jena in the middle of September 1905.Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, vol. 1, pp. 306-307. As part of an ongoing battle to radicalize the party's daily newspaper, VorwÃ¤rts (Forward), Luxemburg was named to the paper's editorial board in the fall of 1905.Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, vol. 1, pg. 312. She would spend the months of November and December 1905 churning out aggressive commentary about Russian events for her German readers, attempting to draw analogies between the Russian and German situations whenever possible,Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, vol. 1, pg. 314. her contributions appearing almost daily.Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, vol. 1, pg. 316. It was not until the morning of 28 December 1905, that she would board a train for Warsaw in Russian Poland to herself become a direct participant in the ongoing revolutionary effort to overthrow the Tsarist government of the Russian Empire. In March 1906, Luxemburg and Jogiches were arrested for their revolutionary activity. Jogiches was sentenced by the court to 8 years of hard labor followed by lifetime exile to Siberia. He served months in prison before managing to escape across the border to Berlin. Jogiches attended the 1907 London Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, where he was elected a candidate member of the partyâ€™s governing Central Committee.
Split with Luxemburg
thumb200pxLeo Jogiches as he appeared in 1910 Although an intelligent person and dedicated revolutionary socialist thinker, Jogiches was virtually incapable of converting his ideas into written words: "the mere thought of putting his ideas on paper paralyzes him," Luxemburg later recalled.Ettinger, "Comrade and Lover," pg. 133. Consequently, the chief contribution of Jogiches was that of literary stimulant to the skilled publicist Luxemburg as well as behind-the-scenes organizer of the fledgling underground political party that he had helped to establish. As Luxemburg grew in fame as a Marxist theoretician, Jogiches became gradually more embittered about his life, until by his mid-30s, he had come, as one Luxemburg biographer phrased it, to have "fully realized the gap between his youthful aspirations and the disillusionments of reality."The words are those of Elzbieta Ettinger. See: Ettinger, "Comrade and Lover," pg. 135. Interpersonal conflict followed, exacerbated by the different trajectories of personal achievement, with the pair permanently separating in 1907.Ettinger, "Comrade and Lover," pg. 135.
The Spartacus League led the failed German Revolution of 1918/1919 after which Luxemburg and Liebknecht were killed by the right-wing paramilitary Freikorps troops. Jogiches was killed in Moabit prison in Berlin on the 10 March 1919, probably because he was investigating the assassination of Luxemburg and Liebknecht.
"A Letter from Prison to Sophie Liebknecht," Mike Jones, trans. New Interventions, vol. 9, no 2. Originally published in Internationale wissenschaftliche Korrespondenz zur Geschichte der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung, vol. 33, no 1 (March 1997), pp. 100-102.
George Adler, Peter Hudis, and Annelies Laschitza (eds.), The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg. London: Verso, 2011.
Elzbieta Ettinger, "Comrade and Lover: Rosa Luxemberg's Letters to Leo Jogiches," New German Critique, whole no. 17, (Spring 1979), pp. 129â€“142. In JSTOR
Elzbieta Ettinger (ed.), Comrade and Lover: Rosa Luxemburg's Letters to Leo Jogiches. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1979.
Elzbieta Ettinger, Rosa Luxemburg: A Life. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1986.
Cesi Kellinger, "Rosa Luxemburg and Leo Jogiches," Monthly Review, vol. 25, no. 6 (Nov. 1973), pp. 48â€“56.
Ottokar Luban, The Role of the Spartacist Group after 9 November 1918 and the Formation of the KPD, in: Ralf Hoffrogge and Norman LaPorte (eds.), Weimar Communism as Mass Movement 1918-1933, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 2017, pp. 45â€“65.
J. P. Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg. In Two Volumes. London: Oxford University Press, 1966.
Maria Seidemann, Rosa Luxemburg und Leo Jogiches: Die Lieben in den Zeiten der Revolution (Rosa Luxemburg and Leo Jogiches: Love in the Time of Revolution). Berlin: Rowohlt, 1998.
Eric D. Weitz, Creating German Communism, 1890-1990: From Popular Protests to Socialist State. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997.
Eric D. Weitz, "'Rosa Luxemburg Belongs to Us!' German Communism and the Luxemburg Legacy," Central European History, vol. 27, no. 1 (1994), pp. 27â€“64.
Grigory Zinoviev, "New Crime of the German 'Social-Democratic Government," The Communist International, vol. 1, no. 1 (April 1919). â€”Radio address following the 1919 murder of Jogiches.
Leo Jogiches, A Letter from Prison, 7 September 1918.
Category:1867 births Category:1919 deaths Category:Politicians from Vilnius Category:People from Vilensky Uyezd Category:Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania politicians Category:Social Democratic Party of Germany politicians Category:Independent Social Democratic Party politicians Category:Communist Party of Germany politicians Category:Polish revolutionaries Category:German revolutionaries Category:Assassinated Polish politicians Category:Assassinated German politicians Category:Assassinated Jews Category:People murdered in Berlin Category:Jewish Polish politicians Category:Jewish German politicians Category:Jewish Lithuanian politicians Category:Jewish socialists