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Rosa Luxemburg’s years in Switzerland

Rosa Luxemburg was born in 1871 in the Renaissance town of Zamość in south-eastern Poland. She passed her High School examination at the Gymnasium in Warsaw in Poland with distinction. Her parents’ plans to marry off their daughter failed because the dowry was too small. In 1888, she received permission from both her family and the Tsarist authorities to emigrate to Switzerland. From 1889, she studied in Zurich. She enrolled in philosophy, mathematics, botany and zoology, and later studied political science and national economics. Only in Switzerland was higher education accessible to women at that time.

The young Rosa is a convinced advocate of the writings of Karl Marx. She quickly made friends in her new home. Many left-wing intellectuals who had immigrated from Eastern Europe live here.

Together with other young people she campaigns for an international movement – against capitalism and monarchy. Rosa Luxemburg writes for the Polish exile newspaper “Sache der Arbeiter“ (Workers’ Cause) and in 1893, together with her lover Leo Jogiches and two other friends, Julian Marchlewski and Adolf Warski, she founds her own party – the “Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland”. In 1893, at the age of just 22, Rosa Luxemburg had presented a paper at the III. International Socialist Workers’ Congress in Zurich in 1893 and impressed the prominent figures of the workers’ movement gathered there.

In 1897, she finished her dissertation on the industrial development of Poland with “summa cum laude” – marvelled at and admired as the only woman among sons of property owners, factory owners and state administrators. After defending her dissertation, Rosa Luxemburg moved to Berlin in 1898. In Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, she quickly became the spokesperson for the left wing of the Social Democratic Party. On 15 January 1919, she was assassinated by right-wing guerrillas in Berlin.

A film by Raphaël Haab, born in 1991 in Chêne-Bougerie (Switzerland). 2008 Certificate of basic musical education in piano at the Geneva Conservatory. 2012-15 Bachelor of HLSU (Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts), 3D Animation. 2015 Master of Arts in Film Animation at the HSLU.

A film by Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung in Geneva.