A revolutionary, a Marxist, and one of the leaders of the world socialist movement, Rosa Luxemburg fought for social justice and for the man she loved with equal passion and determination. This skillful and sensitive translation of her letters to Leo Jogiches reveals an affair which came to be seen as "the greatest and most tragic love story of Socialism."
Leo Jogiches was Luxemburg's political alter ego and the only man she loved and admired. They first met in 1890 when they were both students at the Zurich University, and together they founded the first important Polish Marxist workers' party—the antecedent of Poland's contemporary ruling party.
Comrade and Lover reveals that, unlike Golda Meir or Indira Gandhi whose political careers took precedence over their personal lives, Rosa Luxemburg would not choose one over the other—love and work were inseparable in her life. These letters reveal a fascinating woman, one who was moody and passionate, proud and independent, who struggled to reconcile her political career with her wish to have a child and a quiet, peaceful homelife with Jogiches.
Rosa Luxemburg wrote nearly a thousand letters to Leo Jogiches between 1893 and 1914, but they were kept from scholars and the public for several decades in the Marx-Lenin Institute in Moscow. This selection marks their first translation from Polish into English.
"This collection of 103 letters to her 'comrade and lover,' the Lithuanian Marxist Leo Jogiches...carefully translated and annotated...deal as strongly with urgent political and theoretical matters as with their difficult, often strained relationship.... The collection is preceded by an incisive and informative essay by the translator, and followed by a short historical note and an index that reads like a directory of the European Left of the era."
—Ludo Abicht, Antioch Review
"The career of Rosa Luxemburg spanned the final decade of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th, during which time she played a guiding role in the development of the European socialist movement, both in her native Poland, and more importantly in imperial Germany. As a student, then as a journalist, speaker, and organizer, finally as an economist and theoretician...she rose to dizzying heights, all the more remarkable for her being a woman, a Jew, and (in Germany) a foreigner.... In January 1919, she was brutally murdered in Berlin by right-wing thugs; the recipient of these letters, Leo Jogiches, met death at the same hands not long afterward.
"The correspondence in this fascinating little book, superbly translated and very helpfully edited by Elżbieta Ettinger, covers only the 1893 to 1914; it is sufficient, however, to plot the course of a deep personal drama."
—Mark Falcoff, Commentary