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100th anniversary of death
June 5, 1919


May 23, 1883 St. Petersburg (Russia) - June 5, 1919 Munich

Eugen Leviné 

Leader of the revolutionary working class in the Bavarian soviet republic

 

During the in 1919, Leviné was the organiser of the Workers' and Soldiers' Soviets. When the was crushed, Leviné was captured and court-martialed. The court-martial told him: "You are under sentence of death."

Leviné answered:

"We Communists are all dead men on leave. Of this I am fully aware. I do not know if you will extend my leave or whether I shall have to join [the late] Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. In any case I await your verdict with composure and inner serenity. For I know that, whatever your verdict, events cannot be stopped … Pronounce your verdict if you deem it proper. I have only striven to foil your attempt to stain my political activity, the name of the Soviet Republic with which I feel myself so closely bound up, and the good name of the workers of Munich. They — and I together with them — we have all of us tried to the best of our knowledge and conscience to do our duty towards the International, the Communist World Revolution."

* * *

In court Levine was "defended" by a member of the Catholic Centre Party. He argued: "Don't send this man to his death, for should you do so, he would not die, he would start to live again. The life of this man would lie on the conscience of the entire community and his ideas would generate the seed of terrible revenge."

* * *

"The Proletarian Revolution has no need of terror for its aims; it detests and abhors murder. It has no need of these means of struggle, for it fights not individuals but institutions. How then does the struggle arise? Why, having gained power, do we build a Red Army? Because history teaches us that every privileged class has hitherto defended itself by force when its privileges have been endangered. And because we know this; because we do not live in cloud-cuckoo-land; because we cannot believe that conditions in Bavaria are different - that the Bavarian bourgeoisie and the capitalists would allow themselves to be expropriated without a struggle - we were compelled to arm the workers to defend ourselves against the onslaught of the dispossessed capitalists." (Eugen Levine) 

Eugen Leviné (Russian: Евгений Левине) (born 10 May 1883 – 5 July 1919) was a German communist revolutionary and leader of the Bavarian Council Republic.

Leviné was born in St. Petersburg into the Jewish merchant family. His father died when Eugen was 3 years old, and his mother emigrated to Germany with her son, settling in Wiesbaden and Mannheim. Eugen went on to study law at the Heidelberg University. He returned to Russia to participate in the revolution of 1905 against the Tsar. For his actions, he was exiled to Siberia. He eventually escaped to Germany and began studying at Heidelberg University and, in 1915, married Rosa Broido from the Polish town of Gródek. They had at least one child, a son, whom they named Eugen. For a short time, he served in the Imperial German Army during the First World War.

Bavarian Council Republic

After the war ended, Leviné joined the Communist Party of Germany and helped to create a socialist republic in Bavaria. However, the republic lasted only several weeks, replaced quickly by a Soviet-style republic after the assassination of Kurt Eisner, then leader of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD).

The ruling government of the new republic lasted only six days, due to poor leadership under the German playwright Ernst Toller. Leviné rose to power as the communists assumed control of the government.

He urged the workers to elect "revolutionary shop stewards" in order to defend the revolution. Levine argued that they should "elect men consumed with the fire of revolution, filled with energy and pugnacity, capable of rapid decision-making, while at the same time possessed of a clear view of the real power relations, thus able to choose soberly and cautiously the moment for action."

He sent the forces of the Red Army to the most important points... The administration of the city was carried on by the factory councils. The banks were blocked, each withdrawal being carefully controlled. Socialisation was not only decreed, but carried through from below in the enterprises."

"The streets were filled with workers, armed and unarmed, who marched by in detachments or stood reading the proclamations. Lorries loaded with armed workers raced through the town, often greeted with jubilant cheers. The bourgeoisie had disappeared completely; the trams were not running. All cars had been confiscated and were being used exclusively for official purposes. Thus every car that whirled past became a symbol, reminding people of the great changes. Aeroplanes appeared over the town and thousands of leaflets fluttered through the air in which the Hoffmann government pictured the horrors of Bolshevik rule and praised the democratic government who would bring peace, order and bread." (Rosa Levine)

Leviné attempted to pass many reforms, such as giving the more luxurious flats to the homeless and giving workers control and ownership of factories. He also planned reforms for the education system and to abolish paper money, neither of which he ever completed.

Under orders from Leviné, the Red Guards began rounding up people they considered to be hostile to the new regime as hostages against imminent outside attack. The German president Friedrich Ebert gave orders to subdue the Council Republic and reinstate the Bavarian government under Johannes Hoffmann.

The German Army, assisted by Freikorps, with a force of roughly 39,000 men, invaded and quickly conquered Munich on 3 May 1919. They killed some 700 men and women. Leviné himself was arrested and shot by firing squad in Stadelheim Prison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Leviné

1916

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

POEM

Somewhere out there, the killers of Eugen were running around
Revenge is coming, the "International" is the sound
the world proletariat would walk the universe to find the murderers of
Eugen Leviné
Bavarian Soviet Republic, World  Soviet Republic beside Eugen Leviné

Eugen Leviné doesn`t give a damn about the peace dove
By the working class power above
Eugen Leviné knew, the Bavarian Soviet Republic has the working class power
Eugen Leviné knew, the Bavarian Soviet Republic has the working class power

Eugen Leviné was no stranger, he recognised the world
And when he talked ",Long live the world revolution", every really heard
He spoke of things like world revolution is no peace
The joy it brings will never cease

Eugen Leviné doesn`t give a damn about the peace dove
By the working class power above
Eugen Leviné knew, the Bavarian Soviet Republic has the working class power
Eugen Leviné knew, the Bavarian Soviet Republic has the working class power

The truth of dialectic will always guide us
The strength of the five classcis of Marxism-Leninism above will be
inside us
Forever more workers and farmers will be together
About Eugen Leviné our hearts will soar one to the other

workers of the world don`t give a damn about the peace dove
By the working class power above
In the world dictatorship of the proletariat we have the working class power
with the world dictatorship of the world proletariat we have the working
class power
worker and farmer so can you ...

 

 

 

BAVARIAN SOVIET REPUBLIC

1919