What does red greeting mean

A red greeting to the left ancestors in Germany

It is our duty to remember both of them. You gave your life for a leftist idea. "Hermann (78), pensioner from East Berlin, stands in the drizzle on the edge of the so-called socialist cemetery in Berlin-Friedrichsfelde and holds two red carnations in his hand, purchased for one fifty each at the flower stand on S-Bahn station.

He wants to put them down at the memorial in honor of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. 100 years ago, on January 15, 1919, the founding members of the Communist Party of Germany were murdered in Berlin during the turmoil of the revolutionary winter of 1918/19. The murder divides the left to this day. At that time the SPD leadership had put down the "Spartacus uprising" with the help of Freikorp troops, and the "January coup" claimed 156 deaths.

"Who betrayed us? Social Democrats!" Shouted communists after the murders. The battle cry has survived to the present. 100 years ago people complained that the SPD had prevented the socialist upheaval and killed communists in the process. Today he is still being fished out and has to serve for the frustration that the SPD does not want to support many of the left's ideas.

The misery at the S-Bahn station

"Just take a look at the misery," says Hermann and points in the direction of the S-Bahn station. There are many homeless people lying there in the cold neon light of the corridors. "Luxemburg and Liebknecht were real socialists who would have fought against this poverty. But the Social Democrats have been in government for decades and they are doing nothing." For him, that's the difference between socialism and communism, and Hermann could tell a lot about it.

But first he calms down, because now the left-wing with red wreaths marches to the solemn piano sounds like a phalanx: parliamentary group leader Dietmar Barsch, the party leaders Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger, Gregor Gysi, Oskar Lafontaine and of course Luxembourg fan Sahra Wagenknecht. About her role model, she says: "She was a passionate fighter for peace and social justice."

Hermann is delighted: "The Wagenknecht is really a beautiful woman, so coming here was twice as worthwhile." And: "She's also smart." He likes her new movement "Stand Up", with which she wants to unite the left, the SPD and the Greens. "The left can only be powerful and change the prevailing conditions if it finally overcomes and holds together the division that began with these murders," he is convinced.

Workers, unite!

Martin Düspohl, curator of the Berlin 18/19 exhibition, also points out that 100 years ago there was the slogan "Workers unite - with or without your leaders". "Wagenknecht's experiment reminds you a bit of that," he says.

She wants to put so much pressure on by "getting up" that the leaders of the SPD, the Left and the Greens focus more on social aspects. 170,000 people have signed Wagenknecht's appeal so far. Recently, ex-AfD boss Frauke Petry has also raved about the project.

But Wagenknecht does not get any support from the leaders of the left, the SPD or the Greens. There are also some who believe that one day she will have to choose between her position as left parliamentary group leader and the movement.

As far as the murder of Luxemburg and Liebknecht is concerned, reconciliation should still be a long way off. On the occasion of the commemoration of the centenary, some leftists called on the SPD to assume responsibility for the murders. In November, SPD leader Andrea Nahles said it was "likely" that the SPD politician Gustav Noske, who was then responsible for the military, "had a hand in it". Now she sees no evidence of that. (Birgit Baumann from Berlin, January 13, 2019)