Karl Radek


– leading Bolshevik of Polish background; from 1904, a member of Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania founded in 1893 by Leo Jogisches, Rosa Luxemburg, Julian Marchlewski and Adolf Warski; emigrated to Germany and became a member of the SPD in 1907 with the support of Jogisches and Franz Mehring; expelled from both the Polish and the German party in 1912 for obscure reasons but also owing to the personal enmity between him and other party members – among them Rosa Luxemburg; joined the Bolsheviks, initially as a trusted member of Lenin’s circle; up until his fall from power in 1924, Radek was the Bolsheviks’ specialist on Germany; established subordination to the Bolsheviks in the KPD in 1920 and – internationally – Lenin’s defamation of opponents on the left as an indispensible method of Communist Party politics; Radek’s most eager pupil was Joseph Stalin; was re-admitted to the party in 1930, participating in the writing of the Soviet constitution in 1936 and denouncing James Joyce and Marcel Proust at the First Soviet Writers’ Conference in 1934; accused of treason during the Great Purge and sentenced to ten years in prison as one of the main defendants in the second Moscow Show Trial (1937) and murdered on May 19, 1939 on Stalin’s orders.