Letter to Clara Zetkin

Berlin, Rosa Luxemburg on 24 November 1918

My address for now, Mathilde [Jacob] (I still haven't been home!)


     in fleeting haste, instead of the mile-long letter that is written out fully in my heart, just a few pitiful lines. The main thing is: I naturally would like to see you and speak with you. I could only leave here for two days in about two weeks, assuming that Thalheimer and Hoernle will in the meantime have come here to help with the paper. The fact is that we are barely able to take care of things, and on top of that there's the terrible lack of space [in the paper], (and we have especially little room for feuilletons [light, popular pieces of writing])! No doubt you saw that we were obliged to take out some of the sentences [in your article], otherwise the issue simply would not have gone together. We are already thinking about coming out with either six pages or twice daily, but that of course requires more forces, and we are waiting impatiently for Thalheimer and Hoernle, because the soldiers’ paper and the youth paper also need forces!

     Now about the agitation on women's issues! Its importance and urgency is clear to us exactly as it is to you. Actually, at the first meeting of our top leadership we decided, at my suggestion, to put out a women's paper as well, and for this purpose (or more accurately, by this means) to steal you from the Leipziger Volkszeitung.1 (By the way, the Leipziger Volkszeitung is now conducting itself so boldly that we actually have no desire to do it any harm.) At any rate a women's paper must be produced by us here in Berlin, either as an independent weekly or biweekly or as a daily supplement to the Rote Fahne—that would be up to you to determine, and of course we will have to come to an agreement about that! And it is such an urgent matter! Every day lost is a sin.

     Your idea of leaflets is of course splendid. Only one wonders if a daily supplement to the Rote Fahne wouldn't be more practical. Everything depends on where you are and how we arrange things so that you have the matter fully in hand.

     So before all else, a conversation at length [is needed]. As stated: the earliest I could visit you would be in two weeks. You want to come here. Can you really risk that? Can we take such stress and strain onto our conscience? Because nowadays a trip from Stuttgart to Berlin comes close to being life-threatening. Answer candidly! Your health is indeed more important than all other considerations. Actually you could not come here much sooner than I could come to you, because the trains are not running.

     The failings of the Rote Fahne are painfully clear to me, have no doubt about it! It's all merely makeshift and a substitute for the real thing, but it's bound to get better.

     All of us are in over our ears in turmoil and travail. As far as tactics go, probably there is not the slightest difference between you and us. This is a great comfort and joy to me! Still, there would be so much to talk over and consult about! So for now, a thousand hugs for you and best wishes for your menfolk.

     Your Rosa

1 The Leipziger Volkszeitung was at that time the organ of the USPD, and Clara Zetkin was editing the women’s supplement to that paper.

Quotes taken from Rosa Luxemburg: The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg, edited by George Adler, Peter Hudis and Annelies Laschitza, translated by George Shriver, Verso 2011, p. 480-482.