Podcast #51: Rosa Luxemburg

The world is a troubling place, but we hope you can still find some inspiration out there, and in honor of International Women’s Day, we wanted to bring you the story of a woman who fought, loved, and sacrificed, in troubling times of her own — the revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg. Rosa was a Polish-born Jewish intellectual, socialist, Marxist philosopher, and anti-war activist, whose evocative writing contributed to her legacy. 

Her story comes via educator and writer Agata Lisiak, who is currently working on a book about Rosa Luxemburg. 

DLS co-founder Florian Duijsens joins producer Susan Stone to introduce our featured Dead Lady, and to give a book recommendation guaranteed to lighten up our dark times. 

You can download the transcript, created by Annie Musgrove, here.

Show notes:

Here’s Rosa wearing some different hats.

And as a young girl in Poland

Rosa in Berlin

With her dear friend Clara Zetkin, credited with inventing International Women’s Day

Rosa on a couple of manels…

…and holding her own on stage

Rosa’s simple gravestone

A selection of monuments

Further reading

Agata recommends Kate Evans’ Red Rosa, Jacqueline Rose’s Women in Dark Times, and the epic biography by J.P. Nettl.

If you want to read her own writing, much of it is available online in the Rosa Luxemburg Library.

The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation has a useful dossier on its name-giver, alongside its wider political work.

And let’s finish off with a trailer for Margaretha von Trotta’s film Rosa Luxemburg.

We couldn’t find one with subtitles, sorry!

Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode next month.


The Dead Ladies Show is a series of entertaining and inspiring talks about women who achieved amazing things against all odds, presented live in Berlin and beyond. This podcast is based on that series. Because women’s history is everyone’s history.

The Dead Ladies Show was founded by Florian Duijsens and Katy Derbyshire.

The podcast is created, produced, edited, and presented by Susan Stone.

Don’t forget, we have a Patreon! Thanks to all of our current supporters! Please consider supporting our transcripts project and our ongoing work: www.patreon.com/deadladiesshowpodcast

If you prefer to make a one-time donation, here’s the link: paypal.me/dlspodcast