MARINUS (RINUS) VAN DER LUBBE (13 January 1909 – 10 January 1934)
was a Dutch council communist tried, convicted and executed for
setting fire to the German
Reichstag building on 27 February 1933, an
event known as the
Reichstag fire .
* 1 Biography
* 3 Responsibility for the Reichstag Fire 1933
* 4 In popular culture
* 5 Notes
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Marinus van der Lubbe
Marinus van der Lubbe was born in
Leiden in the province of South
Holland . He was born with learning difficulties. His parents were
divorced and, after his mother died when he was 12, he went to live
with his half-sister's family. In his youth, van der Lubbe worked as a
bricklayer. He was nicknamed Dempsey after boxer
Jack Dempsey ,
because of his great strength. At his work, Van der Lubbe came in
contact with the labour movement ; in 1925, he joined the Dutch
Communist Party (CPN) , and its youth section the Communist Youth Bund
In 1926, he was injured at work, getting lime in his eyes, which left
him in hospital for a few months and almost blinded him. The injury
forced him to quit his work, so he was unemployed with a pension of
only 7.44 guilders a week. Not being able to live off this, he was
forced to take occasional jobs. After a few conflicts with his sister,
Van der Lubbe moved to
Leiden in 1927. There he learned to speak some
German and founded the Lenin House, where he organized political
meetings. While working for the Tielmann factory a strike broke out.
Van der Lubbe claimed to the management to be one of the ringleaders
and offered to accept any punishment as long as no one else was
victimised, even though he was clearly too inexperienced to have been
seriously involved. During the trial, he tried to claim sole
responsibility and was purportedly hostile to the idea of getting off
Afterwards, Van der Lubbe planned to emigrate to the
Soviet Union ,
but he lacked the funds to do so. He was politically active among the
unemployed workers' movement until 1931, when he fell into
disagreement with the CPN and instead approached the Group of
International Communists. In 1933, Van der Lubbe fled to
take action in the local communist underground. He had a criminal
record for arson.
Reichstag fire The
Reichstag building on fire .
Van der Lubbe said that he set the
Reichstag building on fire as a
cry to rally the German workers against fascist rule. He was brought
to trial along with the head of the German Communist Party and three
Bulgarian members of the
Comintern . At his trial, Van der Lubbe was
convicted and sentenced to death for the Reichstag fire. The other
four defendants (
Ernst Torgler ,
Georgi Dimitrov ,
Blagoi Popov , and
Vasil Tanev ) at the trial were acquitted. He was guillotined in a
Leipzig prison yard on 10 January 1934, three days before his 25th
birthday. He was buried in an unmarked grave on the Südfriedhof
(South Cemetery) in Leipzig.
World War II
World War II , moves were made by Marinus van der Lubbe's
brother, Jan van der Lubbe, in an attempt to overturn the verdict
against his brother. In 1967, his sentence was changed by a judge from
death to eight years in prison. In 1980, after more lengthy
complaints, a West German court overturned the verdict entirely but
this was protested by the state prosecutor . The case was re-examined
by the Federal Court of Justice of
Germany for three years until, in
1983, the court made a final decision on the matter, overturning the
result of the earlier 1980 trial on grounds that there was no basis
for it, making it therefore illegal. However, on December 6, 2007, the
Attorney General of
Monika Harms nullified the entire verdict
and posthumously pardoned Van der Lubbe based on a 1998 German law
that makes it possible to overturn certain cases of Nazi injustice.
The determination of the court was based on the premise that the
National Socialist regime was by definition unjust; and, since the
death sentence in this case was politically motivated, it was likely
to have contained an extension of that injustice. The finding was
independent of the factual question of whether or not it was Van der
Lubbe who actually set the fire.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE REICHSTAG FIRE 1933
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The window through which Van der Lubbe allegedly entered the
building. Main article:
Historians disagree as to whether Van der Lubbe acted alone, as he
said, to protest the condition of the German working class. The Nazis
blamed a communist conspiracy. The responsibility for the Reichstag
fire remains an ongoing topic of debate and research. According to
Ian Kershaw , writing in 1998, the consensus of nearly all historians
is that Van der Lubbe did, in fact, set the Reichstag fire. William
Shirer writing in "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" surmises that
Van der Lubbe was goaded into setting a fire at the Reichstag, but the
Nazis set their own, more elaborate fire at the same time. The case is
still actively discussed.
In July 1933, Marinus van der Lubbe,
Ernst Torgler , Georgi Dimitrov
Blagoi Popov , and
Vasil Tanev were indicted on charges of setting
the Reichstag on fire. From September 21 to December 23, 1933, the
Leipzig Trial took place and was presided over by judges from the old
German Imperial High Court, the
Reichsgericht , Germany's highest
court. The presiding judge was Judge Dr. Wilhelm Bürger of the Fourth
Criminal Court of the Fourth Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court. The
accused were charged with arson and with attempting to overthrow the
government. At the end of the trial, however, only Van der Lubbe was
convicted, while his fellow defendants were found not guilty.
Memorial at the Südfriedhof in Leipzig.
The trial was brought again to German courts in 1965, where the court
Marinus van der Lubbe
Marinus van der Lubbe not guilty of both high treason and
"seditious arson" (being a Nazi innovation), but did convict him of
arson, formally annulling the death penalty and imposing an eight
years' hard prison sentence instead. According to the Nazi Unjust
Sentences Revocation Law (1998), his sentence is revoked as unjust in
all, irrespective of whether he actually set the fire.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Einstürzende Neubauten song "Feurio!" contains a reference to
Van der Lubbe: "Marinus du warst es nicht" (Marinus, it wasn't you).
* Dutch folk-rock band Janse Bagge Bend (nl) refers to Van der
Lubbe in their song "Kommer en Kwel".
The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers story has one of the
characters (Freewheelin' Franklin) referring to a fictitious "Marinus
van der Lubbe International Firebombing Society".
W. H. Auden
W. H. Auden refers to Van der Lubbe in his poem beginning "Easily,
my dear, you move, easily your head", dated November 1934.
* ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 13, 2014.
Retrieved April 11, 2014.
* ^ Announcement of the Attorney General of
Germany (in German)
* ^ "
Marinus van der Lubbe
Marinus van der Lubbe gerehabiliteerd (Dutch)". Retrieved
* ^ Kate Connolly (January 12, 2008). "75 years on, executed
Reichstag arsonist finally wins pardon". The Guardian.
* ^ "The Reichstag Fire". Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
* ^ DW Staff (27 February 2008). "75 Years Ago, Reichstag Fire Sped
Hitler\'s Power Grab". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
* ^ Kershaw, Ian Hitler Hubris pages 456–458
* WorldCat Identities
* VIAF : 2480512
* LCCN : n81052478
* ISNI : 0000 0001 2117 8797
* GND : 118574663
* SUDOC : 073315966
* BNF : cb12004926k (data)
* BPN : 13345614