January 15, 1919: Communist leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht executed in Berlin, Germany.
“It was a chilly January night in Berlin and a group of soldiers and officers were milling around the back entrance to the Eden Hotel when the first prisoner, Karl Liebknecht, was led out. He was a small moustached man, in his 40s with receding hair that was black, curly and matted with blood. One of the soldiers, Otto Runge, lunged forward swinging his rifle as a club. The butt crashed across the prisoner’s head sending him sprawling.Semi-conscious he was dragged into a car, which then sped off towards Tiergarten Park. Once there, the vehicle came to a halt and the battered man was ordered out. Staggering forward he was oblivious to the pistols raised behind his back. The assassination was over in a matter of seconds.
“Twenty minutes after the first prisoner’s departure, a second detainee, Rosa Luxemburg, stumbled out of the hotel. This diminutive woman was also in her 40s. Again Runge rushed forward using his weapon as a club. This time the victim collapsed – either dead or dying. She was thrown into the back of another waiting car, which drove around 100 yards when a pistol shot was heard from within its interior…”