Hundreds of DNA leads to Rosa Luxemburg's identity reported

DDP/The Local
DDP/The Local - [email protected] • 4 Jun, 2009 Updated Thu 4 Jun 2009 08:05 CEST
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Head of forensic medicine at Berlin’s Charité hospital Michael Tsokos said Thursday he has gotten hundreds of leads on DNA samples which he hopes will help confirm the identity of 90-year-old corpse he believes is murdered communist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg.

On May 29, Tsokos sparked a national frenzy when he told news magazine Der Spiegel that a decapitated body without hands and feet – in possession of the hospital for almost nine decades – is likely the remains of the iconic left-wing leader.

Since last week, Tsokos told news broadcaster ZDF that he’d had “several hundred” leads to possible DNA material belonging to Luxemburg, who was murdered in 1919 by right-wing forces.

“Right now we are following every lead,” he said, adding that he is in touch with possible relatives of Luxemburg’s in Poland, France and the Netherlands and awaiting their blood samples.

Tsokos is convinced that the wrong woman was buried in place of Luxemburg. The mysterious body found at Charité shows what he called “astounding similarities with the real Rosa Luxemburg,” citing matching physical ailments and inconsistencies with her autopsy report.

Born on March 5, 1871, Rosa Luxemburg was a Polish Jew. She was also a co-founder of the Social Democratic Party in Poland and Lithuania. Along with Karl Liebknecht, Luxemburg was instrumental in founding Germany’s communist party in 1918.

As left-wing activists moved towards revolution in early 1919, Luxemburg and Liebknecht were both murdered by soldiers from the right-wing Freikorps on January 15 of that same year. Luxemburg’s body was not found until four months later on May 31 in the Landwehrkanal, a canal parallel to Berlin’s Spree River.

According to Tsokos, rumours that the hospital was in possession of Luxemburg’s body have been circulating for years, and he himself has been searching for her DNA for two years – even testing stamps from her letters in search of saliva traces, DDP reported.

But Luxemburg apparently used water to place her stamps, forcing Tsokos to continue his search for DNA on her personal effects.



DDP/The Local 2009/06/04 08:05

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