On 15 January 1919, paramilitaries burst into an apartment in western Berlin and seized the communist revolutionaries Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

Although neither had an arrest warrant against them, the pair were arrested by members of the Freikorps — a private army led by extreme right-wing proto-fascist officers in charge of ex-soldiers who had defied the Treaty of Versailles and held on to their weapons after the war. Whilst the Freikorps ostensibly existed to defend the Weimar Republic from communist revolutionaries, they also detested the Republic - viewing it as the legacy of Germany's shame in losing the war and the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles.
The Freikorps blamed Social Democrats and Jews for Germany’s plight and called for the elimination of what they saw as traitors to the Fatherland.

They took Liebknecht to the Tiergarten park in the west of the city, where shot in the head and killed.

Luxemburg, meanwhile, was held and tortured in the Eden Berlin Hotel which was being used as army headquarters.

She was led out of the building, two blows from a rifle butt smashed her skull.

Her near lifeless body was flung into a car where she was struck again and a bullet to the finished the job.

Her beaten and bloody body was dumped in the Landwehr Canal in Kreuzberg, and would not be found until months later.

When he heard of her death, Lenin, with whom Luxemburg had many discussions, arguments and disagreements, said: “Rosa Luxemburg was and remains for us an eagle and not only will communists all over the world cherish her memory, but her biography and her complete works will serve as useful manuals for training many generations of communists all over the world.”