By Gabriel Kuhn
In November 1918, the German philosopher and anarchist Gustav Landauer moved to Munich in order to support the strong revolutionary currents sweeping through Bavaria in the wake of the German Kaiserreich’s collapse. Landauer was a driving force behind the proclamation of the Bavarian Council Republic on April 7, 1919. When the council republic was crushed by military force upon orders of the central government in Berlin, Landauer was arrested and, on May 2, brutally murdered by reactionary Free Corps soldiers. His body was dumped in a mass grave. It was released to his family and cremated only after tireless efforts by Landauer’s daughter Charlotte.
In 1923, the urn with Landauer’s remains was buried at Munich’s Waldfriedhof, where a tombstone was erected. Two years later, Munich anarchosyndicalists affiliated with the Freie Arbeiter-Union Deutschlands (FAUD) added an obelisk several meters high (find an image here) and bearing the following inscription: “Further sacrifices are required. However, they will be sacrifices of a different kind: not heroic, but quiet and unimposing; examples of righteousness in everyday life.” The monument was destroyed by the Nazis in 1933, only weeks after they had come to power.
Now, more than 80 years later, the Munich City Council has decided to restore the memorial site. The council reacted to a campaign instigated by the musician Peter Kühn, a board member of the Martin Buber Society, and the historian Siegbert Wolf, Germany’s most renowned Landauer scholar and coauthor of the introduction to the PM Press volume Revolution and Other Writings, an extensive English-language edition of Landauer’s work. A letter presented to the Munich City Council, signed by dozens of supporters, can be viewed on the website of Edition AV, the publisher of a multi-volume series of writings by Landauer under Wolf’s editorship (all in German).