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Eugen Levine

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Preceded by
Ernst Toller

Eugen Levine

Political leader

Succeeded by
Republic collapsed

Eugen Levine

Rose Levine (m. 1915)

Eugen Levine httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Political party
Communist Party of Germany

July 5, 1919, Stadelheim Prison, Munich, Germany

Communist Party of Germany

Similar People
Kurt Eisner, Gustav Landauer, Ernst Toller, Paul Levi, Erich Muhsam

Eugen Levine (Russian: Evgenii Levine) (born 10 May 1883 – 5 July 1919) was a communist revolutionary and leader of the short-lived Bavarian Council Republic.



Levine was born in St. Petersburg into the Jewish mercant family Julius and Rozalia (nee Goldberg). Julius Levine died when Eugen was 3 years old, and Rozalia emigrated to Germany with her son, settling in Wiesbaden and Mannheim. Eugen went on to study law at the Heidelberg University. He returned to Russia to participate in the failed revolution of 1905 against the Tsar. For his actions, he was exiled to Siberia. He eventually escaped to Germany and began studying at Heidelberg University and, in 1915, married Rosa Broido from the Polish town of Grodek. They had at least one child, a son, whom they named Eugen. For a short time, he served in the Imperial German Army during the First World War.

Bavarian Council Republic

After the war ended, Levine joined the Communist Party of Germany and helped to create a socialist republic in Bavaria. However, the republic lasted only several weeks, replaced quickly by a Soviet-style republic after the assassination of Kurt Eisner, then leader of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD).

The ruling government of the new republic lasted only six days, due to poor leadership under the German playwright Ernst Toller. Levine rose to power as the communists assumed control of the government.

Levine attempted to pass many reforms, such as giving the more luxurious flats to the homeless and giving workers control and ownership of factories. He also planned reforms for the education system and to abolish paper money, neither of which he ever completed.

Under orders from Levine, the Red Guards began rounding up people they considered to be hostile to the new regime as hostages against imminent outside attack. As the German president Friedrich Ebert gave orders to subdue the Council Republic and reinstate the Bavarian government under Johannes Hoffmann, the Red Guards executed eight hostages on 29 April 1919.

The German Army, assisted by Freikorps, with a force of roughly 39,000 men, invaded and quickly conquered Munich on 3 May 1919. In retaliation for the execution of the hostages, the Freikorps captured and killed some 700 men and women. Levine himself was arrested, found guilty as part of those executions, and was shot by firing squad in Stadelheim Prison. The political activities of German Jews such Kurt Eisner and the role of Levine and many other prominent Jews such as Rosa Luxemburg in the establishment of the Bavarian Council Republic played prominently in the rise of Adolf Hitler and the other Nazis in Munich. [1]


The American Soviet agent Whittaker Chambers cited Levine as one of three men who inspired him. (The others were Felix Dzerzhinsky, head of the Soviet Cheka, and Sazonov, a member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party's Terrorist Brigade.) Chambers wrote,

During the Bavarian Council Republic in 1919, Levine was the organiser of the Workers' and Soldiers' Soviets. When the Bavarian Council Republic was crushed, Levine was captured and court-martialed. The court-martial told him: "You are under sentence of death." Levine answered: "We Communists are always under sentence of death."


Eugen Levine Wikipedia