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Her 65th Birthday

July 5, 1921 — Third Congress of the Communist International, 17th Session, Moscow, Soviet Union


Comrades, your praises have deprived me of strength. I feel overwhelmed with a sense of depression, as I find that I have not yet accomplished all that which I set out to perform. The life and spirit of the Revolution have given me a great deal, but I am still in debt to the Revolution. Comrades, that which I have done is only a small fraction of all that should have been done. I only obeyed the call of my own conscience, and hence deserve no praise. I could be no other than that which I am. Would you marvel at the stream which flows ever onward? Would you praise the birds for their song?

I served the Revolution because I had to satisfy the call of my soul. I consider it my duty to point out that for all I was able to do, I must thank the German theory and practice; and the history and example of our French and German brothers. For my revolutionary morale, I have to thank my deeply inherent ties with the Russian Revolution as far back as the seventies, and I shall be eternally grateful to the Russian Revolutionary Social-Democrats and the Bolsheviks. I cannot but recall those who were and will always remain a part of my existence —
Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Leibknecht. All that I did, all that I lived for, was a product of the work done in conjunction with Rosa Luxembourg, and I can hardly restrain my emotion when I think that she is no longer with us.

There is only one desire, which comes from the depth of my heart — that is to work and fight, that before I go down to my grave I may yet live to see the revolution in Germany, and if possible in other countries.

The garland to crown my work, my struggle, can only be the proletarian revolution, only the victory of the revolutionary proletariat.



Source: Report of meetings held at Moscow, June 22nd-July 12th, (London: Communist Party of Great Britain) 1921, pp. 132-133.