Marinus van der Lubbe
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Marinus van der Lubbe (January 13, 1909 – January 10, 1934) was a Dutch council communist accused of and executed for setting fire to the German Reichstag building on February 27, 1933, an event known as the Reichstag fire.
Van der Lubbe was born in Oegstgeest in the Netherlands. His parents were divorced and he was forced to live with his half-sister's family after his mother died when he was 12 years old. In his youth, van der Lubbe worked as a bricklayer. He was nicknamed Dempsey after the boxer Jack Dempsey, because of his great strength. At his work van der Lubbe came in contact with the worker's movement; in 1925, he joined the Dutch Communist Party (CPH). In 1926, van der Lubbe was injured at work, getting cement in his eyes, which left him in the hospital for a few months and almost blinded him. The injury forced him to quit his work, so he was unemployed with a pension of only 7.44 hfl a week. Not being able to live off of this, he was forced to take occasional jobs. After a few conficts with his sister, van der Lubbe moved to Leiden in 1927. There he learned to speak some German and founded the Lenin house, where he organized political meetings. He had a history of taking responsibility for things he had not done. While working for the Tielmann factory a strike broke out. Van der Lubbe claimed to the management to be one of the ringleaders and offered to accept any punishment as long as no one else was victimised, even though he was clearly too inexperienced to have been seriously involved. During the trial he seemed to be concerned only with establishing his own sole responsibility and was almost hostile to any attempts to get him off. He soon joined the Dutch Communist Party (CPH) and planned to emigrate to the Soviet Union, but lacked the funds to do so. He was active among the unemployed workers movement until, in 1931, he fell into disagreement with the CPH and instead approached the IKG (Internationalist Communist Group). In order to become active in the local opposition against the Nazis, he went to Germany in 1933.
Arrested, tried and sentenced to death for the Reichstag fire, van der Lubbe was guillotined (the traditional means of execution in Germany at the time) in Leipzig on January 10, 1934, three days before his 25th birthday. He was buried in an unmarked grave on the Südfriedhof (South Cemetery) in Leipzig.