Somewhere in the Dutch city Leiden there is a courtyard named after Marinus van der Lubbe. It inspired me to write a poem about this man. He was killed after a Nazi controlled trial for the arson of the parliament building of Germany in Berlin.
Marinus van der Lubbe was arrested on February 27th 1934. After a political based trial he was sentenced to death. On January 10th 1934 Van der Lubbe was beheaded according to the verdict of the court.
Van der Lubbe was born in the Dutch city Den Bosch. When he was twelve years old his mother died. He moved to Oegstgeest where he was in the care of the sister of his mother. He worked as a bricklayer. He couldn’t perform his work any more when he got lime in his eyes. At that time he was involved with the Dutch Communist Party (CPN). He believed that the regime of Adolf Hitler was a tread to the world.
In 1927 he moved to Leiden, after an argument with is aunt. He learned to speak German and was the founder of the Lenin House. This was a place where political events were organised. When a strike broke out at the factory he worked at, he was convicted as one of the ring leaders. His part in this strike isn’t still quite clear. It made him to believe that the Soviet Union was the place to be. He made plans to move there, but he decided eventually not to do this. In 1933 he fled The Netherlands and moved to Berlin. Here he saw the rise of the NSDAP of Hitler and began to think things over.
He wanted to make a statement. According to his believes, it was the burning of the Reichstag (the German parliament building in Berlin) that would result in the outbreak of a revolution against totalitarianism. He started talking about his plans and there might be a chance that he was overheard.
The events that took place on February 27th 1934 would not only lead to his arrest, but also to the Nazis blocking the German communists from the political arena.
According to some the fire was already at blaze when Van der Lubbe entered the Reichstag. Some of the seats in the main assembly hall of the members of the communist and socialist party were deliberately doused with oil, while the seats of the members of the Nazi Party would be left alone.
Since Hermann Göring was the chairman of the parliament, he lived near the Reichstag. An underground corridor would be used from his home by the Nazis to gain access to the Parliament building to perform their plans.
Van der Lubbe was beheaded on January 10th 1934 and was buried at the Südfriedhof in Leipzig. Other accomplices were acquitted.
Near the Nieuwe Rijn (New Rhine, river) there is a small courtyard that is named after Marinus van der Lubbe. It’s called the Van der Lubbehof. The street sign states his name, when he lived and describes him as an activist and victim of the Nazi regime.
One might think that in a city where there are so much statues to be found, that there is also a statue to remember Van der Lubbe. This isn’t so. The Van der Lubbehof is actually the only reminder of Van der Lubbe, who played a dramatic role in the history of Nazi Germany and probably for the rest of Europe.
About the poem
The poem is clear enough. It is about the courtyard and the thoughts about Van der Lubbe.
Marinus van der Lubbe
A man in a black and white photo
overlooking a courtyard if he wants to show
or even warn, about the things he feared so much
Opposing to the common touch
of talking about the dangers that might be
He wanted Berlin to see
There was an ending to this all
when countries would fall
to become the prey of the Führer
But fire could not stop the juror
that was a member of the same side
and so he died
A victim of a totalitarian regime
using his words to forsake their dream
Filled with death and hate
setting democracy on fire
and using him as bait
and waiting for his plan to backfire
Let me ask a question
Isn’t it time to make a statement against oppression?
Build a statue for this hero
More than just a poem and a photo on the wall?
He was more than just the zero,
they accused him of being, he wasn’t small