‘Leon Tychko (Jochies)’ by Grigory Zinoviev from Communist International. No. 5. September, 1919.

‘Leon Tychko (Jochies)’ by Grigory Zinoviev from Communist International. No. 5. September, 1919.

I made the acquaintance of Comrade Tychko in London twelve years ago, at the congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, held in May, 1907.

He had just escaped from prison. At Warsaw in 1906, he was condemned by the Tsarist judges to eight years’ penal servitude for his activities as leader of the strikes and the proletarian insurrection in Poland during 1905 and 1906. At the penal settlement, Tychko’s propaganda influenced the soldiers of the guard, who helped him to escape, one of them accompanying him. Making his way promptly from the penal settlement to the London congress, he was leader there of the Polish delegation and a member of the presidential board of this congress of all the Russias.

Tychko already had to his credit sixteen years of revolutionary work. In conjunction with our ever-memorable Rosa Luxemburg and the two Karskis (Marshlevski and Adolf Varcharshi) Comrade Tychko was the founder of the revolutionary Polish Social Democratic Party. He was one of the authors of the party programme, a permanent member of its central committee, and editor in perpetuity of its scientific and political press. In a word, he was the soul of the party.

But he was not merely a Polish revolutionist, Tyrhko was an internationalist Socialist in the fullest sense of the term. He worked with equal energy and equal ability on behalf of the proletarians of Poland, of Russia. and of Germany.

In 1910, for example, silting in Berlin be devoted himself exclusively to the German Movement. At this juncture the split was beginning between the ‘Centre’ led by Kautsky, and the “Radical Left’ headed by Rosa Luxemburg, and sharing her political outlook, Tychko was one of the chief organizers of his Radical Left which centralised the forces of the future Spartacists.

Then the war came. Then official Social Democracy betrayed the workers. Rosa Luxemburg and the other members of the Radical Left were for the most part imprisoned. All who took their stand against the war were visited with fire and sword. This was the moment chosen by Comrade Tychko for an outburst of intense activity.

The darker the night, the brighter the stars. Tychko was one of those whose devotion becomes all the more ardent as difficulties increase, The greater the obstacles, the more resolute his attack.

His very appearance suggested that he was a man of iron.  Steadfastness, determination, a will of steel—such were his dominant characteristics. When the defense of the workers’ interests was at stake, he did not know the meaning of the word impossible. Tychko organised the first secret groups of German Spartacists. Extremely useful to him in Germany was his extensive experience as revolutionary conspirator in Russia and Poland. Step by step, he built up the Communist Party of Germany, of which he was leading artificer. A born organizer, he became the chief organizer of the splendid Communist Party of Germany. For this patty he was an even greater organizing force than the late Sverdlov was for the Russian Bolsheviks.

Rosa Luxemburg was the luminous eminence of the Communist Party of Germany; Karl Liebknecht its heart of flame; Leon Tychko was its iron hand.

Remarkable was the affection with which his fellow Communists in Germany were wont speak of him. Rosa Luxemburg has been murdered, Mehring is dead, Karl murdered, but we will have Leon. A wonderful organizer, a man with no nerves, one whose strong and trusty head never shakes, he has become our main prop, um he will help the party through this terrible hour.

Indeed, Tychko had but one thought. He was ardently, passionately devoted to the international the Communist Party.

Shortly after the death of Rosa Luxemburg, a letter from Tychko reached me in Moscow. It was a tiny scrap of paper, sent with infinite precautions. He wrote as usual in a virile, strong, firm, and legible handwriting, though he was writing on the morrow of the death of Rosa Luxemburg mad Kart Liebknecht.

The message began: Yesterday Rosa and Karl did their last service to our cause. Not another syllable on this topic.

In the next line, Tychko, ever chary of words, was dealing with ‘‘matters of business,” news of the movement, necessary messages, and so on.

Tychko was the embodiment of the practical spirit of the proletariat. Had he lived, he would have become one of the great organizers of the new Communist society.

Scheidemann and his crew were well aware of Tychko’s importance. Their spies were hot on his heels. Nevertheless, for several months those who were wreaking vengeance upon the German workers were unable to seize him. But at the end of March 1919, after a renewed and unsuccessful effort to bring about a proletarian insurrection, he was arrested in Berlin. The janissaries of Scheidmann took him straight to prison, and, as a matter of course, acting on the orders of the “Social Democratic’’ Government, promptly shot him between the stone walls of a dark and narrow passage.

We do not know how he faced death. But none among his personal friends can doubt for a moment that his courage never failed. Assuredly, when Scheidemann’s heroes were about to draw the trigger, Tychko will have uttered some phrase so full of disdain, and will have turned upon them so smashing a look, that to the last moment of their miserable lives even these hardened assassins when these memories revive, will not fail to shudder.

Such was Leon Tychko, Spartacist leader a man of iron, the master builder of the Communist Party.

The ECCI published the magazine ‘Communist International’ edited by Zinoviev and Karl Radek from 1919 until 1926 irregularly in German, French, Russian, and English. Unlike, Inprecorr, CI contained long-form articles by the leading figures of the International as well as proceedings, statements, and notices of the Comintern. No complete run of Communist International is available in English. Both were largely published outside of Soviet territory, with Communist International printed in London, to facilitate distribution and both were major contributors to the Communist press in the U.S. Communist International and Inprecorr are an invaluable English-language source on the history of the Communist International and its sections.

PDF of full issue: https://archive.org/download/communist-international-no.-1-17-1919-may-1921/Communist%20international%20no%2001-6%201919.pdf

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