Jos Diegel: Das Fanal

Matches for the arsonist!
2023, edition of 90 Matchboxes
printed with excerpt from van der Lubbes’ poem “Beauty”.Marius van der Lubbe immortalised the poem “Beauty” in his diary. In his diary, we also read of his concern about the rise of fascism, his parliamentary acquiescence and collaboration with the Nazis, his disappointment with the bourgeois and labour parties and his political betrayal of the workers. No revolutionary has been so consistently dragged through the mud by right and left. With the figure of van der Lubbe, the concept of the rebel has been condemned and made untrustworthy, i.e. the person who commits an act of his own choosing that he believes to be right.
No character assassination is so tenacious: 2023 marked the 90th anniversary of the Reichstag fire and thus also the trial at the Reich Court in Leipzig, which began on 21 September 1933, to clarify the question of whether the Dutchman arrested in the burning Reichstag on 27 February 1933, Marinus van der Lubbe, was, as he himself said, the sole perpetrator. Van der Lubbe was sentenced to death, but remained merely a marginal figure in historiography, although his story is closely interwoven with the history of Nazi Germany and the establishment of the fascist police state.
To this day, there is speculation as to whether – with or without van der Lubbe’s co-operation – other arsonists were at work, possibly from the circle of National Socialists or even from the ranks of the Communists, as the Nazis would have liked to prove. The very day after the fire, fundamental rights, postal and telecommunications secrecy, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of association were suspended. The Lex van der Lubbe retroactively introduced the death penalty for arson.Jos Diegel