The Murder of Kurt Eisner, 21 February 1919

On the morning of 21 February 1919, Prime Minister Kurt Eisner (1867-1919), went together with his secretaries and his armed bodyguard from his office in the Palais Montgelas to the Bavarian Parliament in Prannerstraße, where the newly-elected Parliament was to be constituted at about 10 am. The Bavarian Parliament was convened in Munich. In his briefcase was Eisner’s resignation address. After the lost state elections in January and under pressure from the Mehrheitssozialdemokraten cabinet colleagues, he intended to announce his resignation to the State Parliament.

Shortly after leaving the palace, Eisner was shot and killed by Anton Graf Arco-Valley (1895-1945), an officer close to conservative right-wing circles. Eisner died on the spot. The assassin survived severely wounded and would later beconvicted, as the leaflet shown here demanded. The assaults in turn triggered attacks in the session of the Landtag, since the Revolutionary Workers' Council Alois Linder (1887-post 1943) believed that Home Secretary Erhard Auer (1874-1945) was behind the attack on Eisner. The parliamentarians then left the State Parliament and the government was no longer able to operate. A power vacuum existed in the city, which the Landessoldatenrat (State Soldiers’ Council), the Ministry of Military Affairs and the Munich City Commandant's office tried to handle with a curfew.

The crime scene in the Promenadestraße (today Kardinal-Faulhaber-Straße) quickly became a meeting point for the population, who felt great sypathy. The painting "After the Murder of Kurt Eisner" by Emanuel Bachrach-Barée (1863-1943), now largely forgotten, illustrates the situation very impressively. You can see people from Munich looking at the crime scene. In the background are funerary wreaths on a house wall that belongs to the building of the Bavarian Foreign Office. Next to the citizens, several soldiers guard the crime scene.

To the digitised copy of the leaflet

To the digitised copy of the painting by Emanuel Bachrach-Barée