Proclamation of the Communist Soviet Republic, 13 April 1919

During the fighting on 13 April, workers’ and soldiers' councils met in Munich's Hofbräuhaus. Although the German Republican Protection Force had convened this meeting, it could not assert itself. The communists now took power and proclaimed a second, in their view "real" Soviet Republic after the first "bogus Soviet Republic" they had rejected.

In a statement of 13/14 April addressed to the workers and soldiers "of Munich and all of Bavaria", the newly appointed five-member "Workers’ and Soldiers' Council" first announced the victory over the Protection Force. It then harshly criticised the first Soviet Republic: its representatives had been unable to govern, they had made empty promises and "partied and gossiped". But now the time had arrived to overcome capitalism through the dictatorship of the proletariat. The existing council representatives were to be replaced, a Red Army set up, food confiscated and distributed fairly.

The Communist Council government was led by two KPD activists, the Russian-born Eugen Leviné (1883-1919) and Max Levien (1885-1937). Both politicians had already been subjected to racist attacks during the Soviet Republic. In fact, only Leviné was of Jewish descent. In 1918, he had co-founded the left-wing Spartacus Association in Berlin, from which the KPD emerged in 1919. The KPD sent him to Munich in March 1919. On 13 April, he took over the chairmanship of the Executive Board, the five members of which were also members of a 15-member "Action Committee". He thus served as a quasi "head of government" of the Soviet Republic. After its suppression he was sentenced to death and executed in June 1919.

Max Levien already lived in Munich before WWI. As chairman of the Munich Soldiers' Council, he had operated against a stabilisation of the political situation under the Eisner government and for the implementatio of a council system since November 1918. At the beginning of 1919 he was elected chairman of the Bavarian KPD. He was also a member of the council during the Second Soviet Republic. Unlike Leviné, Levien managed to escape shortly after his appointment in May 1919. In 1921, he returned to Moscow and embarked on a career as a functionary and university professor. In 1937, he was murdered as part of Stalin's persecution campaigns (the so-called "Great Purge").

Both photos were taken in 1919 by the police identification service after Leviné’s and Levien's arrests. In the 1920s, the pictures were printed several times in the Illustrierter Beobachter, a National Socialist weekly, with anti-Semitic captions. Leviné's portrait had already been published by Heinrich Hoffmann (1885-1957) in his Photo Report on the revolutionary events of 1919.