Marinus van der Lubbe was born in Leiden, Holland on 13 January 1909. His father left home soon after he was born and he was brought up in extreme poverty.
Lubbe worked as a bricklayer but after an industrial accident in 1925 he spent five months in hospital. He never fully recovered from his injuries and was now unable to work and had to live on a small invalidity pension.
In 1926 Lubbe joined the Dutch Communist Party (KPH) and worked hard trying to recruit young unemployed workers into the party. He also organized demonstrations and spoke at protest meetings.
Lubbe decides he wants to live in the Soviet Union but is unable to raise enough money for his fare. However, in 1933 he moves to Germany where he immediately begins protesting against the new government headed by Adolf Hitler.
On 27th February the Reichstag caught fire. When they police arrived they found van de Lubbe on the premises. After being tortured by the Gestapo he confessed to starting the Reichstag Fire. However he denies that he was part of a Communist conspiracy. Hermann Goering refuses to believe him and he orders the arrest of several leaders of the German Communist Party KPD.
As well as Lubbe the German police charged four communists with setting fire to the Reichstag.
This included Ernst Torgler, the chairman of the KPD and Georgi Dimitrov of the Soviet Comintern.
Marinus van der Lubbe was found guilty of the Reichstag Fire and was executed on 10th January, 1934, age 24. Adolf Hitler was furious he rest of the defendants were acquitted and he decided that in future all treason cases were taken from the Supreme Court and given to a new People’s Court where prisoners were judged by members of the Nationalist Socialist German Workers Party the NSDAP.