The Karl Marx house in Trier, Germany, is a must for any budding Karl Marx history junkie. The building is now a fantastically interesting museum dedicated to his life and writings. It also attempts to paint a picture of his social relevance with a well researched exhibition to the man’s impact and influence on the world.
Humble Beginnings for a One of the Most Influential Figures in Modern History
The Karl Marx house and the museum touches on his humble origins and family life, his numerous career paths and fluctuating fortunes, and finally it details the decades that he spent in exile in London where he eventually died. There is also an attempt to appeal to visitors less interested in the political side of the man’s life and tries to arouse the curiosity of those who know little or nothing about the man and are looking for a nice introduction.
To give a little background, Marx was born in this house in May 1818, this was one month after it had been bought by his father, Heinrich Marx. The idea behind the purchase was to both house his family and provide a business space for his law practice.
The Socialists Wait 24 Years to Buy the Karl Marx House
The original property was built in 1727, and it is believed Marx lived in no. 10. However, this building was rebuilt and extended under a number of later owners of the property. Interestingly the building was not recognized as the birthplace of Karl Marx until 1904. And it was then that the Socialist Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) began trying to buy the property. They eventually succeeded on 26 April 1928, and became official owners of the property.
The Nazis Were Not the Biggest Fans of Karl and went out of their way to Erase his legacy in Germany
Following the purchase the SPD got to work restoring the property. They hired a Jewish architect, Gustav Kasel, to oversee the remodeling and extension. The timing wasn’t great however, and events overtook them with the recently elected Nazi party in Germany bringing the plans to an abrupt halt in May 1933. The property was seized and a number of artifacts, books and relevant paperwork were destroyed. During the following 12 years the house was the residence of the local Nazi district leader.
Very quickly after the defeat of Nazi Germany the SPD began attempts to resume ownership of the property. They succeeded with the help of the international solidarity committee. They then opened the property to the public in 1947. In 1968 the SPD entrusted the house to the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation and in 1983, on the hundredth anniversary of Karl Marx’s death, a radically refurbished house was again revealed to the public.
Anyone one with an interesting in Marx should take some time to visit the location. There are a number of interesting rooms to visit and a lovely garden featuring a few sculpture of the man.