"In our time," Marx once wrote, "change is upon the world and cannot be stopped or channelled as we wish. The thing now is to understand it." Marx devoted his life to understanding that change.
Born in Trier in 1818, he came from a prosperous, middle-class family. Many of his forebears had been rabbis but his father had converted from Judaism to Protestantism in order to pursue his career as a lawyer. After studying at the universities of Bonn and Berlin, Marx entered radical politics in his early twenties and in 1848 wrote The Communist Manifesto, in collaboration with his life-long friend and financial supporter Friedrich Engels.
Revolution broke out throughout Europe in 1848; repression followed in 1849 and Marx was forced to flee Germany. He moved to London, where he spent the rest of his life, working in The British Museum on research for what was to become the three volumes of Das Kapital.
His stay in the house in Dean Street in Soho, now marked by a blue plaque, was a time of great hardship for Marx and his family. He was surviving almost solely on an allowance provided by Engels and on the small sums of money he earned as the foreign correspondent for a newspaper in New York.
Three of his six children died during the time in Soho and, in order to provide one of them with a proper burial, Marx was even obliged to borrow money for a tiny coffin. Only when Marx's wife Jenny inherited £120 from her mother was the family able to move out of Soho and into slightly better accommodation in Kentish Town.
Marx died on March 14th 1883 and is buried in Highgate Cemetery in north London. The blue plaque in Dean Street is above the well-known restaurant Quo Vadis.
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