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Where Karl Marx sleeps

Karl Marx died on 14 March 1883 in London. He was 65 years old and spent 34 years in Britain on exile. He was buried in High Gate Cemetery three days later. Only a dozen people attended the funeral there. They were all his close friends or members of family. His wife, Jenny, had already passed away two years ago.

Marx in London” is a book that traces the life of Karl Marx and does a fine job in illustrating him as a human-being, in my view. For example, I like the episode about he and his German exile friends getting thrown out of a pub on Tottenham Court Road over a row. It did not lower their spirit; instead they smashed a few street lamps and ran away before getting caught by a policeman!

The same book confirms the fact that his original grave at High Gate is not where that headstone sits. But not many people know that today. Marx wanted a simple grave; his closest ally, Friedrich Engels had his ashes scattered off Beachy Head, near Eastbourne at his request. Their criticism on fetishism was not confined in theory, I suppose.

The next time you visit the High Gate Cemetery, try and visit the original grave. Here is a simple guide: Once you reach that massive tomb (photo left), keep on walking the footpath along the gentle slope until you find these stones (photo middle) on your right-hand side. Enter the narrow path and you will find the tablet (photo right) on your right-hand side where the original grave was.

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