Karl Marx was born on this day in the German town of Trier. His father and mother were Ashkenazi Jews, with the father’s family produced many of the rabbis in Trier. Marx’s grandfather and uncle were rabbis, as was the father of Marx’s mother. The family was wealthy, with many vineyards along the river Moselle.
Karl’s father converted to Christianity before the boy’s birth, just so he could continue to practice law (in those years Jews were forbidden to practice law). There is no evidence that the family embraced Christianity, and no evidence that they remained faithful to Judaism. It seems that Karl Marx was baptized, but declared himself an atheist. It is also interesting that Karl’s uncle (his mother’s brother) was Benjamin Philips, a wealthy banker and industrialist, whose sons founded the electrical company Philips, which is still widely-known today.
Karl Marx married the most desirable young woman in Trier – Baroness Jenny von Westphalen, the daughter of a Prussian aristocrat and a Christian woman, which caused a scandal of sorts. They had eight children, but only three daughters survived childhood. They all had the first name Jenny, and all had relationships with socialists.