FES / Karl-Marx-Museum Trier / History
Picture of Karl Marx in 1875

Picture of Karl Marx
in 1875

View to the inner courtyard

View to the inner courtyard

History of the Karl-Marx-Haus

The baroque house in which Karl Marx was born, was built around 1727. It was rented by his father, Heinrich Marx, in April 1818 to accommodate his family and serve as an office for his law practice.

Marx's birthplace, No. 10 in what today is the Brückenstraße, was rebuilt and extended under a series of different owners. It was not recognized for a long time as the birthplace of Karl Marx. In 1904 it was "rediscovered" - by an announcement in the "Trierische Zeitung" of 5 April 1818 in which Heinrich Marx announced his move to what was then Brückergasse No. 664.

Attempts of the SPD to acquire the house dragged out over many years. On 26 April 1928, the Social Democratic newspaper "Volkswacht" proudly announced that the SPD had purchased the property. It was intended that, after completion of the necessary restoration work, the house in the Brückenstraße would be a monument to the life and work of Karl Marx and to the history of the labour movement. The Social Democratic, Jewish architect Gustav Kasel, who would emigrate to Palestine at the time of the Nazi tyranny, created a free reconstruction of the baroque dwelling on the basis of extensive preliminary studies.

This is the form in which the house may be visited today, with its rear and front parts connected by a porchway, and the garden remodelled by Kasel along the French lines.

The seizure of power by the Nazis prevented the museum from opening. In May 1933 the Nazis then seized the house they detested so much. Until the end of the Nazi period, it housed the Nazi Trierer Nationalblatt, and was the residence of the Nazi district leader. Everything which had been collected in the period before 1933 for the planned museum was either destroyed by the Nazis or later scattered to the winds.

Immediately after the German capitulation, Social Democrats in Trier attempted to repossess it. With help from an international solidarity committee it was returned to the SPD, who opened it as a monument to Karl Marx in 1947. In 1968, the SPD entrusted the house to the care of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation. In the same year, on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Karl-Marx's birth, Willy Brandt, the then SPD Party Chairman and Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic, opened an exhibition on his life and work. In 1983, on the hundredth anniversary of Karl Marx's death, the radically refurbished Karl Marx Museum with its extended exhibition space was reopened. The present exhibition, completely new in conception, has been on view since 2005.