The Monument to Karl Marx

Alt-Stralau 18
Since 1964, this site has commemorated the life of Karl Marx (1818–1883). The critic of bourgeois society and prescient leader of the labor movement spent the summer of 1837 relaxing in Stralau as a student, following the advice of his doctors.

Marx lived at the inn of Gottlieb Köhler at Dorfstraße 11 (today Alt-Stralau 25). At Lindenpark guest house, Dorfstraße 4, he collected his mail and met friends to both socialize and discuss philosophy and politics.

Commissioned by the district of Friedrichshain, two red sandstone steles and a commemorative plaque were dedicated in 1964, on the 15th anniversary of the GDR. The  former location of the apartments at Alt-Stralau 17-19, destroyed during the war, was selected as the monument site. In 1961 a small park was created, with a view to the Soviet Memorial in Treptow. The sculptor Hans Kies (1919–1984) made the reliefs. Kies was also the artist behind the Red Sailor statue in Volkspark Friedrichshain’s Friedhof der Märzgefallenen, a cemetery for those who died in the March Revolution. On 1 October 1964, the memorial was dedicated by Mayor of Friedrichshain Hans Höding (1909–1985) and the secretary of the local Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), Horst Klemm, son of a glass-worker.

One stele represents Marx, the young philosopher: his likeness faces the street, while a scene of young men enraptured in discussion in an idyllic beer garden faces the river.

On the other stele, facing the street, is Marx’s famous 11th thesis from his “Theses on Feuerbach”: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” Stralau glass-workers attempted to achieve precisely this with their general strike in 1901: The river side of the stele features a corresponding image – not of an idyllic village scene but of conflict.

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