Why Was the Dead Body of Karl Marx Not Cremated? (26.12.2022) 

Lenin Was Aware that the Grave of Karl Marx in Highate Cemetery (London) Needed a ‘New’ Monument! This Would Not Be Achieved Until 1956 – the Year Khrushchev Betrayed the Soviet Revoluton!

Author’s Note: I was surprised to learn that the remains of Karl Marx have already been ‘dug-up’ once and moved from one area of ‘East’ Highgate Cemetery to another (nearby) during 1954 – in preparation for the raising of the far more substantial 1956 marble monument. In an official move – the Marx Memorial Committee – acting with the permission of Frederick and Robert-Jean Longuet, (the great-grandsons of Karl Marx) – applied to the British Home Office for an exhumation licence. This permission was granted and the bodies of Marx, his wife, (other family members) together with the housekeeper of the Marx family – Helene Demuth – were disinterred and reburied at a new (nearby) site, some 100 yards from the original grave (viewable in the early photographs included below). The reburials took place during the night of 26th-27th November, 1954. It would seem that no ‘evidence’ was gathered for scientific study at that time. It is this ‘new’ (post-1956) site that thousands of people visit every year. ACW (26.12.2022)

It is at this special time of year (the Winter Solstice) that our thoughts are drawn to the Three Wise Men of the East (Lenin, Stalin and Mao) and the subject of how we might relieve the suffering of others less fortunate than ourselves and pave the way to a better world – a ‘Shining Path’ – if you like! Religion is poison, no doubt, and this is said by someone who is an academic expert in it, but the British Trade Unions, striking as they now are (a decade too late), are doing absolutely NOTHING to endear themselves to the huddling masses their scatter-gun industrial action is negatively affecting the most. Indeed, the other ‘private’ alternatives to the Post Office have never seen business so good, so whilst Tiny Tim misses-out on this year’s Xmas present because it languishes somewhere in a Sorting Office in Kent, we can also confirm (with an equal vigour) that ‘Trotskyism’ is also a concoction of the greatest and most damaging poison to the well-being of the workers! 

The Post-1956 Monument Placed Atop the Grave of Karl Marx – Which is Actually a Family Grave for the Marx Family!

Anyway, I digress. Someone was discussing the philanthropic tendencies of the now deceased ‘George Michael’ the other day, by all accounts a fine fellow when it came to him giving away large parts of his ample income, and it transpired that he is buried in Highgate Cemetery in North London! This fact caught my attention as I (and my family) have been to this very interesting place on numerous occasions, usually to attend various commemorations at the graveside of Karl Marx! Much, if not all of these expeditions are recorded online by myself, and I found it curious regarding George Michael – as the photograph of his grave looked to be somewhere near to where Karl Marx is buried, but then nearly every part of the cemetery looks similar to every other in the right light, and this could just be wishful thinking on my part. Whatever the case, this cemetery is like a Victorian ‘Whose Who’ – or an antiquated (analogue) search-engine of sorts! Strange but true! 

There Are a Number of Bodies Buried on This Site. They Require Scientific Clarification and Proper Re-Burial.

The primary point of this missive, however, is to ask this question: 

Why was the body of Karl Marx not Cremated?’ 

The Original Grave of Karl Marx from Russian Archives (1910) – Consisting of a flat ‘Wedge’ Stone Situated Around 100 Yards from Today’s Grave – With Flower Holders Missing From Each of the Two Near Corners!

Lenin was mummified, of course, primarily to prove that he existed as a genuine individual and was not a construct of the human imagination and its tendency toward religiosity. As in law, if a body ‘exists’ – a crime may be ascertained to have occurred (or not occurred) – as the case may be. (This legal concept of ‘habeas corpus’ is rather ‘elastic’ nowadays in the Western world – as many are sentenced to Death in the US or Life Imprisonment in the EU without any ‘body’ being present or found – simply upon the ‘weight’ of supposed evidence, etc). In the 1880s, however, particularly in the UK, all the small graveyards of local Churches were becoming filled with rotting corpses buried many tiers deep in the ground – with the top-most body being merely ‘inches’ from the surface. This threat to Public Health was caused by the greedy Churches which just could not stop charging copious amounts of money to the superstitious masses pertaining to the need to be buried in hallowed ground or face eternal damnation! 

This ‘Undated’ Photograph Shows the Original Grave of Karl Marx with a Corner Flower-Holder and the Original Stone Slab. Was This Slab Incorporated as the Centre-Piece of the ‘New’ 1956 Monument?

The government’s answer to this problem was to bury dead bodies in large, open and well drained fields situated outside of major population centres. Developing science had shown that the putrefaction process from shallow-buried bodies was polluting the water-table and causing all kinds of illnesses amongst the living population. The graveyards of many Churches were closed-down by order of the government – and funerals held in what were often (formerly) farming fields ‘hallowed’ with a blessing by an accompany Priest – although this new arrangement made a clean break with the Church Authorities and allowed people to be buried with no religious accompaniment whatsoever, if that was there wish. This change throughout the UK took hold during the 1880s and given that Karl Marx died in 1883 – this may explain why the choice was taken to bury him within Highgate Cemetery (which was then relatively ‘empty’ compared to contemporary standards).  

This Post-1956 Marble Monument Lies Around 300 Feet (100 Yards) from the Original Location of the Grave of Karl Marx (Who was Buried in the Eastern Side of Highgate Cemetery. I Assume the Grave Was ‘Moved’ Eastward as it is Now Close to an Exit Gate.

I think after this date, the custom of ‘cremation’ also took hold throughout the UK. Although many non-Christian cultures throughout Europe were prone to ‘burn’ their dead in great shows of filial piety and social concern – the invading Christian Church brought the idea that ‘burning’ was tantamount to the ‘fires of hell’ – and that to ‘burn’ a dead body was to condemn that individual to eternal hell and deprive the said individual of his or her body when the Christian God chose to ‘raise’ everyone who had ever lived (and believed in him) from their graves in a mass ‘Resurrection’ exercise. As with all theology, the details do not matter (as they make no sense regardless of how one happens to look at them). Even in the 1880s, it was beginning to be stated that ‘burning’ the dead human body was ‘clean’ for society and is the normal ‘medical’ attitude today. I suspect Marx died when this ‘new’ form of burial came into vogue – but just before ‘Cremation’ became popular and a realistic choice, although I cannot be sure as the historical texts are a little vague and contradictory on the timing of this point. 

As the Marx Family Still Own the Original Burial Plot – This Commemorative Stone Was Left by the Marx Memorial Committee to Remember the Moving of the Remains in 1954.

What we do know is that the mortal remains of Karl Marx are believed to lay in the soil of Highgate Cemetery under a marble monument placed over the grave during 1956 (replacing an older and much smaller gravestone – the current location of which I do not know for sure). Although Karl Marx is often (disparagingly) referred to as a ‘Jew’ – in no way was his burial in Highgate Cemetery in accordance with Jewish tradition (of respectful encasement within a spotless ‘Mausoleum’). At least on that footing we are safe. As there was no ‘Cross’ placed over his grave either – the idea of a ‘Christian’ burial can also be dismissed. We are then left with what looks like an ‘irreligious’ burial very much in accordance with the ‘Atheistic’ or at least ‘non-religious’ ideology of Marx and Engels! As this happened just before the development of ‘Cremation’ as a regular or officially sanctioned activity – the physical remains of Karl Marx still exist. I believe an interesting scientific study could be carried-out if these remains were exhumed and subject to extensive DNA testing. A far more secure and efficient casket could then be designed to hold these remains and they could be more securely interred – protected from the hatred of the Bourgeoisie, their religious lackeys and the political far-right! 

We Live, We Labour and We Die! In This We Are All Equal!