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Karl Marx burial vandalized with anti-communist graffiti

by Courtney Deeren Copy Editor
Wed, Feb 27th 2019 01:00 pm
burial defaced In London, England the burial of famous German philosopher, Karl Marx, was defaced with anti-communist graffiti. The burial had the words `Doctrine of hate` (above) graffitied on the side. On the back of the burial featured the words `Architecture of genocide, terror + oppression.` The owners of the cemetery are afraid that the tombstone will never be the same again.
burial defaced In London, England the burial of famous German philosopher, Karl Marx, was defaced with anti-communist graffiti. The burial had the words "Doctrine of hate" (above) graffitied on the side. On the back of the burial featured the words "Architecture of genocide, terror + oppression." The owners of the cemetery are afraid that the tombstone will never be the same again.

Karl Marx’s grave in London has been vandalized for the second time in two weeks. The first occurrence was in early February, when the gravestone was hit with a blunt metal object causing serious damage to the engraving, according to The Washington Post. The caretakers of the cemetery at Highgate are unsure of when the attack occurred. Police were notified but have no leads on suspects.

The only assumptions of a motive are that the suspect had either an extreme hatred of communism or Marx’s writings about capitalism and class struggle. They also suspect whoever is responsible was left handed due to the angle of the marks.

Ian Dungavell, chief executive of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust called the vandalism “disturbing.” Dungavell said the alarm is because of “the very targeted nature of the act and the brutality of it. It was done with great violence. Someone hitting the stone again and again and again. On the name Marx. Who is doing that?”

Marx is the most famous of all the “residents” of the cemetery at Highgate. In 1883, Marx was buried beside his wife in a small plot but during the Cold War the Communist Party of Great Britain moved him “up the hill” and constructed a plinth with the words “Workers of All Lands — Unite” engraved and topped with a bronze bust of Marx.

There have been several other instances of vandalism on Marx’s grave, generally only graffiti though. The most severe instance was in the ‘70s when one person wanted to blow up the plinth.

He sawed off Marx’s nose in order to put a detonator inside the bronze cast but he gave up and put the explosives at the foot of the statue instead.

Shortly after this occurrence another vandal added to the destruction of the grave. “Doctrine of hate” and “architect of genocide” were scrawled across the marker in red paint, according to The Guardian.

The Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust fear the grave will never be the same again after these attacks so close together. Dungavell believes this was targeted specifically at Marx and would not consider it a random attack.

Maxwell Blowfield, who works for British Museum, was visiting the grave with his mother and said he was shocked by what had happened.

  “It’s a highlight of the cemetery. The red paint will disappear, I assume, but to see that kind of level of damage and to see it happen twice, it’s not good. I wouldn’t like to say who or why someone did it but it was clearly someone very critical of Marx and that part of history. I am just surprised that somebody in 2019 feels they need to and do something like that.”

According to Independent, the cemetery’s twitter made a post condemning the vandalism. “Whatever you think about Marx’s legacy, this is not the way to make the point.”

Metropolitan police are urging anyone who may have information regarding who is responsible for the vandalism to come forward.  “Initial enquiries have been completed and at this stage the investigation has been closed. If any further information comes to light, this will be investigated accordingly,” a policeman said.

The cemetery will be making repairs, but the cost has not yet been estimated. Dungavell said “I’m hoping we will be able to get a specialist stone conservator to consolidate the white marble and then if we can get the lead lettering back it might be that you don’t notice it.”

It is a shame that in 2019 we haven’t learned to respect history. No grave should ever be defaced or vandalized, despite whether or not someone agrees with that person’s beliefs. To think that someone had such strong opinions they felt the need to take it out on a grave marker points to very deep hatred.

Hopefully the culprits will be caught and the grave can be restored to some semblance of its former glory.

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