Children of Famous Parents: Father of Communism Karl Marx

About the children of famous father of Modern Communism Karl Marx, biography of the kids.


"The Father of Modern Communism" also fathered 7 children, 4 of whom survived to adulthood. His only son, Frederic Demuth (1851-1929) was illegitimate; "Freddy's" mother, Helen Demuth, was maidservant to Marx's wife. Marx never acknowledged paternity, and it was not until 12 years after his death, when Frederic Engels lay on his death-bed, that it was revealed--by Engels, writing on a blackboard--that "Freddy is Marx's son."

Freddy became a skilled machinist and lived a quiet, decent, not particularly happy life. Physically, he resembled his father. He was a reserved, gentle man, dedicated to socialism but not to revolution.

Jenny (1844-1883), named after her mother, was her father's favorite. She lived with her husband (a Socialist) and children in France, until she died of tuberculosis.

Laura (1846-1911) was quieter, more reliable than her 2 sisters; in this respect, she resembled her mother. She also married a French Socialist and had 3 children, all of whom died in their infancy. In her 65th year, she and her husband agreed they had nothing to live for and committed suicide.

Eleanor (1856-1898), Marx's youngest daughter, was emotionally crippled by the excessive dominance of her father's personality. "It is overmuch," she wrote, "to have Karl as my father. I do not have my own life." She did seem incapable of leading any sort of normal life, having inherited all her father's worst qualities and little of her mother's gentleness. She made political speeches, wrote some political propaganda, acted in amateur theatricals, edited her father's posthumous papers, but she lacked self-discipline, was neurotic, and most of her efforts were abortive.

During her father's lifetime, Eleanor was emotionally chained to him; after his death, she formed a similar relationship with her common-law husband, Edward Aveling. Aveling resembled her father in that he was learned, charming, brutally sarcastic, utterly unscrupulous, hot-tempered, and incapable of making a living. He was a Marxist 2nd, an opportunist and psychotic 1st. Eleanor supported him for 15 years until, at his suggestion, she committed suicide.

The various fates of Karl Marx's progeny were so tragic that in 1898, near the end of her life, Eleanor wrote to her half brother, "I don't think you and I have been particularly bad people--and yet, dear Freddy, it really seems as though we are being punished."

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