Laura Marx

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Laura Marx
Marx in 1860
Born(1845-09-26)26 September 1845
Brussels, Belgium
Died25 November 1911(1911-11-25) (aged 66)
Paris, France
Cause of deathSuicide
Resting placePère Lachaise Cemetery
(m. 1868)
Children3; all died in infancy
RelativesEleanor Marx (sister)
Henry Juta (cousin)
Louise Juta (aunt)
Heinrich Marx (grandfather)
Henriette Pressburg (grandmother)
Anton Philips (second cousin)
Gerard Philips (second cousin)

Jenny Laura Marx (26 September 1845 – 25 November 1911) was a socialist activist. The second daughter of Karl Marx and Jenny von Westphalen, she married revolutionary writer Paul Lafargue in 1868. The two committed suicide together in 1911.[1]


Laura Marx was born in Brussels and moved with her parents to France, then Prussia, before the family settled in London in June 1849. Paul Lafargue, born in Santiago De Cuba, was a young French socialist who came to London in 1866 to work for the First International. There he became a friend of Karl Marx and got to know Marx's family, especially Laura, who fell in love with him.

Lafargue and Laura married at St Pancras registry office in April 1868. During their first three-years of marriage they had three children, two boys and a girl, all of whom died in infancy. They had no other children.[2] They spent several decades in political work together, translating Karl Marx's work into French, and spreading Marxism both in France and Spain. During most of their lives, they were financially supported by Friedrich Engels. They also inherited much of Engels' estate when he died in 1895.

On 25 November 1911, the couple ended their lives through suicide, having decided they had nothing left to give to the movement to which they had devoted their lives. Laura was 66 and Paul was 69. In their suicide letter, they explained why they committed suicide. Lafargue wrote:[3]

Healthy in body and mind, I end my life before pitiless old age which has taken from me my pleasures and joys one after another; and which has been stripping me of my physical and mental powers, can paralyse my energy and break my will, making me a burden to myself and to others.

For some years I had promised myself not to live beyond 70; and I fixed the exact year for my departure from life. I prepared the method for the execution of our resolution, it was a hypodermic of cyanide acid.

I die with the supreme joy of knowing that at some future time, the cause to which I have been devoted for forty-five years will triumph.

Long live Communism! Long Live the international socialism!

Vladimir Lenin, who had lived in Paris and other countries since his 1907 exile,[4] was one of the speakers at the funeral as representative of RSDLP.[5] He later told his wife Nadezhda Krupskaya, "If one cannot work for the Party any longer, one must be able to look truth in the face and die like the Lafargues."[6]



  • Laura Lafargue / Eleanor Marx – Aveling: Briefe und Schriften von Karl Marx ... Oktober 1895. In: Die Neue Zeit, 1895, p. 121
  • Karl Marx / Friedrich Engels:Manifeste du parti communiste. (Traduction de Laura Lafargue). V. Giard et E. Brière, Paris 1897
  • Karl Marx (das ist Friedrich Engels):Révolution et contre-révolution en Allemagne. Trad. par Laura Lafargue. V. Giard et E. Brière, Paris 1900 (Bibliothèque socialiste internationale 6)
  • Friedrich Engels:Religion, philosophie, socialisme. Trad. par Paul & Laura Lafargue. Jacques, Paris 1901 (Bibliothèque d'études socialistes 8)
  • Karl Marx:Contribution à la critique de l'économie politique. Traduit sur la 2e édition allemande de Karl Kautsky par Laura Lafargue. V. Giard et E. Brière, Paris 1909 (Bibliothèque socialiste internationale 11)


  1. ^ Wheen 1999, p. 286.
  2. ^ Wheen 1999, pp. 291–292.
  3. ^ Mayeras, B. (27 November 1911). "L'Humanité : Journal socialiste quotidien". L'Humanité (2780): 1. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  4. ^ Bowman, John Stewart (1992). Chronicle of 20th century history (Revised ed.). London: Bison Books. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-86124-574-1.
  5. ^ "Speech Delivered in the Name of the R.S.D.L.P. at The Funeral of Paul and Laura Lafargue November 20 (December 3), 1911". Lenin. in: Lenin, Vladimir (1974). Collected Works (Volume: 17), December 1910-April 1912 (1st ed.). Moscow: Progress Publishers. pp. 304–305.; also for transcribed edition: Marxists
  6. ^ Krupskaya, Nadezhda K. (1930). Memories Of Lenin (1st ed.). India Publishers. p. 55. Retrieved 26 May 2020.


  • Franz Mehring: Paul und Laura Lafargue. In: Die Neue Zeit, Stuttgart, 30. jg. 1911–1912, 1st Vol., p. 337-343
  • Friedrich Engels Paul et Laura Lafargue. Correspondance. Textes recueillis, annotés et présentés par Émile Bottigelli. Traductions de l'anglais par Paul Meier. Tome I.Édition Sociales, Paris 1956
  • Friedrich Engels Paul et Laura Lafargue. Correspondance. Textes recueillis, annotés et présentés par Émile Bottigelli. Traductions de l'anglais par Paul Meier. Tome II., Édition Sociales, Paris 1956
  • Friedrich Engels Paul et Laura Lafargue. Correspondance. Textes recueillis, annotés et présentés par Émile Bottigelli. Traductions de l'anglais par Paul Meier. Tome III., Édition Sociales, Paris 1959
  • Olga Meier (Hrsg.): Die Töchter von Karl Marx. Unveröffentlichte Briefe. aus dem Französischen und dem Englischen von Karin Kersten und Jutta Prasse. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Köln 1981 ISBN 3-462-01432-3
  • Irina Bach / Olga Senekina: "Briefe von Mitgliedern der Familie Marx an Friedrich Engels". In: Marx-Engels-Jahrbuch 6. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1983, p. 311-366
  • Olga Worobjowa / Irma Senelnikowa: Die Töchter von Marx 4. ed. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1984
  • Rosie Rudich: "Neue Briefe von Karl Marx und Laura Lafargue". In: Marx-Engels-Jahrbuch 8. Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1985, p. 283-314
  • Inge Werchan: "Engels begutachtete Laura Lafargues überarbeitete französische Übersetzung des "Kommunistischen Manifests" aus dem Jahre 1894". In: Beiträge zur Marx-Erngels-Forschung 24, Berlin 1988, p. 112-116
  • Katharina Raabe (Hrsg): Deutsche Schwestern. Vierzehn Porträts. Rowohlt Berlin, Berlin 1997
  • Familie Marx privat. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2005 ISBN 3-05-004118-8
  • Renate Merkel-Melis: "'… that most untranslateable of documents …'. Engels’ Revision der französischen Übersetzung des "Kommunistischen Manifests" von Laura Lafargue". In: Marx-Engels-Jahrbuch 2006. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2007
  • Wheen, Francis (1999). Karl Marx. London: Fourth Estate. ISBN 1-84115-114-9. OCLC 688241941.