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Marx directs traffic in hometown on 200th birthday

March 21, 2018

While Karl Marx was exiled from Germany and died in England, the author of "Das Kapital" remains a celebrated figure in his hometown of Trier, where he now adorns pedestrian traffic lights in the city center.

Deutschland Karl Marx-Ampel in Trier
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/H. Tittel

The Lord Mayor of Trier, Wolfram Leibe, inaugurated on March 19 a pedestrian light on which the silhouette of the city's famous socialist philosopher, Karl Marx, flashes. In addition to the communist red associated with Marx, who was born in Trier nearly two centuries ago, the traffic light also illuminates the spiritual father of revolution in green. He's depicted wearing his unmistakable beard and frock coat.

Read moreKarl Marx's 'Das Kapital' still fascinates after 150 years

Birthday tribute

Installed to celebrate the 200th birthday of the philosopher who was born in far western Germany on May 5, 1818, the Marx traffic light won't be the only one — another will start flashing at an intersection close to Marx's actual birthplace in May, when the birthday celebrations reach their crescendo.

In addition, a massive and somewhat controversial Marx statue donated by the People's Republic of China will be erected for the anniversary in Trier. While no doubt impressive, some locals have voiced some concern about the towering height of the "Mega Marx."

Marx spent the first 17 years of his life in Trier before moving to Bonn and then Berlin. The exiled radical philosopher finally ended up in London, where he passed away. It has taken 200 years, but the prodigal son is back.

sb/eg (with dpa)