Thursday, May 29, 2008

Karl Marx Lives!

The following is from a letter sent to me by my old good friend Dave, about a famous building (see above) in the great European city of Vienna where he lives. As he says:

"It's called Karl-Marx-Hof (Karl Marx Court), and is the longest residential building in the world. For its time incredibly advanced for council housing.

"Well, it was of course renamed under the fascists (from 34 to 45) and at the end of the war the American commander of that section of Vienna (like Berlin divided into British, French, Russian and American zones) was a little bit worried about the locals' plans to restore the original name.

"So he called on the expertise of an emigre Austrian, Joseph T Simon, who was then an officer in the US army. According to Simon's autobiography, he was asked, among other things, "Did you know this Karl Marx personally?" "Was he a member of the communist party?" "What was his position on the Soviet Union?"

"Simon, who had been a member of the revolutionary socialist (social-democratic)youth movement in the 30s replied that, no he didn't know Marx personally and since Marx died in 1883 he obviously wasn't in a position to know anything about the Soviet Union, but that he was highly appreciated by social democrats.

"The army commander then sent out an internal army mailing saying that Mr Simon was extremely well informed about Marx and that he credibly argued that Marx wasn't a communist at all, but was closer to the Viennese Social Democrats, so there was no reason to change the name of the building --- so it's still called the Karl Marx Hof to this day."
Thus Karl Marx lives in the name of public building in Vienna.

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