A memorial to German economic philosopher Karl Marx has been attacked with a hammer during a “deliberate and sustained attack”, a charity has said.
The marble plaque on Marx’s Grade I-listed grave will “never be the same again,” said Ian Dungavell, chief executive of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust, which runs the graveyard in north London.
He added that Marx’s “name has been singled out, although the person wasn’t particularly co-ordinated”, and it appeared to be a “deliberate attack on the memory of Karl Marx himself”.
It has been reported to Scotland Yard.
Marx is a controversial figure because he helped lay the foundations of communism, the tenets of which include shared ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes.
Communist policies are thought to have caused tens of millions of deaths in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, and in China under Chairman Mao.
Mr Dungavell said the vandalisation of Marx’s grave was “very upsetting” and the memorial would “bear those battle scars for the future”.
He said: “It’s already scarred with traces of paint and previous damage.
“I’m really cross about it because it’s a particularly inarticulate form of protest and it’s not going to win any fans.
“On a human level, I’m upset when anyone destroys a grave. To do something so mindless is particularly upsetting.”
The marble plaque was first used on the grave of Karl Marx’s wife, Jenny von Westphalen, in 1881.
It was later moved when the remains of both Marx and his wife were exhumed and reinterred in a more prominent location in the cemetery in 1954.
Mr Dungavell said the original location was “not felt to be a suitable marker for someone of such international significance”.
He said he would be seeking specialist advice about repairs, adding that the Grade I-listing means “you don’t rush in to do these things quickly”.
Last year, the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth was marked with the unveiling of a statue in Trier, the city where he was born.
(c) Sky News 2019: Karl Marx’s grave damaged in ‘deliberate attack’ with hammer