May 5: the unveiling of a Chinese statue in the birthplace of Karl Marx on the 200th anniversary of his birth.
Standing amidst the bustle of Trier’s central Hauptmarkt, one soon senses the immense weight of history that exerts itself upon the environs. To the north squats the forbidding Porta Nigra, with its roughly hammer-hewn ironstone, while to the south looms the Aula Palatina, a gargantuan late-antique basilica “which probably never had the least beauty,” as the 19thcentury visitor George Waring, Jr. rightly put it. Towering even higher to the east is the Cathedral of Trier, a marvel from without and within, given its variegated facade, its store of prized relics, which include the skull of Saint Helena and the Seamless Robe of Jesus, and the incomparable stucco-work that graces the west-end choir. The Judenpforte that leads into the Judengasse is likewise visible from the Hauptmarkt, a haunting reminder of a community that weathered massacres in 1096 and 1348, expulsions in 1351 and 1418, riots in 1675, the Pogromnacht of November 9, 1938, and the subsequent Shoah. But it is possible that none of these venerable structures have cast so long a shadow as that of the delicate three-story Baroque townhouse located at Brückenstraße 10 (formerly Brückengasse 664), just a five-minute walk away down the Fleischstraße, where on the fifth of May, 1818 a son was born to Herr Heinrich and Frau Henrietta Marx, and was given the name of Karl.