By the death during the past week of Helena Demuth the Socialist party has lost a remarkable member.
Born on New Year's Day, 1823, of peasant parents, at St. Wendel, she came, at the age of 14, into the family of the von Westphalens of Trier. Jenny von Westphalen in 1843 became the wife of Karl Marx. From 1837 to the death of Mrs. Marx in 1881, with the exception of the first few months of the married life, the two women were constant companions. After the death of Mrs. Marx in December 1881, and of Marx on March 14th, 1883, Helena Demuth went to keep house for Frederick Engels. The leaders of the Socialist movement bore testimony to "her strong common-sense, her absolute rectitude of character, her ceaseless thoughtfulness for others, her reliability, and the essential truthfulness of her nature".
Engels at her funeral declared that Marx took counsel of Helena Demuth, not only in difficult and intricate party matters, but even in respect of his economical writings. "As for me," he said, "what work I have been able to do since the death of Marx has been largely due to the sunshine and support of her presence in the house."
Helena is buried at Highgate in the same grave as Marx and his wife.
The one I know least of
- Helene Demuth on the question of her favourite poet