Today in Labour History
Second Best in a Duel
Sturm und Drang marked the life of Ferdinand Lassalle. Born in 1825 in Eastern Prussia as Ferdinand Lasal, he changed his name to one that sounded less Jewish and more like a revolutionary French name. As lawyer for Countess Sophie von Hatzfeldt in her divorce, he became famous and received a tidy sum, which he dedicated to the revolution and the workers' movement. In 1863 Lassalle established the Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein. During a stay in Switzerland his feelings for a previous lover were re-kindled, and he asked her to marry him. But the Rumanian Helene von Dönniges had already been promised to another man. The 39 year-old Lassalle came off second best in a duel with his rival. He died near Geneva on 31 August 1864.