- Heinrich Heine was a distant relation and a very good friend of Karl Marx (1818-1883), he once saved the life of Marx's infant daughter Jenny.
- Heine was also friends with Karl Marx's close relations, the Rothschild banking dynasty.
- An admirer of Heine's work was Jacob Schiff (1847-1856), the Frankfurt-born, Jewish banker, whose grandfather had shared a home (the so-called: House at the Green Shield) with James de Rothschild's father in Frankfurt Judengasse (Jews' Alley).
- A highly symbolic line from a Heine poem was found written upon a wall of the cellar in which the Russian Czar and his family were murdered in 1918. It's probable the author had attended a lecture course on Heine's work held in New York in early 1914, which was financed by Jacob Schiff.
Following is an anecdote (dating from at least 1865) about Heine dining with James de Rothschild, and a quip the former wrote (in 1841) of one of his many visits to the latter:"BARON JAMES ROTHSCHILD had, like his brother Nathan, the reputation of being a boor — or brute, socially ; at any rate, when he took a whim to be. He seemed, when in this mood, to delight in showing off his parvenu vulgarity, and assumed the airs of a nabob with every one for whom he did not particularly care. ... Having quizzed the poet Heine once rather sharply, at dinner, the latter betrayed his host into some remark on the name of the wine they were drinking — Lacrima Christi. 'Curious name — I can't account for it,' said the millionnaire. 'Oh !' replied the wit, 'the etymology is very simple ; Christ weeps that Jews should drink such excellent wine!'"
"I (Heinrich Heine) like best to visit him (James de Rothschild) at the offices of his bank, where I can observe as a philosopher how the people, and not only God's people, but also all others bow and scrape before him. They do such a twisting and turning of their spines as would make the best of acrobats be hard put to it. I saw people who shivered when they approached the great Baron as though they had touched a Voltaic pile. At the very door of his office many of them were seized by an awful shuddering, such as Moses felt when he stood on the holy ground of Horeb. And just as Moses then took off his shoes, so many a broker or agent de change would take off his boots before daring to enter the private office of Herr von Rothschild, if he were not afraid that his feet would smell and so incommode the Herr Baron. That private office is, indeed, a remarkable place which excites noble thoughts and sentiments, like the sight of the ocean or the starry Heavens : we see in that office how small is man, and how great is God ! For money is the God of our time, and Rothschild is his prophet.
Several years ago, once when I wanted to see Herr Rothschild, a liveried servant carried his chamber pot across the corridor, and a speculator who happened to pass at the same moment took of his hat reverently to the might pot. So far, I say it with all respect, goes the respect of certain people. I made a note of the name of that devout man, and I am convinced that in time he will be a millionaire."
Karl Marx and Heinrich Heine supposedly first meet in Paris in December 1843. Marx had just turned 24 years-of-age, Heine was 45, a famous poet and foreign correspondent, whose articles appeared frequently in the Prussian and Bavarian press. A year-and-a-half before their first meeting, in June and July 1842 Heinrich Heine was predicting the horrifying future of "communism" in his regularly letters (published anonymously) for the Bavarian newspaper Augsburger Zeitung.
Heine wrote June 20th, 1842:
(Prominent French politician) Guizot has only one foe to fear — that foe is the later Gnizot, the Guizot of Communism, who has not as yet come forth, but who certainly will come, and be as unterrified and unselfish as the Thought; for even as that doctrinaire identified himself with the system of the bourgeois régime so this one will unite with that of agrarian rule, and consequence oppose consequence. It will be a terrible combat.
The fearful wheel would again begin to turn, and we should see an adversary appear who would be the most alarming of all who have ever entered the lists. This antagonist as yet preserves his terrible incognito, and lives as yet like a poor pretender in that ground-floor or cellar of official society, in those catacombs where the new life germinates and buds. Communism is the name of the terrible antagonist which sets agrarian rule in all its consequences in opposition to the bourgeois régime of to-day. It will be a terrible conflict — how will it end? That the gods and goddesses only know who know the future. This much do we know, that Communism, though it be at present but little discussed, and now yearns away its life in forgotten garrets on wretched straw-pallets, is still the gloomy hero to whom a great if transitory part is assigned in the modern tragedy, and which only waits its cue (Stichwort réplique) to enter on the stage. We should never lose sight of this actor, and we will from time to time give accounts of the secret rehearsals in which he is preparing for his débût. Such indications are perhaps more important than reports of electoral intrigues, party quarrels, and cabinet intrigues.
Heine wrote July 12th, 1842:
What would be the end of this movement (Communism) for which Paris has, as usual, given the signal? It would be a war, the most terrible war of destruction, which — more's the pity ! — will call the noblest races of civilisation into the arena, to their joint destruction. I mean Germany and France. England, the great sea-serpent, which can always glide back into its watery nest, and Russia, which in its vast forests of firs, steppes, and ice-fields has also the securest lairs — these two cannot be utterly destroyed in a common political war, even by the most decided defeats; but Germany is, in such a case, in far greater danger, and even France may suffer terribly in her political existence. But this would be, so to speak, only the first act or prologue to the grand drama. The second will be the European or the world Revolution, the gigantic battle of the disinherited with the inheritors of fortune, and in that there will be no question of nationality or of religion, for there will be but one fatherland, the Earth, and but one religion, that of happiness in this life. Will the religious doctrines of the past in every country unite to a desperate resistance, and thus form a third act in the great play ? Or will the old Absolute tradition enter again on the stage, but this time in a new costume and with new watchwords to incite and goad? How will this drama end? I do not know, but I think that at last the head of the great water-snake will be crashed, and the skin pulled over the head of the bear of the North. And then perhaps there will be only one flock and one shepherd — a free shepherd with an iron crook — and one great herd of men all shorn and all bleating alike. Wild and gloomy times come roaring on, and the prophet who would write a new Apocalypse must imagine new beasts, and those so terrible that the old symbols of St. John as compared to them will seem like soft doves and amorets. The gods hide their faces out of pity to the sons of mankind, their nurslings for so many years, and perhaps out of fear as to their own fate. The future has an odour as of Russian leather, blood, blasphemy, and much beating with the knout. I advise our descendants to come into the world with thick skins.
Incidentally, the "great sea serpent", supposedly a real leviathan, was "seen again" in 1848. Perhaps this was a cause célèbre during the mid-nineteenth century, and explains Heine's reference.