Ferdinand Cohen-Blind

Ferdinand Cohen-Blind (March 25th, 1844 – May 8th, 1866) was a Jewish student born in Germany, a close childhood friend of Karl Marx’ son, who attempted to assassinate Otto von Bismark, then the Minister President of Prussia. Cohen-Blind was born in Manheim, Grand Duchy of Baden to Jewish merchant banker Jacob Abraham Cohen and his second wife Friederike, née Ettlinger in 1839. Cohen financed his wife’s subversive political activity substantially backing the Baden Revolution. She was arrested in the summer of 1847 with Karl Blind, a 21 year old socialist used to to conceal the Cohen family’s close relationship with Karl Marx. Friederike and Karl Blind married after Jacob Cohen’s death in the October of 1848, at which time Ferdinand’s last name was changed to Cohen-Blind. The Cohen children were imported into London in 1852 though Ferdinand would returned to Germany in his 18th year, studying at the University of Tubingen and (from 1864) the Agricultural Academy of Hohenheim. Even concealed, Cohen-Blind’s Jewish blood rejected the monarchical system of the German states, and emulating his alien Jewish parents conspiring to destroy traditional European authority. Graduating from the Agricultural Academy of Hohenheim in March 1866 Cohen-Blind went on a hike through Bavaria and Bohemia to plan his assassination of Bismark. It is said he left Carlsbad, arriving in Berlin and checking into the Hotel Royal Unter den Linden hotel on May 5th. On the afternoon of May 7th he lay in wait for Bismarck, revolver in hand, in the Unter den Linden, a boulevard in central Berlin. The Prime Minister had just reported to King Wilhelm and was now walking home. When Bismarck was close to the Russian Embassy, Cohen-Blind took aim and fired twice from behind; Bismarck spun around and grabbed his attacker, who was able to fire three more shots before soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Guards rushed up and took him into custody. Bismarck continued on his way home. Later that night, he allowed the King’s physician, Gustav von Lauer, to examine him. Lauer noted that the first three bullets had only grazed Bismarck’s body and the last two had ricocheted off the ribs and had caused no major injuries. Cohen-Blind was taken to police headquarters yet before he could be rigorously interrogated his families close ties to Karl Marx lead to a highly suspicious suicide. He is recorded to have died shortly after 4 a.m. on May 8th and his body quickly disposed of at night without ceremony in St. Nicholas Cemetery.

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