Early Life Eduard Bernstein was born in Berlin on January 6, 1850, into a lower-middle-class family of German Jewish ancestry. His father was originally a plumber but later became a railroad engineer. Since there were many children in the familyBernstein was the seventh of fifteen born-his opportunities for a formal education were limited. At age sixteen, he left the Gymnasium, an academic secondary school, and became first an apprentice and then a clerk at a bank. After his apprenticeship, his interests began to reach beyond his daily employment. He engaged in working-class political activity and joined the German Social Democratic Party in 1872, devoting occasional evenings and entire weekends to political agitation. He also continued his self-education by developing his public speaking skills and his notable intellectual talents, which brought him to the attention of socialist party leaders.