Leon Trotsky

Ignace Reiss

The Second Anniversary of His Death

(September 1939)

Written: September 1939.
First Published: Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 82, 27 October 1939, p. 4.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2018. Creative Commons (Attribute & Share-alike).

More than two years ago, Ignace Reiss, an old Bolshevik, a devoted and outstanding revolutionist, broke openly with the Stalin regime. He left his important post in the GPU, returned his Order of Lenin (“It is below my dignity to wear it together with the executioners of the best representatives of the working class” – he wrote to the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party on July 17, 1937), and he openly joined the ranks of the Fourth International in order to “begin all over again, in order to save social-ism.”

To Reiss’ letter Stalin answered with the bullets of his hired assassins. The riddled body of Reiss was found on the outskirts of Lausanne on the night of Sept. 5. But the assassins,spurred by Stalin, did their work carelessly, in a hurry, and failed to cover up their tracks. The Swiss police, without any special difficulty, succeeded in establishing that the murder was perpetrated by the GPU.

In breaking with Stalin, Reiss knew very well – better than anyone else – what awaited him, but Stalin could not terrorize him. Together with other genuine revolutionists, Reiss found his way to the Fourth International. It was precisely for this, for the world revolution, that he gave his life. In him the younger generation will ever remember their comrade-in-arms, their martyr and unwavering fighter.

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Last updated on: 16 February 2016