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Julian Gorkin

Reveals the Real Identity of Leon Trotsky’s Assassin!


From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 14, 4 April 1949, pp. 1..
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

What is the real identity of “Jacques Mornard” or “Jackson,” the agent of the Stalinist GPU who murdered Leon Trotsky and who is now serving a prison sentence for the crime in Mexico?

Up to now, investigation has failed to establish the truth behind this sinister assassin. The article we print herewith gives the story of his true identity. It is written by Julian Gorkin, the well-known Spanish socialist, who lived in Mexico throughout the war and afterward and is now in Paris. The article is the sensational climax of a book written recently in Mexico by Gorkin in collaboration with the chief of police of Mexico City. The book is the result of an extensive independent investigation, based largely upon the files of the police authorities.

While the propriety of a literary collaboration with a police chief by a socialist has been brought into question, and some of the conclusions reached in the book have also been questioned by comrades and friends of Loon Trotsky who are intimately familiar with all phases of the crime, the present article is of such a highly important nature and filled with details of such worldwide interest, that we reprint if in full. It was transmitted to Labor Action for publication by the widow of Leon Trotsky, Natalia Sedov Trotsky.Ed.

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This book, the product of a scrupulous investigation, and based on the only official and complete documentation that exists, would nevertheless be inconclusive were the true identity of Leon Trotsky’s assassin to remain in doubt. Obviously, I refer to the material assassin, the simple instrument of execution, since no one can throw a shadow of a doubt on the identity of the other. This identity has been clearly and definitely established.

As is noted elsewhere in this book, various Catalonian refugees who held positions of trust in the Communist organization during the Spanish Civil War, and who later found themselves on its fringes – some in opposition to it – recognized the assassin without a shadow of a doubt. As proof of their assertions, they assured me that the former had a scar on the right forearm caused by a wound received at the front. A fact, which I had verified without arousing any suspicions on the part of the assassin. Scrupulous in the extreme, I nevertheless wished to await for other complementary proofs.

At last they have arrived. Some, the main proofs, from Moscow itself. The iron curtain created by Stalinist totalitarianism to isolate the martyrized Russian people from the rest of the universe has its flaws and leaks. In any case, I find myself in the position of making a series of affirmations and of answering fully for them. Let me also say, that if it is necessary I can at any moment cite my proofs in support of what I am about to say.

Mother Worked in GPU Service

The mother of the assassin is living and is named Caridad Mercader. She is a Catalonian, energetic and fanatical. She is a woman who has irremediably played the game of Stalinism. She lived in France and Belgium for many years. She educated her children, four boys and one girl, in these countries, and this explains the correct French which they all speak. And this is why Trotsky’s assassin, the third child, could pass himself off as a Belgian.

I believed that Caridad Mercader had entered the service of the GPU in Spain, and had begun during the Civil War. This is not so. Her relations with this sinister police and espionage organization go back much further. In 1928 she was already in its service in Paris. She formed part of a “special cell” controlled by the secret service which acted – and still acts – under the cover of diplomatic immunity. She, as well as other GPU agents, entered the political organizations that were independent of the Communists. This is an old tactic of the GPU, which it used and abused in my poor Spain before applying it in the countries today under the Stalinist yoke. With her daughter, Montserrat, Caridad Mercader belonged for a few years in Paris to Section 15 of the Socialist Party. The old militants of this section know them and remember them perfectly.

During the Spanish Civil War, Caridad Mercader participated actively in the Catalonian party of Socialist Unification (PSUC), which adhered to the Communist International. She gave proof of a blind fanaticism, and of an absolute lack of scruples in the army of terror. She gained merit in the eyes of the important agents of the GPU, and principally with the most important of all, “Peter,” ex-agent in Paris, in Brussels, and in Barcelona, and one of those who organized the political and police coup which has placed Hungary under Stalinist totalitarianism. Caridad Mercader became one of the trusted GPU agents in Catalonia, and drew her children toward that terrible organization.

The surname of the children is del Rio Mercader. One of them died in Spain. The oldest resides in Paris. The second in age is the daughter, inseparable from Caridad. The third is the sadly celebrated Jacson-Mornard, the material assassin of Leon Trotsky. [1] The youngest of the children, Luis, lives in Moscow and is finishing his course in engineering.

Petty Adventurer to Assassin

The so-called Mornard belonged to the Communist militias of Catalonia. It was at the front, then, that he received the wound in the right forearm to which I referred above. His existence had been aimless. He had been accustomed to living without working, to frequenting houses of prostitution to satisfy all his vices. He was a petty adventurer without a future. Following the example of his mother, he became one of the docile instruments of the GPU. Once in their hands, he was designated to assassinate Trotsky, should the attempt of the painter Siqueiros fail, in accordance with the plot outlined in this book.

Caridad Mercader lived in Moscow from 1940 until August 1944. She was treated there as an important personage. She maintained direct relations with Beria, all powerful chief of the NKVD. She was strictly forbidden to speak to anyone about her third child. Notwithstanding this, she revealed most of the story, above all to trusted militant Communists who were refugees in Moscow. There is one thing which the NKVD has not succeeded and will never succeed in altogether suppressing: individual conscience, trust between comrades and intimate friends, family ties, and the maternal sentiment ... Besides direct contact with the Russian reality must be a tremendous blow to the critical judgment of some of the foreign militants. So tremendous and dramatic must it be, that it drove Jose Diaz, ex-secretary-general of the Spanish Communist Party to jump from the third floor of the Hotel Intourist in Moscow. Caridad felt herself the prisoner of remorse. She began to hate in the depths of her heart the Russian tyranny and the chiefs of the organization of which she and hers were slave perhaps forever.

After long and persistent pressure, Caridad Mercader succeeded in leaving the USSR at the time indicated above. Her youngest son remained there as a hostage to guarantee the silence of his mother and his brothers. The NKVD did not dare to suppress Caridad for fear that the son, the assassin of Trotsky, would speak out one day. And it did not care to suppress the latter, for fear of his mother. Such is the infernal circle.

Caridad Mercader stayed in Mexico under a false identity from the October of 1944 until November of 1945. She maintained a permanent connection with her son. She saw to it that he lacked nothing, and moved the strings through a skilful lawyer and judge in order to allow the argument of “legitimate defense” and obtain an important reduction in the sentence of 20 years and one day.

She has been in Paris with her oldest son and daughter, Montserrat, for almost three years now. But she maintains contact with a commission of direct NKVD agents in the Mexican capital. These agents are paid high salaries. Their only mission consists of attending to – and watching over – Trotsky’s assassin. I must add that the organization of the assassination of the ex-chief of the Red Army, the aid given his assassin, and the maintenance of the apparatus of the NKVD in Mexico have cost Moscow the handsome sum of $600,000.00 to date. Stalin must surely value these hirelings. For him, for his totalitarian tyranny, the death of Leon Trotsky was worth this and much more.

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1. The complete name of Trotsky’s assassin is: Ramon del Rio Mercader. He never used the father’s surname, but that of the mother: Mercader. His older brother, who lives in Paris with his mother and sister, Montserrat, is named George. And as has been said, he who lives in Moscow, the youngest of the Mercaders, is named Luis

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