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Leon Trotsky 19351215 Letter to Jan Frankel

Leon Trotsky: Letter to Jan Frankel

December 15, 1935

[Writing of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 14, New York 1979, p. 629 f., title: “Letters About Anton Ciliga”]

Dear Friend:

Thank you for the letters and the information (concerning the theoretical discussion in the [Soviet] isolation prison).

The man’s letter makes a strong impression. But for the same reasons as with Tarov, I have to ask the same questions: How did the man get out of the country? Who helped him escape? Whom is he in contact with here? What does he mean when he says that he intends to liberate his comrades “by any means necessary”? There is nothing in the letters about this. These are, however, questions of the greatest importance. They must be cleared up. I do not disregard the person, who makes the best possible impression. But one cannot rely on personal impressions alone. Theoretically, it is possible that the GPU scoundrels, who are willing to use any means necessary to get the best of us, are sending us one of their people to wheedle his way into our confidence in order to give his employers an opportunity to create a criminal, i.e., real Stalinist, amalgam. You write that Comrade R. is personally acquainted with him. Naturally this is not without importance, but it is in no way decisive, since the GPU must of course recruit agents for their provocations from the ranks of former revolutionaries. Who knows how many former Oppositionists have sunk to the level of agents under pressure, through exhaustion or corruption?

There is nothing in these lines that should insult your confidant. If he is an honest revolutionary, as I assume, he himself must understand our caution with respect to Stalinist scoundrels. Please discuss this with R. I am sending a copy of this letter to Durand [Leon Sedov].

Your Old Man [Leon Trotsky]