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Leon Trotsky 19380310 Letter to Jeanne Martin

Leon Trotsky: Letter to Jeanne Martin

March 10, 1938

    [Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York 1970, p. 257 f.]

Dearest Jeanne, our little Jeanne:

Natalia just received two letters from you. I have received one letter from you, not counting the report on the progress of Lyova’s [Sedov’s] illness. Natalia has sent you a telegram. She is still unable to write. She reads and rereads your letters. She weeps, she weeps a great deal. When I can succeed in freeing myself from my work (answering new accusations against Leon and myself) I will join her in weeping. She loves you very much. She has always loved you very much, Jeanne. She thinks and speaks of you with the greatest affection. She imagines you in the small apartment that you shared with Leon until a short time ago. She thinks about these little things, and about you, Jeanne, first of all. For Natalia you are now not just Jeanne, the daughter she loves with such tenderness and with such reserve – as Natalia alone knows how to love – you are now a part of Leon, that which remains of the most intimate side of his personal life in the last few years. My dear little one. …

Leon meant a great deal to me. Far more than anyone imagines. He was dearer to me than anyone in the world except Natalia. With Natalia’s help I tried to set down on paper the magnitude of the loss we have just suffered. We too cannot accept the idea that he is gone. Ten times a day I catch myself thinking: I have to write to Lyova. … I have to ask Lyova. … And Natalia? She grieves for herself, she grieves for me, and she grieves for you. Jeanne, we are ready to accept any proposal you have to make concerning your future. If you wish to come here to embrace Natalia, to be embraced by the two of us, we will immediately do everything to make your trip possible. If you decide to stay with us, you will be our beloved daughter. If, after two or three months, you find that it would be better to return to Paris, we will accept that as only natural. Finally, if you feel that it would be too difficult to be separated from Sieva and the others right now, we will understand how you feel. Sieva’s coming here would present certain difficulties – school, language – but we are ready to take that possibility into account as well

Despite her tears and her grief, Natalia helps in my work. We are fighting for the memory of Leon, for our movement. Leon has already taken his place there, in the history of our movement, forever. From all over the world we receive letters concerning him. The young people are learning to know him and love him. He will become a symbolic figure, our little Lyova, like Karl Liebknecht and others. Yes, dearest Jeanne, our little Jeanne, he is no longer at your side nor will he ever be again. But he has entered into a new life, one that has merged with the liberation movement. We must go on. We must go on with courage. In Paris, or here with us, my dear little child, life will be hard for you. The only way to rise above its blows is through struggle. . . . Natalia will write to you as soon as she is strong enough to hold a pen. But in spirit she has written to you continuously since the terrible news of February 16. Natalia embraces you with all her torn, bleeding heart. I embrace you too, Jeanne. We will send you another telegram tonight. We are thinking of you. We grieve with you.



[P.S.] – We read your statement to the Journal in the Mexican press concerning the “American dollars.” It is very good that you have entered the fight. You must continue. It is necessary to write about Lyova … about his life in Berlin and in Paris. The three of us together will write his biography. We will gather all the documentation on his life. Lyova had a heroic nature – in the truest sense of the word. He must remain – he will remain – in the memory of humanity. … Courage, my little Jeanne.