Trotsky and Frida Kahlo Museum


Leon Trotsky Museum

Trotsky eventually quarreled with Rivera and in 1939 moved into his own residence in Coyoacán , a neighborhood in Mexico City . On May 24 , 1940 , he survived a raid on his home by Stalinist assassins under the leadership of GPU agent Iosif Romualdovich Grigulevich , Mexican Stalinist painter David Alfaro Siqueiros , and Vittorio Vidale . Later, on August 20 , 1940, Trotsky was successfully attacked in his home by a Stalinist agent, Ramón Mercader , who drove the pick of an ice axe into Trotsky’s skull.

 The blow was poorly delivered, however, and failed to kill Trotsky instantly, as Mercader had intended. Witnesses stated that Trotsky let out a blood-curdling cry and began struggling fiercely with Mercader. Hearing the commotion, Trotsky’s bodyguards burst into the room and nearly killed Mercader, but Trotsky stopped them, shouting, “Do not kill him! This man has a story to tell.” Trotsky died the next day.

Mercader later testified at his trial:

 I laid my raincoat on the table in such a way as to be able to remove the ice axe which was in the pocket. I decided not to miss the wonderful opportunity that presented itself. The moment Trotsky began reading the article, he gave me my chance; I took out the ice axe from the raincoat, gripped it in my hand and, with my eyes closed, dealt him a terrible blow on the head

 Trotsky’s house in Coyoacán was preserved in much the same condition as it was on the day of the assassination and is now a museum run by a board of intellectuals, including his grandson Esteban Volkov . The current director of the museum is Dr. Carlos Ramirez Sandoval under whose supervision the museum has improved considerably after years of neglect. Trotsky’s grave is located on its grounds.

 Trotsky was never formally rehabilitated by the Soviet government, despite the Glasnost-era rehabilitation of most other Old Bolsheviks killed during the Great Purges.

Frida Kahlo

 Frida Kahlo ( July 6 , 1907 – July 13 , 1954 ) was a Mexican painter of the indigenous culture of her country in a style combining realism and symbolism , an active Communist supporter, and wife of the Mexican muralist and cubist painter Diego Rivera .

 Kahlo was noted for her unconventional appearance, declining to remove her facial hair (she had a small mustache and unibrow which she exaggerated in self portraits), and for her flamboyantly styled clothing, drawn largely from traditional Mexican dress.

 An active Communist supporter, Kahlo and Rivera supported Leon Trotsky and he was granted political asylum in Mexico to protect him from Joseph Stalin and his government in Russia . Initially, Trotsky lived with Rivera and then at Frida’s home where he and Frida allegedly had an affair. Trotsky and his wife then moved to Coyoacán , and Trotsky was later assassinated. Sometime after Trotsky’s death, Frida denounced her former friend and praised the Soviet Union under Stalin. She spoke favorably of Mao , calling China “the new socialist hope”.

 Kahlo died on July 13 , 1954 , supposedly of a pulmonary embolism. She had been ill throughout the previous year and had a leg amputated owing to gangrene. However, an autopsy was never performed, and many are convinced that she committed suicide. A few days before her death she had written into her diary: “I hope the leaving is joyful; and I hope never to return”.

 Kahlo’s ashes are displayed in a pre-Columbian urn at La Casa Azul, this place, which opened as a museum in 1958.


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