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Full text of "American aspects of assassination of Leon Trotsky. Hearings"

HARVARD COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 



fits 




GIFT OF THE 

GOVERNMENT 
OF THE UNITED STATES 






AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION 
OF LEON TROTSKY 



HEARINGS 

BEFORE THE 

COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

EIGHTY-FIRST CONGRESS 

SECOND SESSION 



JULY 26, AUGUST 30, OCTOBER 18 AND 19, 
AND DECEMBER 4, 1950 



Printed for the use of the Committee on Un-American Activities 




UNITED STATES 
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
74G37 WASHINGTON : 1951 



COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES 

United States House of Representatives 

JOHN S. WOOD, Georgia, Chairman 
FRANCIS E. WALTER, Pennsylvania FRANCIS CASE, South Dakota 

BURR P. HARRISON, Virginia HAROLD H. VELDE, Illinois 

JOHN McSWEENEY, Ohio BERNARD W. KEARNEY, New York 

MORGAN M. MOULDER, Missouri DONALD L. JACKSON, California 

Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., Counsel 

Louis J. Russell, Senior,, Investigator 

John W. Carrington, Clerk of Committee 

Benjamin Mandel, Director of Research 

Hon. Richard M. Nixon resigned from the committee November 30, 1950, to enter the 
United States Senate. 







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2) 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Foreword v 

October 18, 1950, testimony of — 

Jacob Epstein 3345 

Lydia Altsehuler 3354 

Pauline C. Baskind SZQ1 

Frances Silverman 336-1 

October 19, 1950, testimony of — 

Anna Vogel Colloms 3371 

Fanny McPeek 3377 

Ethel Vogel 3380 

Barnett Shepard 33S4 

August 30, 1950, testimony of — 

Helen Travis 3391 

July 26, 1950, testimony of Philip L. Schmitz 3398 

December 4, 1950, testimony of — 

Sylvia Ageloff 3401 

Hilda Ageloff 3407 

Ruby Weil 3408 

in 



FOREWORD 

TROTSKY ASSASSINATION 

On August 20, 19-40, Leon Trotsky, the political rival of Joseph 
Stalin was murdered in his home near Mexico City by a person using 
a mountain ax. The killer, after his apprehension, was found to have 
in his possession a fraudulent Canadian passport, which had been 
altered through the substitution of a fictitious name, Frank Jacson. 
The passport was originally issued to a Canadian, who was a member 
of the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion of the International Brigade in 
Spain When arrested by Mexican authorities, the killer later gave 
his name as Jacques Mornard Vandendreschd. However, his true 
name and identity have never been established. Jacson s, or Van- 
dendreschd's, trial continued for 3 years. On April 16, 1943, he was 
sentenced to 19i/> years for assault and an additional 6 months tor 
carrying a pistol. " He pleaded self-defense during the trial. Leon 
Trotsky died the clay following the attack, but before his death he 
stated his killer was most likely sent by the Russian secret police. 
Investigations conducted since his assassination have indicated that 
Trotsky's beliefs were well founded. 

The Committee on Un-American Activities early this year instituted 
its own investigation concerning the Trotsky assassination in order to 
establish, if possible, what part the Russian Government and the Com- 
munist Party played in the murder of Trotsky. The investigation 
covers two phases of inquiry, the first being the plans and events that 
led up to the assassination of Leon Trotsky; the second being an 
unsuccessful attempt to secure the release of the killer from a Mexican 
prison. 

Part I 

On November 11, 1950, Louis Budenz, former managing editor of the 
Daily Worker, submitted to the Committee on Un-American Activities 
a notarized affidavit setting forth his knowledge of the Communist 
Party's participation in the Trotsky assassination. This affidavit is 
reproduced in its entirety and is as follows : 

Statement by Louis Francis Budenz of the Preparations for Assassination 

of Leon Trotsky 

"Rather early in my activity in the Communist Party, while I was still labor 
editor of the Daily Worker, I was called to the ninth floor of the Communist Party 
headquarters in New York City. Jack Stachel, powerful member of the political 
bureau of that Soviet fifth column, had telephoned down to the eighth floor (the 
offices of the Daily Worker) that he wished to see me. 

"The conference to which Stachel called me was with one Jacob Golos, then 
chairman of the Control Commission of the Communist Party and conducting 
Soviet espionage activities under cover of World Tourists, Inc. Another man 
present at the conference bad been known to me only by the name of Michaels, 
and I have never learned his true and correct name. 

"Stachel and Golos advised me that it was important that I go with the latter 
almost at once "to meet some friends of importance, from abroad." I was 



VI FOREWORD 

reluctant to do so, since I was busily engaged on a large editorial on the CIO 
and bad a speaking engagement that evening. Stachel stated that "nothing could 
b*e more important than this assignment," saying that a substitute could be found 
for my speaking appointment. 

"Accordingly, I went with Golos to a restaurant not far away, on East Four- 
teenth Street, facing Union Square. In a far corner of the restaurant I was 
introduced to a man sitting in one of the cubicles, who gave the name of Richard 
or Richards. It was clear that this was a fictitious name and his Russian accent 
emphasized that fact. During the course of my 10 years in the party, particu- 
larly as I came to be a member of the national or central committee, and a con- 
stant attendant on political bureau meetings, I met many other Soviet agents 
going under such first names or adaptations of first names. 

"Richards advised me that he wanted my cooperation in getting information 
in regard to the Trotskyites and their movements, in order to offset any plots 
against the life of Stalin and against the Soviet Union that might be planned. 
This was the period of the great purge trials, and I agreed to help. 

"From that time forward I met with Richards in various restaurants in New 
York, on the average of several times a week. I obtained for him lists of Trotsky- 
ites and also information in regard to the 'left' Socialists who were following 
Norman Thomas at that time. On one occasion, in his anger, Richards even 
declared that he would place me on the political bureau in Stachel's post, since 
he felt that the latter was not doing all that was possible to penetrate the 
Socialists. This offer I rejected, though Browder and Stachel both were cognizant 
of it and even called me into a special conference to ask if there was anything 
at all that they could do to assist me. 

"This gives some idea of the high standing in the Communist conspiracy of the 
representatives of the Soviet secret police (now called the MVD) with whom 
I was thus dealing. 

"My first meeting with Richards occurred around December 1936, or slightly 
earlier. From that time on I met him several times a week at various Child's 
restaurants in New York City. At his instructions we always agreed on the next 
place of meeting, but the time could be changed by telephone. That is, he would 
sometimes call me at the Daily Worker under his fictitious name and make 
certain that I could get away. 

"In the spring of 1937 Richards introduced me to another member of the Soviet 
secret police, whose name was said to be Michaels or Michael. (He is not to be 
confused with the first Michaels who was with Golos on the ninth floor.) Both 
Richards and Michaels impressed upon me that we were engaged in trying to 
halt Trotskyite plottings against Stalin. I therefore collected and took them all 
the available information I could obtain in regard to the movings of secret Trot- 
skyites, Trotskyite couriers, and their relations to the left-wing Socialists. At 
that time, I had a number of agents for the Stalinist group planted in the Trot- 
skyite camp, that being one of my first assignments with the Communist Party, 
and from them I obtained this information. Prominent among these concealed 
Stalinists acting as Trotskyites was Bill Reich, who later openly announced his 
Communist Party affiliations. 

"The agent Michaels met with me for a short time only, when suddenly in 1937, 
very shortly after I first met Michael, both Richards and he introduced me to 
another and clearly more important agent, who went by the name of Robert or 
Roberts. 

"This man was a very intelligent person, fatherly in his manner, and immedi- 
ately proceeded to organize new activity on my part. He instructed me to intro- 
duce to him various Stalinists who were penetrating the Trotskyites or might be 
useful along that line because of their work or associations. 

"I should state here that after 5 years' investigation on my part, and after 
examining hundreds of photographs of men connected with Soviet espionage in 
one form or another, or with the conspiracy as a whole, I now know that this man 
Roberts was in reality Dr. Gregory Rabinowitz, or Rabinowitch, head of the 
Russian Red Cross in the United States. He was a physician and also a surgeon. 

"It is significant that the Soviet dictatorship has been so unscrupulous in its 
dealings with the American Nation that it would use the International Red Cross 
(with which the Russian Red Cross was then connected) to advance espionage 
activities of various sorts in the United States. It is ironical that the Kremlin 
would use, or misuse, an organization devoted to the saving of lives for the pur- 
pose of destroying the lives of its enemies by assassination. 



FOREWORD VII 

"Among those whom I introduced to Roberts was Ruby Weil, whom I had 
known as a member of the Conference for Progressive Labor Action, of which I 
had been national secretary prior to becoming a Communist. Miss Weil had 
secretly joined the Communist Party shortly after I had entered it openly, and 
had been assigned to a secret training school or unit for infiltration. This assign- 
ment had been given her by Comrade Chester, whose correct name is Bernard 
Schuster or Zuster, the notorious underground agent who directed infiltration 
of the National Guard and other organizations in the New York and New England 
areas for the Soviet fifth column. 

"In addition to her knowledge of infiltration methods, Miss Weil had been on 
very friendly terms with Hilda Ageloff, sister of Leon Trotsky's secretary, Ruth 
Ageloff. Hilda was also sister to Sylvia Ageloff, a Brooklyn social worker who 
devoted vacation periods and other free time to Trotskyite courier work. 

"Roberts and I agreed that he should be known as 'John Rich' to Miss Weil, 
and as such I introduced him to her. Before I had introduced him to her, Roberts 
had given me a considerable sum of money in cash to present to Miss Weil for 
expenses. This was for the specific purpose of enabling her to be dressed well, 
and to keep up telephone and other connections. She was reluctant to take the 
money, but upon learning its purposes, agreed to do so. 

"In the course of time she met not only with Roberts, but also met with me both 
as long as I was in New York and then in New York after I had moved to Chicago 
(November 1937) to become editor of the Midwest Daily Record. 

"Miss Weil was persuaded also that we were engaged in stopping Trotskyite 
plottings against Stalin's life. One incident that made us both think this was the 
case further was my assignment to check on the residents of a certain apartment 
house in the Stuyvesant Square area in New York. Roberts considered it of 
great importance that the exact names of these people be obtained, and it is 
interesting to note that he was aware of some Communists who lived there. 
Later on, this turned out to be the headquarters of a passport mill which fur- 
nished the false passport to the agent Robinson-Rubens, whose case became famous 
because the Soviet Union announced his arrest in Moscow. 

"To my knowledge both from these conferences with Roberts and Miss Weil, 
I learned that she was being sent to Paris and that she had persuaded Sylvia 
Ageloff to accompany her, or rather that she was accompanying Miss Ageloff. 
The occasion for the trip was a Trotskyite International Congress in the French 
capital, and Ruby Weil went along on the plea that she was interested in 
Trotskyism and also that she could visit her sister in England. 

"I was on one occasion specifically requested by Roberts to make a special 
trip to New York from Chicago, to persuade Miss Weil to go through with this 
arrangement. After having agreed enthusiastically to the plan, she had become 
disturbed. Already friends of hers who were Communists had noted her once or 
twice in the company of the Ageloff sisters and had reported her to the secret 
conspiratorial apparatus as being of dubious loyalty to the Communist cause. 
This had come to my attention, and I had sent word to the section organizer 
in her section of the party, that she was engaged in important secret work. 
This protected her from any official action, but my report could not be explained 
to her fellow Communists in the lower ranks. This was what disturbed her 
specifically. 

"Of the various conferences between Roberts and Miss Weil I can only testify 
from what was told me by each one of them. After her return from Paris, 
though I did not see her then, Roberts told me that she had done a splendid piece 
of work for the Soviet secret police there. 

"After the assassination of Leon Trotsky, in 1940, Miss Weil came to me in 
great distress to tell me of her part in this act. Although I was aware that 
assassination had been used against Soviet agents who had turned sour, I was 
not inclined to give full credence to her account until a year later when she 
was able to sit down and tell me the whole story. She had in the meantime been 
in a tuberculosis sanatorium and thus had been precluded from discussing the 
matter with her fully. 

"However, I did report her first visit to Earl Browder, who was aware all 
along of my activities with the Soviet secret police. He agreed that if any 
attempt was made to arrest any MVD man here, or to bring matters to public 
notice in the Trotsky case, that the Communists would make 'another Tom 
Mooney case of it,' alleging frame-up. 

"As Miss Weil filled out the story of her Paris visit to me, it ran as follows : Be- 
fore going to Europe, Roberts had sent her to see a member of the Communist 
conspiratorial apparatus residing in Greenwich Village and known by the name 



VIII FOREWORD 

of Comrade Gertrude. As Roberts had on one or two occasions mentioned 
this Gertrude to me, I knew that she existed. The plan was that Gertrude 
would be in Paris at a certain address when Ruby arrived there and that she 
would give Miss Weil the instructions which she should follow, and also 
introduce her to the persons (Stalinist agents) whom she should introduce to 
Miss Ageloff. 

"In this manner, Miss Weil was introduced to the man Jacson, who eventually 
killed Trotsky. In turn, Jacson was introduced to Sylvia Ageloff, and immedi- 
ately Jacson instituted a whirlwind courtship. Representing himself to be a 
Jacques Mornard, a descent of Belgian counts, he won Miss Ageloff's favor and 
she smuggled him into Mexico and into the Trotsky household. 

"The events which took place thereafter have been recorded in public records. 

"After her return to the United States, and her release from the tuberculosis 
sanatorium Miss Weil approached me in regard to continuance of her membership 
in the Communist Party. This had been temporarily dropped during her in- 
filtration work, as is frequently the case. Upon bringing up the question with 
Jacob Golos, with whom I had been in constant contact, he stated that he would 
first have to consult the Soviet consulate officials, or MVD agents located in 
the consulate. After conferring with them, he reported that Miss Weil could not 
have a Communist Party card and she was forbidden to go near the party head- 
quarters or to visit my home. I conveyed this information to her, and she was 
gravely disappointed. 

"(I might state that this close control of the party by the Soviet consulate 
and Embassy, through their espionage agents has come to my attention on scores 
of occasions. It completely refutes the various efforts to show that any Com- 
munist Party decisions of any importance are made by any native 'leader' or 
that Soviet policies in any country are influenced by the native Red leadership in 
that country. In the minute and rigid manner, Russian Soviet agents, or other 
alien agents subject to them, direct the acts of the native 'leadership.') 

"I might addi by way of one detail that the meeting with Miss Weil in New 
York, upon my coming in from Chicago to persuade her to go on with the Paris 
trip, was held in the Grand Central Terminal. It took place from 10 : 30 to 11 : 30 
in the evening, after I had called for her at" the People's Press where she was 
working. Our conference continued until I caught the late train to Chicago. 

"Another person whom I introduced to Roberts was Sylvia Franklin also known 
as Sylvia Caulwell and whose maiden name was something like Sylvia Kallen. 

"When I went to Chicago, under Roberts' instructions I got in touch with Jack 
Kling, head of the Young Communist League in that area. The purpose of this 
consultation was, in the name of the National Committee of which I was a 
member, to get hold of some Stalinist agent infiltrating the Trotskyites, who could 
be moved to New York and put into the Trotskyite national office. 

"Jack Kling introduced me to Sylvia Franklin, a Chicago social worker who 
was successfully infiltrating the Trotskyites. Her husband, Irving Franklin, 
had been in Spain working in secret work and had then been sent into Canada to 
aid in espionage activities there. 

"After a number of consultations with Sylvia Franklin, I advised Roberts that 
he could meet her in Chicago if he wished to do so. He made a special visit to 
Chicago for that purpose staying at the Hotel Stevens where he registered under 
the name of Rabinowitz. He was obliged there of course to register under his 
legal name in this country, and this fact I mentioned in my book, This is My 
Story, written in 1946. It was a fact that he was thus compelled to use his 
correct name of Rabinowitz that enabled me to check with Miss Bentley and 
learn definitely that he was Dr. Gregory Rabinowitz. 

"In Chicago, Roberts gave Sylvia Franklin $300 as an initial expense account 
to make the trip to New York where he had arranged her employment with a 
woman doctor, who was connected with the Soviet secret police. 

"He also arranged that her husband, Irving, who had returned from his espio- 
nage work in Canada, should be located in a special apartment in the Bronx, so 
that Sylvia could visit him there from time to time. She was to represent her- 
self to the Trotskyites as unmarried and was set up in a separate apartment of 
her own in Manhattan. 

"By first volunteering to do secretarial work in the national Trotskyite offices 
in New York, Sylvia Franklin under the direction of Roberts-Rabinowitz, grad- 
ually made herself indispensable to James Cannon, then head of the American 
Trotskyites. She became his secretary and served in that capacity for some 
time. Roberts-Rabinowitz advised me that she had proved to be invaluable in 
bringing copies of all of Trotsky's mail and other Trotskyite communications to 
him for his information. 



FOREWORD IX 

"It may be said here that another valuable source of information established 
through the information I gave them, enabling the Soviet secret police to be 
minutely acquainted with the Trotsky household and his own ideas and move- 
ments, was obtained through taking advantage of the good will of Leigh White, 
now the well-known anti-Communist newspaper correspondent. I had made his 
acquaintance through one of the Communists working in concealment for the 
Soviet secret police. „ , , ., 

"I asked him the simple question : 'Where does Trotsky s mail go, concerning 
his book?' At that time, Trotsky was preparing the book and Leigh White was 
employed by the publisher who had originally agreed to publish the work on 
Stalin Mr. White advised me that all mail was going to Sara Wolf, who had 
been Trotsky's secretary and was the wife of a New Jersey professional man. 
Roberts-Rabinowitz advised me that in this manner, intercepting the mail 
through means of their own, they had kept in touch with all correspondence 
from Trotsky to New York. 

"There are manv more details to the account of the preparations for the as- 
sassination of Trotsky in Mexico City. For instance, one of the considerable 
items which caused the Soviet Union to be able to demand that Norway move 
Trotsky out of that country was the visit of A. J. Muste to Trotsky in Oslo. 
Upon Muste's return, I visited him at the suggestion of Roberts-Rabinowitz, and 
expressing great interest at how Trotsky reacted, learned that Trotsky said that 
only a revolution bv violence within Russia against the Stalinite dictatorship, 
organized from without, could achieve anything against the Bonapartism in 
Moscow. Roberts-Rabinowitz let me know that this information had been of 
great value in private representations made by the Soviet Union to Norway, on 
the contention that this proved that Trotsky was using Oslo as a base to attack 
Soviet Russia. , 

"There was also a great number of people, in addition to those mentioned, 
whom I introduced to Roberts-Rabinowitz. 

"The above gives the substance of the methods employed to bring about the 
assassination of Leon Trotsky. 

"As to Roberts-Rabinowitz, I bade farewell to him in 1939— after Miss Weil s 
trip to Paris but before the actual Trotsky assassination. He got in touch with 
me (as usual) through Jacob Golos and asked me to meet him at the Bronx 
apartment of Irving Franklin. There he told me he was leaving for the Soviet 
Union, laughed about the comic papers he had to take with him for his son 
(whose name I believe was Boris) and said a fine piece of work had been done 
here. We took a walk, at his suggestion, around the block in the Bronx in the 
evening and then parted. 

"Should other details be required on this Trotskyite case, and there are a num- 
ber which I have not covered, I hold myself always in readiness to be of such 
service to Congress as I can." 

State of New York, 

County of Westchester, ss: 

I, Louis Francis Budenz, of Crestwood, N. Y., being duly sworn, do hereby 
state and declare that the attached account of the preparations for the assassina- 
tion of Leon Trotsky, former Soviet leader, constitute a true version of those 
preparations, insofar as I was cognizant of them. 

I am at this time under subpena of the Committee on Un-American Activities, 
United States House of Representatives, and submit this affidavit and statement 
at the instruction of that committee. 

Louis F. Budenz. 

Subscribed and sworn before me on this 11th of November 1950. 
[seal] Robert S. Horsley, 

Notary Public in the State of New York, Appointed for Westchester 
County. 
My commission expires March 30, 1951. 

Part II 

This is a condensation of intelligence information compiled by this 
committee relating to the participation of American Communists m 
an effort to free Frank Jacson from imprisonment in Mexico. Part II 
also includes a brief analysis of the testimony taken from individuals 

74637—51 2 



X FOREWORD 

who were discovered to have been a part of this conspiracy. From in- 
formation obtained by the committee, it appears that although certain 
of the persons mentioned herein committed acts furthering the Com- 
munist conspiracy to release Frank Jacson from prison, not all of 
them know the exact purpose of the conspiratorial acts performed by 
them. 

During the years 1942 and 1943, a number of letters from Mexico 
City to New York City, and from New York City to Mexico City, 
were intercepted by the United States Office of Censorship. After 
laboratory examination of the intercepted letters, it was determined 
that these letters contained ciphered messages in invisible ink. When 
the messages were deciphered, they were found to relate to the efforts 
of persons in the United States and in Mexico to free Frank Jacson 
from imprisonment. Further investigation disclosed that an elaborate 
system of mail drops, both in Mexico and the United States, was used 
in the handling of this correspondence. Subsequently, each of these 
mail drops was investigated to determine the scope of his activity as a 
part of the conspiracy to release Frank Jacson. 

Jacob Epstein, 958 Madison Avenue, New York City, was identified 
as the head of the group in Mexico City. This individual is of Russian 
extraction and was born Jacob Eppstein, November 10, 1903, in Brook- 
lyn, N. Y. He attended public schools in New York City and grad- 
uated from Cornell University in 1924. Mr. Epstein is a veteran of 
the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and participated in the Spanish Civil 
War in 1938. The mail drops in Mexico City through which Epstein 
received correspondence from the United States were Mexicans and 
refugee Spaniards, all of whom were "identified as members of the 
Communist Party. Ciphered messages between New York City and 
Mexico ceased in November 1943. Shortly thereafter, Pavel Klarin, 
vice consul of the Soviet consulate general, New York City, was trans- 
ferred to Mexico City. Pavel Klarin is a known close contact of 
Vassili Zublin, who at that time was head of the NKVD (Russian 
secret police) in the United States. Investigation disclosed that Jacob 
Epstein contacted Pavel Klarin upon numerous occasions in Mexico 
City. 

Mr. Epstein appeared before the Committee on Un-American Activi- 
ties in executive session on October 18, 1950. In the course of the 
examination of the witness, he admitted being a former member of 
the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. He also stated that he had resided in 
Mexico City. When asked if he had been a member of the Communist 
Party, he declined to answer the question on the grounds of self- 
incrimination. Epstein also declined to answer any questions pro- 
pounded to him regarding his part in the Communist conspiracy 
mentioned herein on grounds of self-incrimination. 

Other persons interrogated by the committee (residing in United 
States) who acted as mail drops were : 

Lydia Altschuler, 97 Perry Street, New York City : This individual 
was born in Charlottenburg, Germany, and acquired citizenship by 
virtue of her father's naturalization. She attended New Jersey Col- 
lege for Women, Toledo University, and Hunter College. Her present 
occupation is that of a writer. She at one time was employed by the 
Welfare Counsel of New York City, where she was editor of a weekly 
publication called Better Times. From September 1937 to December 



FOREWORD XI 

1944, she was education director of Consumers Union, Inc., in New 
York City. Consumers Union, Inc., was cited as a Communist front 
by the Special Committee on Un-American Activities on March 29, 
1944. She was a member of the Committee of Women of the National 
Counsel of American-Soviet Friendship, an organization cited as Com- 
munist by this committee on March 2'.), 1944. Former Attorney Gen- 
eral Tom Clark cited this organization as Communist on September 21, 
1948. 

Lydia Altschuler appeared as a witness before the Committee on Un- 
American Activities on October 18, 1950, at which time she was af- 
forded the opportunity to affirm or deny her part in the Communist 
conspiracy to release Frank Jacson from imprisonment in Mexico. On 
this occasion she refused to answer all questions relating to her partici- 
pation in this underground movement, on the ground that to do so 
might incriminate her. She likewise refused, on the grounds of self- 
incrimination, to answer questions regarding her membership in the 
Communist Party. 

Barnett Sheppard, 47-14 Two-hundred and Sixty-first Street, Great 
Neck, Long Island, N. Y. : Mr. Sheppard was born in Syracuse, N. Y., 
February 27, 1908. He attended Syracuse public schools, Manlius 
Military Academy, Cascadella Prep School, and attended night school 
at Syracuse University. He appeared before the Committee on Un- 
American Activities October 19, 1950, at which time he stated he was 
unemployed. Sheppard, just as other witnesses in this case, refused to 
answer all questions propounded to him relating to his Communist 
affiliations on the grounds of self-incrimination. He likewise refused 
to answer, on the grounds of self-incrimination, questions regarding 
his Communist Party membership. 

Fanny McPeek, 846 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, N. Y. : Mrs. McPeek 
was born in the city of New York, November 10, 1908. She received her 
elementary education in New York City and attended Hunter College 
for a short period. From 1934 to the summer of 1950, she was em- 
ployed as a clerk at the Washington Irving High School in New York 
City. Mrs. McPeek testified before the Committee on Un-American 
Activities on October 19, 1950, and when asked questions regarding 
Communist Party membership she declined to answer questions on 
the grounds of self-incrimination. She also refused to answer ques- 
tions concerning her participation as a mail drop in the Communist 
effort to release Frank Jacson from prison in Mexico. 

Mrs. Pauline Baskind, 1045 Anderson Avenue, New York City, 
N. Y. : Mrs. Baskind was born in New York City on August 16, 1914. 
She was graduated from Hunter College in New York City, and 
received an M. A. degree from Columbia in 1938. Mrs. Baskind was 
employed by the New York Board of Education from 1936 to 1941 as 
a substitute teacher, and then again from 1947 to 1949 as a full-time 
teacher. 

She testified before the Committee on Un-American Activities on 
August 18, 1950, at which time she was asked if she had voluntarily 
participated in any conspiracy involving the receipt of mail from one 
source and its subsequent transmission to another source. She de- 
clined to answer the question on the ground of self-incrimination. 
She likewise pleaded self-incrimination when asked if she was a mem- 
ber of the Communist Party. 



XII FOREWORD 

Mrs. Frances Silverman, 134 St. Johns Avenue, Yonkers, N. Y. : 
The above individual was born in New York City on July 16, 1913. 
She attended New York City public schools and was graduated from 
City College School of Business in 1935. She was last employed by 
the Board of Education, New York City, from which position she 
resigned on February 1, 1950. 

Mrs. Silverman testified before this committee on October 18, 1950. 
Just as the preceding witnesses, she declined to answer questions re- 
garding Communist Party membership and her participation in the 
afore-mentioned Communist conspiracy to release Frank Jacson from 
imprisonment in Mexico. 

Ethel Vogel, 137 West Eighty-second Street, New York City, N. Y. : 
Mrs. Vogel was born in Worcester, Mass. She attended public schools 
in New York City and was graduated from New York University in 
1929. 

Mrs. Vogel appeared before the Committee on Un-American Activi- 
ties on October 19, 1950. She pleaded self-incrimination when asked 
questions regarding Communist Party membership and gave the same 
answer when asked whether or not she acted as a "mail drop" in the 
conspiracy to release Frank Jacson from prison. 

Helen Levi Simon Travis, 5450 North Road, Armada, Mich. : Mrs. 
Travis was born in New York City on September 3, 1916. She was 
graduated from Bernard College in 1937. 

Mrs. Travis appeared before the Committee on Un-American Ac- 
tivities on August 30, 1950. She testified that she had been employed 
by the Ford Instrument Co., Long Island City, for a short period of 
time in 1943 and 1944, and by the Chrysler Corp. in Detroit, Mich., 
in the summer of 1948. When requested to list additional employment 
she refused to do so on the ground that it might tend to incriminate 
her. Mrs. Travis was formerly employed by the Daily Worker, the 
official Communist Party newspaper in New York City, writing 
under the name of Maxine Levi. 

In addition to the identification of the "mail drop" used in the 
conspiracy to release Jacson, the information in the possession of the 
committee reveals also that the group in Mexico requested funds for 
the use of a "money drop" in Mexico. Shortly after the interception 
of this request by Federal authorities, Helen Levi Simon transferred 
$3,700 to one Enrique de los Rios, the "money drop" in Mexico City. 
This transaction occurred on February 2'1, 1944, at which time Helen 
Levi Simon executed in her own handwriting an application with 
the Chase National Bank in New York City to transfer the said 
amount to the account of the afore-mentioned individual. The appli- 
cation setting forth the foregoing transaction was entered into the 
testimony of August 30, 1950', of Helen Levi Simon Travis as "Travis 
Exhibit No. 5." 

Mr. Philip A. Schmitz, a document analyst employed by the Indemni- 
fication and Detective Division, Veterans' Administration, Washing- 
ton, D. C, testified in executive session before this committee on July 
26, 1950. Mr. Schmitz testified that he had compared the handwriting 
appearing on "Travis Exhibit No. 5" with other documents bearing 
the known handwriting of Helen Levi Simon Travis which had been 
supplied to him by this committee. After adequate examination, he 
reached the conclusion that the handwriting appearing on said docu- 



FOREWORD XIII 

ments was written by one and the same person. Mr. Schmitz's com- 
plete testimony is reprinted in this report. 

Mrs. Travis, in testifying before this committee on August 30, 1950, 
declined to answer all questions relating to the above transaction on 
grounds of self-incrimination. 

Anna Vogel Colloms, Park Trail, Mount Airy Road, Croton-on- 
Hudson : Mrs. Colloms was born in New York City on August 6, 1902. 
She received her elementary training in New York City public schools, 
was graduated from Cornell University in 1921, and attended Colum- 
bia University, where she took graduate courses. 

Mrs. Colloms appeared before this committee on October 19, 1950, 
at which time she testified that she is presently employed by the Board 
of Education, New York City, and is assigned as a teacher to Wash- 
ington Irving High School. 

Investigation of Anna Vogel Colloms by a Government intelligence 
agency disclosed that, in addition to acting as a "mail drop" in this 
conspiracy, she was also a courier in the attempt to free Frank Jaeson 
from prison. 

On August 12, 1943, Anna Vogel Colloms departed from New York 
City for Mexico City, carrying an apparently new box of personal 
stationery. This stationery box contained five sheets of paper com- 
pletely covered with messages in cipher. Mrs. Colloms was not 
allowed to cross over into Mexico with this box of stationery. The 
stationery box was retained by a Government agency which substi- 
tuted other sheets of paper for the original ones bearing the secret 
messages. 

While in Mexico Mrs. Colloms made a half-hearted attempt to con- 
tact Jacob Epstein in Mexico City. She reentered the United States 
on September 3, 1943, at which time the stationery box was returned to 
her by United States customs officials. Upon her return to New York 
City she gave the box of stationery to Ethel Vogel, who in turn trans- 
mitted it to Ruth Wilson Epstein, wife of Jacob Epstein. 

Mrs. Colloms, in her testimony before this committee, followed the 
same course as all other witnesses who were subpenaed in connection 
with this case and refused to answer all questions relating to this, 
matter on grounds of possible self-incrimination. She also refused to 
answer, on the same grounds, the question of whether or not she had 
ever been a member of the Communist Party. 

Sylvia Ageloff testified before the Committee on Un-American 
Activities on December 4, 1950, at which time she stated that she 
had been a member of the Trotskyite party or movement and, while 
a member of this group, had met Frank Jacson, the assassin of Leon 
Trotsky, under the name Jacques Mornard in Paris, France, in June 
1938 through one Ruby Weil, who had made the trip from New York 
to Paris on the same boat with her. She further testified that 
Jacques Mornard had, according to her recollection, illegally entered 
the United States through a forged passport during the month of 
September 1939, which contained the name Frank Jacson. Accord- 
ing to Sylvia Ageloff, Monard then proceeded to Mexico. Sylvia 
Ageloff testified that in January 1940 she went to Mexico and while 
there contacted Leon Trotsky and spent a half hour with him. Dur- 
ing this conversation, according to her testimony, she mentioned to 
Trotsky that she knew Frank Jacson was in Mexico City and was 



XIV FOREWORD 

using a false passport. She said that she then asked Trotsky if he 
considered it advisable for her to see Jacson. According to her 
testimony, after she left Mexico City, she learned that Frank Jacson 
had met Leon Trotsky and had, upon one occasion, conveyed Mr. and 
Mrs. Trotsky to Vera Cruz, Mexico, via motor car. Miss Sylvia Agel- 
off testified that, in her opinion, Frank Jacson would never have been 
permitted to enter the home of Leon Trotsky if she had not made 
known to Trotsky that she had met Frank Jacson. 

On December 4, 1950, Miss Hilda Ageloff, the sister of Sylvia, testi- 
fied before the committee and stated that she had first met Ruby Weil 
in 1936. She said that at this time both she and Ruby Weil were 
members of the American Workers Party. She said that it was she 
who had told Ruby Weil about her sister Sylvia's proposed trip to 
Europe. Hilda Ageloff further testified that she had met Frank 
Jacson upon his arrival in New York City and was aware of the fact 
that her sister Sylvia had met Jacson in Paris through Ruby Weil. 
She also stated that she knew that Jacson had entered the United 
States illegally. Hilda Ageloff further testified that she had been in 
Mexico several times; that upon one occasion she was there with her 
sister, Sylvia; and that upon this occasion she met Leon Trotsky. 
She stated that after the assassination of Trotsky it became obvious 
to her that Jacson was a member of the NKVD or OGPU. 

Ruby Weil testified before the committee on December 1, 1950. 
During her testimony, she stated that she had traveled to Europe on 
the same boat with Sylvia Ageloff during the summer of 1938, and 
that she introduced Sylvia to Jacques., Mornard in Paris. She testi- 
fied that she had never known Mornard under the name Frank Jacson, 
and first heard of Frank Jacson when she read of his part in the 
Trotsky assassination in the newspapers. She testified that she had 
joined the Communist Party in 1936 and ceased relationship with 
it in 1937. She further testified that she had known Louis Budenz 
as a member of the Communist Party and had considerable contact 
with him during the time she was a member of the Conference for 
Progressive Labor Action. She denied the allegations of Louis 
Budenz that she had been assigned to infiltration work for the Com- 
munist Party. 

With reference to the testimony of the Ageloff sisters, it is pointed 
out that, as a result of their names being mentioned in connection 
with this matter by other sources, they have suffered hardships. The 
committee would like to state in their behalf that they cooperated 
fully with the committee and furnished valuable information during 
this particular investigation, despite the personal risk involved by so 
doing. 

Other individuals who were named as "mail drops'' and as members 
of this group were : Ruth Wilson Epstein, wife of Jacob Epstein, who 
served as a nurse in Spain on the Loyalist side during the Spanish 
Civil War in 1937; and Louis S. Bloch, who in 1913 and 1911 was 
employed as a motion-picture operator in New York City. Mr. Bloch 
was born in Lithuania and is a naturalized citizen of the United States. 
He presently resides on the west coast. In addition to being named 
as a "mail drop" in this case, he was named in the secret messages as 
a contact for couriers. These last two individuals were not subpenaed 
for appearance before this committee. 



FOREWORD XV 

Conclusion 

Because of the alertness of United States Government intelligence 
agencies, the attempt to release Frank Jacson from imprisonment in 
Mexico never materialized. However, in analyzing the intelligence 
information in the possession of the Committee on Un-American Ac- 
tivities and the testimony of the witnesses, this case demonstrates that 
the Soviet Government was directly interested in the assassination of 
Leon Trotsky and the subsequent attempt to release his killer from 

prison. . . , . 

1. Mr. Louis Budenz, in his affidavit appearing as part 1 ot this 
report, presents a picture of Soviet supervision in the successful plans 
to have American Communists infiltrate the political party of Trotsky, 
which later led to Leon Trotsky's placing his trust in Frank Jacson 
and Trotsky's eventual assassination. 

2. After the assassination of Leon Trotsky, the first communications 
intercepted by United States authorities, as outlined in part II of this 
report, were in the Russian language. 

3. Louis S. Bloch, who has previously been identified as a contact for 
couriers, was on one occasion met by Mikhail Chaliapin, an employee 
of the Soviet consulate in New York City. Mikhail Chaliapin was 
known by United States Government intelligence agencies as a contact 
of one Gaik Ovakimian, the NKVD representative in the United States 
between 1933 and 1911. 

4. Jacob Epstein is known to have contacted Pavel Klarin, vice 
consul of the Soviet consulate general, New York City, in Mexico 
City, on eight different occasions. Pavel Klarin has been identified 
as a close contact of Vassili Zubilin, who is known to Government 
intelligence agencies as the one-time head of the NKVD of the United 
States. 

From the facts set forth in this report, it is definitely indicated that 
Frank Jacson was of special interest to the NKVD, and is possibly an 
NKVD agent. The case further sets forth the fact that American 
Communists can be, and are, recruited into Communist conspiracies 
which are under the direction of Russian NKVD agents operating in 
the United States. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF THE ASSASSINATION 
OF LEON TEOTSKY 



wednesday, october 18, 1950 

United States House of Representatives, 
Subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D. C. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION 

A subcommittee of one of the Committee on Un-American Activ- 
ities met pursuant to adjournment at 10:30 a. m. in room 226, Old 
House Office Building, Hon. John S. Wood (chairman) presiding. 

Committee member present: Hon. John S. Wood (chairman). 

Staff members present : Frank S. Ta vernier, Jr., counsel ; Donald T. 
Appell, William A. Wheeler, and Courtney E. Owens, investigators. 

Mr. Wood. Let the record show that for the purpose of this hearing 
the chairman has set up a subcommittee of one, consisting of the chair- 
man alone. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Chairman, the first witness is Jacob Epstein. 

Mr. Joseph Forer. Mr. Chairman, we object to the lack of a quorum. 

Mr. Wood. The chairman has set up a subcommittee consisting of 
the chairman alone for the purpose of this hearing. 

Mr. Forer. May the record show that we are going ahead under 
protest, Mr. Chairman ? 

Mr. Wood. Will you stand and raise your right hand, please? You 
solemnly swear the evidence you give this subcommittee shall be the 
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? 

Mr. Epstein. I do. 

TESTIMONY OF JACOB EPSTEIN, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS COUNSEL, 

JOSEPH FORER 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you state your full name ? 
Mr. Epstein. Jacob Epstein. 
Mr. Wheeler. Are you represented by counsel ? 
Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will counsel identify himself for the record? 
Mr. Forer. Joseph Forer. I am a member of the District of Co- 
lumbia bar, 711 Fourteenth Street NW. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Epstein, will you kindly spell your last name? 

Mr. Epstein. E-p-s-t-e-i-n. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you also known as Jacob E-p-p-s-t-e-i-n ? 

Mr. Epstein. No. This appears on my birth certificate. That is the 

only place it ever appeared. 

3345 
74637—51 3 



3346 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wheeler. You have never used the two p's in spelling your 
name ? 

Mr. Epstein. Not that I recall. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where do you presently reside? 

Mr. Epstein. 958 Madison Avenue. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you presently married? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you identify your wife for the record? 

Mr. Epstein. Ruth Epstein. 

Mr. Wheeler. Ruth Wilson Epstein ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Does she presently reside with you ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Is she working? 

Mr. Epstein. She is going to school. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where are you presently employed? 

Mr. Epstein. I am self-employed. I have a furniture business at 986 
Second Avenue. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you please give the committee a resume of your 
educational background ? 

Mr. Epstein. I went to public school, high school, and college. 

Mr. Wheeler. What college did you go to ? 

Mr. Epstein. Cornell. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you graduate from Cornell ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. In what year? 

Mr. Epstein. 1924. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever traveled outside the United States % 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you list the countries that you traveled to ? 

Mr. Epstein. I was in France; I was in Spain; I was in Mexicoy 
that I recall. I may have been in some others. 

Mr. Wheeler. What year were you in France ? 

Mr. Epstein. 1938, 1 believe. 

Mr. Wheeler. And what year were you in Spain ? 

Mr. Epstein. 1938. It was the same year. 

Mr. Wheeler. And that is the only time you have been in either 
France or Spain ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. And what year were you in Mexico ? 

Mr. Epstein. 1940 or 1941 — somewhere in there. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you make more than one trip to Mexico ? 

Mr. Epstein. I am not sure. I don't think so. 

Mr. Wheeler. You can't say positively that you didn't make more 
than one trip to Mexico ? 

Mr. Epstein. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. While in Spain, were you a member of the Abraham 
Lincoln Brigade ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Who solicited your participation in the Abraham 
Lincoln Brigade? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't recall. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall how you traveled to Spain? 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3347 

Mr. Epstein. No. It has been a long time ago. 

Mr. Wheeler. You went by ship ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. And you first went to France ; is that correct ? 

Mr. Epstein. That is right. 

Mr. Wheeler. At that time I believe the United States Government 
was not issuing passports to Spain. How did you get from France to 
Spain? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't know. As well as I recollect, I took a train. 
It was a long time ago and I don't remember all the details. 

Mr. Wheeler. I have a passport application here, No. 9635, exe- 
cuted by Jacob Eppstein. I will hand it to you and ask if this is the 
passport application which you executed. It has a photograph on the 
back and a signature. 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. I think it is mine, but I wouldn't swear. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recognize the photograph ? 

Mr. Epstein. It looks like me, sure. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you live at the address shown on the applica- 
tion at that time ? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't know. It is very hard for me to say. I can't 
remember those details. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Abraham Held ? 

Mr. Epstein. I think I would refuse to answer that on the basis it 
might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Wood. I can't hear you. 

Mr. Epstein. I would refuse to answer that on the basis it might 
tend to incriminate me? 

Mr. Wood. You would refuse? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. That is not sufficient. Do you refuse ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes ; I do refuse. 

Mr. Wheeler. I am merely seeking to help you identify the appli- 
cation. 

Mr. Epstein. Frankly, that seems to be the one I signed. It is a 
long time ago that I signed that — that that took place. 

Mr. Wheeler. Abraham Held is given as your identifying witness, 
who lived at 239 Central Park West, New York City, N. Y. 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you still decline to state whether or not you 
know this individual ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where were you born ? 

Mr. Epstein. Brooklyn. 

Mr. Wheeler. And the date ? 

Mr. Epstein. November 10, 1903. 

Mr. Wheeler. That date of birth corresponds with the date given 
in the passport application. Is this a picture of yourself, that ap- 
pears on that passport application ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes ; I guess so. I think this is my passport. I am 
not sure, but I believe it is. 

Mr. Wheeler. You notice that Eppstein is spelled with two p's ? 

Mr. Epstein. I told you why. My birth certificate was spelled with 
two p's. I never used that spelling except for a thing like this I might. 



3348 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

I don't know why my birth certificate was spelled that way, but I 
know my family spells the name with one p, and all of us spell the name 
with one p, and always have. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Chairman, I would like to introduce this pass- 
port application in evidence as Epstein exhibit 1. 

Mr. Wood. It will be received. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Epstein exhibit 1," is 
filed herewith.) 

Mr. Wheeler. How long were you in Spain ? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't know exactly; half a year; I don't know 
exactly. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you remember the organization you were assigned 
to in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade ? 

Mr. Epstein. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. However, you did participate in the Abraham Lin- 
coln Brigade as a member? 

Mr. Epstein. As well as I can recall ; yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. I have here an application for passport — application 
for registration, signed by Jacob Eppstein the 19th day of November 
1938, and it is attested in Barcelona, Spain. I hand you this appli- 
cation and ask if you can identify it. 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Forer. Will you restate the question ? 

Mr. Wheeler. I asked if you can identify the photostatic copy of 
this application. 

Mr. Epstein. Frankly, it is a long time ago, and I don't know, but 
it seems to be mine. 

Mr. Wood. Is your signature on it? 

Mr. Epstein. My signature is on it, and so the possibilities are it is 
mine, but it is a long time ago and I wouldn't swear "Yes" or "No." 

Mr. Wood. Do you mean you can't identify your own signature ? 

Mr. Epstein. I think it is mine, it looks like mine, but I can't swear 
to it. 

Mr. Wheeler. Look at the photograph on the back. 

Mr. Epstein. I think it is mine. 

Mr. Wood. Is that your photograph ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. There is no use to hedge about it. 

Mr. Epstein. I am not hedging, but I don't want to say something 
that happened many years ago is a thing that I can positively say 
is so. 

Mr. Wood. You can look in a mirror and say it is not your reflection 
if you want to. 

Mr. Epstein. No. I just don't want to say something is definitely 
so when I am not sure of it. 

Mr. Wood. Proceed. 

Mr. Wheeler. This application states you presented United States 
passport No. 9635 to officials of the International Brigades in Figuras, 
Spain. Is that true? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't know. 

Mr. Wheeler. You don't recall ? 

Mr. Epstein. No ; I don't recall. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Chairman, I would like to introduce this appli- 
cation in evidence as Epstein exhibit No. 2. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3349 

Mr. Wood. It will be received. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Epstein Exhibit No. 2," 
is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Wheeler. I hand you a document entitled "Certificate of 
Identity and Registration," signed Jacob Epstein, dated at Barcelona, 
Spain, November 23, 1938, and ask if you can identify this for the 
record ? 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. I really think it is mine. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you satisfied in your own mind that it is yours ? 
It has your signature and photograph. 

Mr. Epstein. Yes ; I would say so. 

Mr. Wheeler. And you were in Spain at that time? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Chairman, I would like to introduce this in 
the record as Epstein exhibit No. 3. 

Mr. Wood. It will be received. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Epstein exhibit No. 3," 
is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Epstein, are you a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Epstein. I refuse to answer that on the basis it might tend to 
incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever been a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mr. Epstein. I refuse to answer on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever been a member of an organization 
that believes in the overthrow of the American Government by force 
and violence ? 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where did you reside in Mexico City? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't remember. 

Mr. Wheeler. What was the purpose of your visit to Mexico? 

Mr. Epstein. Well, I was sort of messed up at the time personally, 
and I decided to go down there and see what I could do by way of 
making some money, and see what I could do down there. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you represent anybody from the United States 
down there, or did you just go on your own behalf ? 

Mr. Epstein. At first I went down to look around and see what was 
doing there, and 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. Well, I would refuse to answer beyond that on the 
same grounds that I gave before. 

Mr. Wood. That to do so might tend to incriminate you? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. I have here a document entitled "Affidavit by Native 
American To Explain Protracted Foreign Residence," signed by 
Jacob Epstein, Dublin 12, Mexico, D. F. Was that your address, 
Dublin 12, Mexico? 

Mr. Epstein. I lived in several places in Mexico. 

Mr. Wood. Did vou live at that address? 



3350 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Epstein. Mr. Wood, it is a long time since I was in Mexico 
and I can't remember. It sounds like a reasonable address for me, 
but I can't remember. 

Mr. Wheeler. This document was executed on December 24, 1943. 
Do you recall living at Dublin 12, Mexico, on that date? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't know. I imagine if I signed a document at 
that time it was at that address. 

Mr. Wheeler. I would like to hand you this document and ask if 
you can identify it. 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. I believe it is mine. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you satisfied in your own mind that it is yours ? 

Mr. Epstein. I believe it is mine. 

Mr. Wheeler. It states in this document you were interested in 
hard fibers and rugs. Is that statement of fact one of the reasons 
why you went to Mexico City? 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know James Marcus, of 10 West Thirty-third 
Street, New York City? 

( The witness conferred with his counsel. ) 

Mr. Epstein. I refuse to answer that on the grounds it would tend 
to incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. I would like to read this into the record. It is an 
extract from the paper that I just handed you and that you identified, 
or, rather, stated that you believed you executed it. 

Mr. Chairman, I would like to offer it in evidence as Epstein ex- 
hibit No. 4. 

Mr. Wood. It will be received. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Epstein Exhibit No. 4," 
is filed herewith. ) 

Mr. Wheeler. And I want to read from this document the reasons 
given for foreign residence : 

I wanted to look around and see what could be done in the way of business. I 
started some business, hard fibers and rugs, but priorities for war stopped for 
time being possibilities. Now I'm waiting to have papers — Mexican — arranged 
to start in furniture export — with an American, James Marcus, 10 West Thirty- 
third Street, New York City. 

Was that a statement of fact ? 

Mr. Epstein. I would refuse to answer that on the same basis, on 
the same grounds. 

Mr. Wheeler. That it is incriminating to be in the furniture export 
business with an American citizen ? 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. I have given you my answer. 

Mr. Wheeler. That is not an answer to my question. 

Mr. Epstein. I am not a lawyer. I don't know. 

Mr. Wheeler. I would like to state for the record that James Mar- 
cus is connected with the Alclon Kug Mills in New York City. 

Do you know Lewis Epstein ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. What relation is he to you ? 

Mr. Epstein. My brother. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3351 

Mr. Wheeler. Does he live at 29 Washington Square West, New 
York City? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Does he presently reside there? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. I hand you photostat of a letter on the letterhead of 
Burney Epstein, Inc., 1410 Broadway, New York 18, dated August 
7, 1944, and addressed to Selective Service System, Local Board No. 
51, 1393 Lexington Avenue, New York, N. Y., signed Jacob Epstein. 
Can you identify that as a letter you mailed to the Selective Service 
Board? 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. I may have sent it. I am sure when I got back here 
I sent them a letter telling them I was here. I am sure this is the 
letter. My brother was living there then. 

Mr. Wheeler. That is your brother, Burney Epstein ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes ; that is my brother. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Chairman, I would like to introduce a photo- 
stat of this letter into the record as Epstein exhibit No. 5. 

Mr. Wood. It will be admitted. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Epstein Exhibit No. 5," 
is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Epstein, are you acquainted with an individual 
known as Lydia Altschuler? 

Mr. Epstein. Frankly, I don't recall any such name. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with an individual named Anna 
Vogel Colloms? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't recall any such name. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Helen Levi Simon ? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't recall any such name. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with a lady by the name of 
Frances Silverman? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't recall any such name. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with a person named Louis S. 
Bloch? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't recall any such name. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with an individual known as 
Fanny McPeek? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't recall any such name. 

Mr. Wheeler. While in Mexico City, did you meet any repre- 
sentatives of the Soviet Government ? 

Mr. Epstein. I refuse to answer that on the grounds it would tend 
to incriminate me. 

(Witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. I would refuse to answer on the basis it would tend 
to degrade or incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever meet an individual by the name of 
Pavel Klarin ? 

Mr. Epstein. I would refuse to answer that on the same grounds. 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Wheeler. Were you sent to Mexico City on request of the 
Communist Party? 

Mr. Epstein. I would refuse to answer that on the same basis that 
I gave you before. 



3352 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wood. It is not a question of what you would do. What do 
you do? 

Mr. Epstein. I do refuse to answer that. 

Mr. Wheeler. Were you sent to Mexico City on request of the Soviet 
Government? 

Mr. Epstein. I would refuse to answer that on the same basis. I 
am sorry, I do refuse, on the same basis. 

Mr. Wheeler. Is it a fact that the reason you were in Mexico City 
was for the purpose of freeing from imprisonment Frank Jacson, the 
individual who assassinated Leon Trotsky in Mexico on August 20, 
1940? , . T 

Mr. Epstein. I refuse to answer that on the same basis I gave before. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever at any time receive mail in Mexico 
City from mail drops in the United States ? 

Mr. Epstein. I refuse to answer that on the same basis. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever receive any ciphered messages from 
the United States? 

Mr. Epstein. I refuse to answer that on the same basis. 

Mr. Owens. Mr. Chairman, may I interpose one question here ? 

Mr. Wood. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. You said you refused to answer on the grounds of self- 
incrimination as to whether you may or may not have been sent to 
Mexico City to obtain the freedom of one Frank Jacson. How could 
a "No" answer to that question incriminate you ? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't know how it could incriminate me, but 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Owens. You still refuse to answer the question on the ground 
of possible self-incrimination? 

Mr. Epstein. On that basis. 

Mr. Wheeler. You have previously stated that you never met an 
individual named Anna Vogel Colloms. 

Mr. Epstein. I didn't say that at all. I said I didn't recall any 
such name. 

Mr. Wheeler. Perhaps you may recall this : In August 1943 a per- 
son left the city of New York with instructions to contact you in 
Mexico City. Do you recall any such incident ? 

Mr. Epstein. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. None at all ? 

Mr. Epstein. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. You were not contacted in August 1943 ? 
(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. I refuse to answer this question on the same basis. 

Mr. Wheeler. You have never met Anna Vogel Colloms ? 

Mr. Epstein. I didn't say that. I said I refuse to answer this on 
the same basis. 

Mr. Wheeler. I don't believe that was your answer. I think you 
said you do not recall ever having met her. Are you changing your 
answer ? 

Mr. Epstein. As I recall this whole thing, you asked me about a 
series of names ; you asked me did I know these names. I said I didn't 
remember them. This is a different question. 

Mr. Wood. Do you mean you mean you haven't been asked by 
counsel if you knew this particular party he is now inquiring about ? 

Mr. Epstein. I said I didn't remember the name. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3353 

Mr. Wood. Now why do you refuse to answer if she contacted you? 

Mr. Forer. That was not the question. The question was whether 
anybody had contacted him. That he refused to answer. Why don't 
you restate the question ? 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever met Anna Vogel Colloms ? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't recall. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you have any knowledge that Anna Vogel Col- 
loms was sent from New York City in August 1943 to contact you in 
Mexico City ? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't recall anything about this. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall if you received instructions from any- 
body that any individual in August 1943 was sent from New York City 
to contact you ? 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it might 
incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. We have information that you contacted Pavel 
Klarin eight times in Mexico City. Is that true or false ? 

Mr. Epstein. I refuse to answer on the basis that it might incrim- 
inate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. I have no further questions, Mr. Wood. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Tavenner ? 

Mr. Tavenner. No, sir. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Owens? 

Mr. Owens. Mr. Chairman, for the record, I would like to bring this 
out: 

Mr. Epstein, would you tell the chairman why we encountered so 
much difficulty in subpenaing you ? 

Mr. Epstein. No difficulty. They went to my brother, and my 
brother called me up. 

Mr. Owens. They went to your brother, and your brother promised 
that he would produce you for service for a subpena, and a period of 3 
weeks elapsed. 

Mr. Epstein. No, sir ; that is not true ; 1 day. 

Mr. Owens. Why hasn't your wife been available for subpena? 
You say you are living with her ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. We have had investigators talking with your brother 
for months now, trying to serve both of you. 

Mr. Epstein. I know nothing about that, and my wife knows 
nothing. 

Mr. Owens. Your brother is Lewis Epstein, of Washington Square ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes ; and I am quite sure my brother would have said 
something to me. 

Mr. Owens. Does your wife come home every night at 958 Madison ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. Why is it your brother would not tell the investigator 
where you lived ? 

Mr. Epstein. I don't know. I don't know what is in his mind. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever appeared before a Federal grand 
jury? 

Mr. Epstein. No, sir. 

74637—51 4 



3354 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Forer. May the record show that Mr. Epstein, in appearing 
here, never received a subpena telling him to appear here on this date. 
He is appearing voluntarily. 

Mr. Owens. It was continued by telegram. 

Mr. Wood. Let us clarify that for the record. 

You got a subpena to come before this committee ? 

Mr. Epstein. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. Are you here in response to that subpena ? 

Mr. Epstein. I think Mr. Forer can make that clearer. 

Mr. Wood. I am asking you. 

Mr. Epstein. I had a subpena. 

Mr. Wood. And you are here in response to that subpena; is that 
right? 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Epstein. I don't know. 

Mr. Wood. If you had not been subpenaed, would you have been 
here ? 

Mr. Epstein. No. But this business of evading the subpena is not 
so. I did not evade the subpena. 

Mr. Wheeler. That is all. 

Mr. Wood. You are excused. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Owens. Mr. Chairman, the next witness is Lydia Altschuler. 

Mr. Wood. Will you please stand and be sworn. You solemnly 
swear the evidence you give this subcommittee shall be the truth, the 
whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? 

Miss Altschuler. I do. 

Mr. Wood. Be seated. 

Let the record show that this hearing is being conducted by Mr, 
Wood as a subcommittee of one. 

TESTIMONY OF LYDIA ALTSCHULER, ACCOMPANIED BY HER 
COUNSEL, EMANUEL BLOCH 

Mr. Owens. Will you please state your full name ? 

Miss Altschuler. Lydia Altschuler. 

Mr. Owens. What is your present address ? 

Miss Altschuler. 97 Perry Street, New York 14, N. Y. 

Mr. Owens. Are you here in response to a subpena served upon you 
and subsequently continued by virtue of telegrams sent to you ? 

Miss Altschuler. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. What is your present occupation ? 

Miss Altschuler. Writer. 

Mr. Owens. Are you accompanied by counsel ? 

Miss Altschuler. I am — Mr. Emanuel Bloch. 

Mr. Owens. Will counsel please identify himself for the record ? 

Mr. Bloch. My full name is Emanuel H. Bloch, 270 Broadway. I 
take a special pride in the "H" in my name. 

Miss Altschuler. I am sorry, Mr. Bloch. 

Mr. Owens. Will you please give the committee a brief resume of 
your educational background? 

Miss Altschuler. I went to Perth Amboy High School, New Jersey 
College for Women, Toledo University, and Hunter College. I never 
graduated. My education was interrupted by marriage. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3355 

Mr. Owens. Will you briefly outline for the committee your employ- 
ment background ? 

Miss Altschuler. How far back would you like me to go ? 

Mr. Owens. From college on. 

Miss Ai/tschuler. It is pretty difficult. I think I started out with 
various odd jobs. I don't even remember the names of the employers. 
Maybe if I work back from the present it would be a little easier for me. 

The last job that I worked on was with the Welfare Council of 
New York City. I was editor of a weekly publication for them called 
Better Times. That started in April 1944. < 

Before that I was with Joidanoff Aviation as editor of technical 
manuals. I worked there from about December 1943 to the end of 
March 1944. 

Before that I was educational director of Consumers' Union, from 
about September 1937 to November or December 1943. 

Before that I was with Inreklama, an advertising agency. That, 
by the way, was about 1932 or 1933 to 1937. 

Before that I was with the Brookwood Labor College for a summer 
in 1932 or 1933 as a bookkeeper. 

Before that I was free lancing for a while, writing stories. 

And before that — I am not at all sure of the dates — I worked in 
the American Birth Control League. 

That is about as far back as I can go and be absolutely certain of 
my facts. 

Mr. Owens. I think that is sufficient. Were you ever a member of 
the Consumers Union of United States, Inc. ? 

Miss Altschuler. I worked for them. 

Mr. Owens. You did work for them ? 

Miss Altschuler. Yes ; for 7 years. 

Mr. Owens. I hand you a photostatic copy of a letter bearing the 
letterhead of Consumers Union of United States, Inc., 17 Union 
Square West, New York, N. Y., dated September 28, 1939, signed by 
Lydia Altschuler. I ask if this letter bears your signature? 

Miss Altschuler. Yes; that is my signature, or a reasonable 
facsimile. 

Mr. Owens. You are satisfied you wrote this letter and that this is 
your signature ? 

Miss Altschuler. It looks like a letter I would have written about 
that period ; yes. 

Mr. Owens. I would like to offer that in evidence as Lydia Alt- 
schuler exhibit No. 1„ 

Mr. Wood. It will be received. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Lydia Altschuler Ex- 
hibit No. 1," is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Owens. Mr. Chairman, I would like to read into the record 
from an official committee publication, Citations, the record of the 
Consumers Union. It appears on page 35 of Citations. 

Cited as a Communist front "headed by the Communist Arthur Kallet (whose 
party name is Edward Adams). Ben Gold and Louis Weinstock, both well- 
known Communists, were also members of the labor advisory committee of 
Consumers Union." (Special Committee on Un-American Activities, report, 
March 29, 1944, p. 153.) 

This organization has also been cited by the California Committee 
on Un-American Activities, report of 1943, as a Communist front. 



3356 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

This organization was cited as "subversive and un-American" by 
a special subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, 
report of April 21, 1943; and the following is quoted from a report 
of the New York City Council Committee investigating the municipal 
civil service commission: 

On its labor advisory board were Ben Gold, an avowed Communist and leader 
of tbe joint board, Furriers Union, * * * Louis Weinstock. 

Miss Altschuler, were you ever a member of the Committee of 
Women of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship ? 

Miss Altschuler. I must refuse to answer that question on the 
ground that it might incriminate me. 

Mr. Wood. Do you so refuse? 

Miss Altschuler. I do refuse. 

Mr. Owens. Mr. Chairman, I have here a photostatic copy of a 
letter bearing the letterhead of the Commiteee of Women of the 
National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, Inc., 114 East 
Thirty-second Street, New York 16, N. Y. The letter is dated March 
1, 1948. The second page of this letter lists a number of women 
and identifies them as the Committee of Women of this organiza- 
tion. The name Miss Lydia Altschuler appears on this list. The 
letter bearing the letterhead of the Committee of Women of the 
Gimbel and Miss Freda Diamond, vice chairmen ; and Mrs. Lionel C. 
Perera, Jr., treasurer. 

Will you examine this document, Miss Altschuler, and state whether 
or not that is your name that appears on the second page of that 
letter? 

Mr. Bloch. It is conceded that her name does appear on it. 

Mr. Wood. Let the witness answer. 

Miss Altschuler. It is my name. I don't know of anyone else 
who has that name. 

Mr. Owens. I desire to offer that in evidence as Lydia Altschuler 
exhibit No. 2. 

Mr. Wood. It is received. 

(The document above referred to, marked "Lydia Altschuler Ex- 
hibit No. 2," is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Owens. Miss Altschuler, did you ever attempt to acquire a 
passport to visit the Soviet Union ? 

Miss Altschuler. I have attempted to acquire a visa to visit the 
the Soviet Union. I was not successful in so doing. Had I been 
able to acquire a visa, I would have applied for a passport. 

Mr. Owens. Was the visa denied you? 

Miss Altschuler. It was not denied. I never got an answer. Wait 
a minute. I should say I never got a formal answer. I was told 
when I inquired that I could not get one. The last time I tried I 
filled out an application form, and so forth, but I never did get an 
answer as to whether I could get a visa or not. 

Mr. Wood. You mean the State Department ignored your applica- 
tion? 

Miss Altschuler. I never applied to the State Department. 

Mr. Wood. To whom did you apply ? 

Miss Altschuler. To the Soviet Embassy. As you know, it is 
hard to get a visa to the Soviet Union, and therefore I wanted to be 
sure of that before applying for a passport. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3357 

Mr. Wood. Did the Soviet Embassy ignore your application for 
a visa? 

Miss Altschtjler. No. They sent me a form to fill out, and I filled 
it out, and I have not heard since. I sent them a follow-up letter, and 
they said they would let me know when there was something to know, 
and I have heard nothing further. 

Mr. Wood. When did you make that application? 

Miss Altschuler. In the spring of 1949. 

Mr. Wood. So your application is still pending for a visa ? 

Miss Altschuler. You could say so ; yes. 

Mr. Owens. Did you make application for passport ? 

Miss Altschtjler. No. 

Mr. Owens. You have never made application for passport? 

Miss Altschuler. No. 

Mr. Owens. What are the names of your parents? 

Miss Altschuler. My father's name is Simon Altschuler. My 
mother's name is Vera Altschuler. Her maiden name was Vera Trif on. 

Mr. Wood. Did I understand you to say you had been married ? 

Miss Altschuler. Yes, twice. 

Mr. Wood. What is your married name ? 

Miss Altschuler. Strong. 

Mr. Wood. At the present time? 

Miss Altschuler. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. Then you are known as Mrs. Strong? 

Miss Altschuler. I use the name Altschuler professionally. 

Mr. Owens. Where do your parents presently reside? 

Miss Altschuler. Moscow. 

Mr. Owens. How long have they resided there ? 

Miss Altschuler. Since 1932 or 1933. 

Mr. Owens. Have they visited you since? 

Miss Altschuler. No. They have not been back to this country 
since that time. 

Mr. Owens. Was your father, prior to going to Moscow ever em- 
ployed by Amtorg Trading Corp. ? 

Miss Altschuler. He was. 

Mr. Owens. Can you tell the committee how long he was so em- 
ployed, and the dates? 

Miss Altschuler. I don't know those dates. 

Mr. Owens. Could you approximate? 

Miss Altschuler. I could only say that it was sometime between 
1926 and 1933. I don't know, really, whether it was a year or just when 
it was, but it was in that period. 

Mr. Owens. Miss Altschuler, the committee is presently investigat- 
ing an underground Communist group which was assigned to free 
Frank Jacson from imprisonment in Mexico. Frank Jacson is pres- 
ently serving time in Mexico for the assassination of Leon Trotsky on 
August 20, 1940. According to confidential information in the posses- 
sion of the committee, Jacob Epstein was sent to Mexico City as head 
of this underground group. This underground group used an elabo- 
rate system of mail drops for receiving communications to and from 
Mexico. I will read to you part of that confidential information : 

In the United States, the mail drops were determined to be Lydia Altschuler, 
the educational director of the Consumers Union of the United States, Inc., whose 
family resides in the Soviet Union * * * 



3358 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Do you desire to make any comment on the information just read to 
you? 

Miss Altschuler. Yes. I have a statement. It is a brief statement 
commenting on this question. 

Mr. Wood. On that particular question? 

Miss Altschuler. On that particular question. 

Mr. Wood. Proceed. 

Miss Altschuler. In the summer of 1946 I was approached and 
questioned by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation concern- 
ing the principal matter about which I expect to be questioned today — 
that is, what you just read to me. I responded to their inquiries 
voluntarily, fully, and frankly. Had the authorities believed that I 
was guilty of any crime, or had they not been satisfied with my explana- 
tion, they could and should have leveled criminal charges against me. 

However, the resurrection of the matters covered by the FBI in 1942, 
raised at this time to the dignity of a congressional hearing, has placed 
me under apprehension that irresponsible innuendoes are being trans- 
formed into criminal accusations. 

I have always been and am a loyal and law-abiding citizen of the 
United States. I protest against being summoned here and having 
my reputation smeared by fantastic charges. 

Mr. Wood. You have made your statement. Now what is your 
reply to the question ? 

Miss Altschuler. I must refuse to answer any further questions 
on that matter on the ground that it may be used to incriminate me. 

Mr. Owens. Has this committee leveled any charges against you, 
or smeared you ? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Miss Altschuler. I take it that these charges that you are now mak- 
ing are similar to the charges 

Mr. Owens. What charges have we made ? 

Miss Altschuler. The statement you just read, for instance, that 
I was a mail drop. They are similar to the charges made by Larry 
Kerley of the staff of the Journal- American before a Senate commit- 
tee and later used by his newspaper as background for irresponsible 
statements about me. 

Mr. Wood. Isn't this a good place to deny those statements? 

Miss Altschuler. I have denied them to the FBI. 

Mr. Wood. Do you deny them now ? 

Miss Altschuler. I have made this statement, which I think cov- 
ers the matter. 

Mr. Wood. Do you categorically deny that you were used as a mail 
drop in these underground activities ? 

Miss Altschuler. I am stating that I explained this matter to the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation. I will state further, I have never 
voluntarily participated in any matter against the interests of the 
United States. 

Mr. Wood. That still does not answer the question. 

Mr. Bloch. May I help out so that you will get a responsive answer 
to the question? 

(Mr. Bloch and the witness conferred.) 

Miss Altschuler. I desire to avail myself of my constitutional 
privilege under the Constitution. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3359 

Mr. Wood. And for that reason do you refuse to answer the ques- 
tion? 

Miss Altschtjler. I do. 

Mr. Owens. You said you have never voluntarily participated in 
any action prejudicial to the interests of the United States. Have 
you ever involuntarily participated in any such action? 
Miss Altschtjler. I must decline to answer the question. 
Mr. Wood. I would like to believe that you have no connection with 
this matter at all, and I was giving you an opportunity to deny any 
such connection. 

Miss Altschtjler. If you want to check with the FBI you can do 
that, 

Mr. Wood. We are checking with you, now, which I think is the 
highest authority we can have. Do you decline to answer the question ? 

Miss Altschtjler. I believe my statement covers the matter. 

Mr. Wood. Very well. 

Mr. Owens. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the 
Communist Party? 

Miss Altschtjler. I must decline to answer the question on two 
grounds, first, on the ground my answer might tend to incriminate me ; 
and, second, because the question deals with political beliefs, and as 
such constitutes an infringement on the right of free speech and free 
assembly as guaranteed by the Constitution. 

Mr. Wood. You said you must decline. Do you decline? 

Miss Altschtjler. I do decline. 

Mr. Wood. For the reasons stated? 

Miss Altschtjler. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with Ruth Wilson, also known as 
Ruth Wilson Epstein ? 

Miss Altschtjler. I must decline to answer on the grounds of self- 
incrimination. 

Mr. Wood. Do you decline? 

Miss Altschtjler. I do. 

Mr. Owens. Are you now or have you ever been acquainted with 
Jacob Epstein? 

Miss Altschtjler. I decline to answer on the same ground. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with Barnett Shepard? 

Miss Altschtjler. That name means nothing to me. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with Fanny McPeek? 

Miss Altschtjler. That name means nothing to me. 

Mr. Owens. Have you ever met Anna Vogel Colloms ? 

Miss Altschtjler. Nothing. 

Mr. Bloch. You say "nothing" ? 

Miss Altschtjler. The name means nothing to me. 

Mr. Wood. Do I understand from that you have no recollection of 
ever having met her ? 

Miss Altschtjler. In my work in Consumers Union, I have met 
thousands of people. It is impossible for me to answer "no" to the 
question whether I am acquainted with somebody. 

Mr. Wood. You have no recollection ; is that correct ? 

Miss Altschtjler. That is correct. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with Pauline Baskind ? 

Miss Altschtjler. I met her this morning. 



3360 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Owens. For the first time ? 

Miss Altsciittler. That is right. 

Mr. Bloch. May I clarify the record in that respect? I represent 
Pauline Baskind, who has been subpenaed to appear here this morn- 
ing. I also represent Frances Silverman, who was subpenaed to ap- 
pear here this morning. And I introduced my clients to each other 
in the lobby of the Burlington. 

Mr. Owens. Were you acquainted with Frances Silverman before 
you met her this morning? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Miss Altschuler. No. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with or have you ever met Helen 
Levi Simon ? 

Miss Altschuler. I decline to answer. 

Mr. Owens. On what ground? 

Miss Altschuler. On the grounds of the fifth amendment. 

Mr. Owens. Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions. 

Mr. Wood. Were you born in the United States ? 

Miss Altschuler. I was born in Charlottenburg, Germany. 

Mr. Wood. Are your parents native Americans ? 

Miss Altschuler. No. My parents were born in Russia. 

Mr. Wood. Are you now a citizen of the United States? 

Miss Altschuler. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. When did you become a citizen ? 

Miss Altschuler. I became a citizen on my father's papers. If you 
want that date I can look it up. 

Mr. Wood. Approximately. 

Miss Altschuler. Approximately 1930. 

Mr. Wood. Are your parents citizens of the United States? 

Miss Altschuler. Are they, or were they ? They were. Whether 
they are now, I can't answer. I don't know. 

Mr. Wood. Do you recall approximately when you became a nat- 
uralized citizen? 

Miss Altschuler. In 1930. I was naturalized on my father's 
papers. 

Mr. Wood. Any further questions ? 

Mr. Owens. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Tavenner? 

Mr. Tavenner. No questions. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Wheeler ? 

Mr. Wheeler. No questions. 

Mr. Wood. The witness will be excused. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Chairman, the next witness is Mrs. Pauline 
Baskind. 

Mr. Wood. Will you raise your right hand, please, and be sworn. 
You solemnly swear the evidence you give this subcommittee shall be 
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? 

Mrs. Baskind. I do. 

Mr. Wood. Have a seat. Let the record show that the same sub- 
committee is presiding in the hearing of this witness. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3361 

TESTIMONY OF PAULINE C. BASKIND, ACCOMPANIED BY HER 
COUNSEL, EMANUEL H. BLOCH 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you please state your full name ? 

Mrs. Baskind. Pauline C. Baskind. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you represented by counsel ? 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes, Mr. Bloch. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will counsel please identify himself for the record? 

Mr. Bloch. Emanuel H. Bloch, 270 Broadway, New York City. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mrs. Baskind, when and where were you born? 

Mrs. Baskind. I was born in New York City on August 16, 1914. 

Mr. Wheeler. You are appearing before this committee in response 
to a subpena served upon you ? 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes, there was a subpena served upon me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you give the committee a brief resume of your 
educational background ? 

Mrs. Baskind. I am a graduate of Hunter College in New York 
City. I have a B. A. degree from there and an M. A. degree from 
Columbia. 

Mr. Wheeler. What years did you graduate? 

Mrs. Baskind. I graduated from Hunter with a B. A. in 1934, and 
I got my master's, I don't remember whether Februarv 1937 or Febru- 
ary 1938— February 1938. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is your present occupation? 

Mrs. Baskind. None. 

Mr. Wheeler.' Housewife? 

Mrs. Baskind. I am a housewife; yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever been employed I 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes ; I have. 

Mr. AVheeler. Will you please tell the committee your employment 
since you graduated from Columbia? 

Mrs. Baskind. My only employment has been in the field of teach- 
ing. Do you want to know the years that I taught ? 

Mr. Wheeler. Yes. 

Mrs. Baskind. From 1936 to 1941 1 worked on and off. I was known 
as a substitute teacher. 

Mr. Bloch. Where? 

Mrs. Baskind. In many, many schools in the city. 

Mr. Wheeler. Within the educational system of New York City ? 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Over what period of years ? 

Mrs. Baskind. From 1936 to 1941 I did what they call day-to-day 
substituting. Then from 1947 to 1949, I worked those 2 years regu- 
larly. 

Mr. Wheeler. And from 1941 to 1947 were you employed? 

Mrs. Baskind. No. I was home having babies. 

Mr. Wheeler. You are married? 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. And what is your husband's name? 

Mrs. Baskind. Albert Baskind. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is his present employment ? 

Mrs. Baskind. He works for a firm now as production manager. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is the name of that firm ? 

74037—51 5 



3362 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mrs. Baskind. Maid-Rite Novelty Corporation. 

Mr. Wheeler. Was your husband formerly employed by the Gov- 
ernment in New York City? 

Mrs. Baskind. In New York City ? 

Mr. Wheeler. Or any place ? 

Mrs. Baskind. He didn't work in New York City. For a while he 
worked for the Government, I believe. 

Mr. Wheeler. What branch of the Government ? 

Mrs. Baskind. I don't remember. May I ask advice of counsel? 

Mr. Wheeler. Certainly. 

(The witnesses conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes ; he worked, I don't remember the years, but I 
think it was 1 or 2 years, at an Army base as a timekeeper. I think it 
was 1942 and 1943, but I am not sure. I think he worked 1 or 2 years. 

Mr. Wheeler. Was he ever employed as an attorney in the Office 
of Price Administration in New York City ? 

Mrs. Baskind. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Is your husband an attorney ? 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes ; he is an attorney. _ 

Mr. Wheeler. But he never worked for the Office of Price Admin- 
istration ? 

Mrs. Baskind. No. '- 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever been a member of the Communist 

Party ? 

Mrs. Baskind. I decline to answer on constitutional grounds of 

self-incrimination. „ ■ '';'.- 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you presently a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mrs. Baskind. I refuse to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Ruth Wilson, also known 
as Ruth Wilson Epstein ? 

Mrs. Baskind. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Jacob Epstein? 

Mrs. Baskind. No. ■■'•»• 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Lydia Altschuler ? 

Mrs. Baskind. I met her for the first time this morning. Mr. 
Bloch introduced me to her. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Fanny McPeek k 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes ; I know her. 

Mr. Wheeler. In what connection? 

Mrs. Baskind. When I was working from 1947 to 1949 she was m 
the same school I was. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know her to be a member ot the Communist 

Party ? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Baskind. I decline to answer on consitutional grounds ot 
self-incrimination. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Anna Vogel Colloms ? 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. In what connection do you know her ? 

Mrs. Baskind. Also through teaching. 

Mr. Wheeler. She was also a teacher m the New York school 
system ? 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3363 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever know her to be a member of the Com- 
munist Party ? 

Mrs. Baskind. I decline to answer on the constitutional ground of 
self-incrimination. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Ethel Vogel ? 

Mrs. Baskind. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Frances Silverman? 

Mrs. Baskind. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. When did you meet Frances Silverman? 

Mrs. Baskind. Just a minute. When I met Mrs. Colloms I did not 
meet her from 1947 to 1949. I met her previously to that, in 1940 
and 1941, when I was working in another school. 

Mr. Wheeler. How about Frances Silverman \ 

Mrs. Baskind. I met her in the same school in 1940. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know her to be a member of the Communist 
Party ? 

Mrs. Baskind. I decline to answer on constitutional grounds of 
self-incrimination. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Helen Levi Simon ? 

Mrs. Baskind. jS t o. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mrs. Baskind, the committee, in the course of this 
investigation, received information from a confidential source which 
outlines an attempt of American Communists to free from imprison- 
ment Frank Jacson, the individual who assassinated Leon Trotsky in 
Mexico on August 20, 1940. This information gives in detail the 
names of the individuals who participated in this underground move- 
ment, and also the names of various individuals used as mail drops; 
that is, these individuals were part of a system which assisted in trans- 
mitting code messages to and from Mexico City to individuals in- 
volved in this conspiracy. The following is quoted in regard to your 
participation in this Communist effort : 

Other individuals named as members of the group in the secret writing mes- 
sages were Pauline Baskind, a native-born citizen of Russian parents residing in 
New York whose husband, Albert Saul Baskind, is an attorney with the Office 
of Price Administration in New York City. Pauline Baskind was named as a 
mail drop. 

Do you have any comment to make on this statement I have just 
read to you ? 

Mrs. Baskind. No; I have no comment. 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Baskind. I decline to answer that on the same constitutional 
ground of self-incrimination. 

Mr. Wheeler. I would like to ask if you voluntarily participated in 
any conspiracy involving receiving mail and transmitting it to other 
sources ? 

Mrs. Baskind. I decline to answer that on constitutional grounds. 

Mr. Wheeler. You refuse to answer whether it was voluntary or 
involuntary ? 

Mrs. Baskind. I refuse to answer at all. 

Mr. Owens. How could a "no" answer possibly incriminate you ? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Baskind. I don't want to answer that. 

Mr. Wheeler. You don't deny the information I have just read? 

Mrs. Baskind. I refuse to answer that. 



3364 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wheeler. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Tavenner? 

Mr. Tavenner. No questions. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Owens? 

Mr. Owens. No questions. 

Mrs. Baskind. Mr. Chairman, is it possible for me to make a 
statement ? 

Mr. Wood. You mean in connection with the matter about which 
you have been interrogated? 

Mrs. Baskind. I guess it is. 

Mr. Wood. You may make a statement in regard to that. First of 
all, before you make a statement, I think you should answer the ques- 
tion. There is nothing here to make a statement about. You de- 
clined to answer. I don't see how a statement could be informative 
to the committee. Since you decline to answer the question, we must 
reach the necessary inference that your answer would incriminate you. 
Therefore, there is nothing to make a statement about. 

Mr. Bloch. Mr. Chairman, not "would" incriminate her ; "might" 
incriminate her. I think this witness would like to make the same 
kind of statement, in substance, that Lydia Altschuler made, about 
having answered inquiries to the FBI on this very question. 

Mr. Wood. We are not interested in that, Mr. Bloch. When a wit- 
ness says she refuses to answer a question because to do so might tend 
to incriminate her, then a protestation of being a loyal American 
citizen is window dressing. 

Mr. Bloch. Of course, you and I may disagree on that. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever appeared before a United States 
grand jury? 

Mrs. Baskind. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Wood. The witness is excused. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Owens. Mr. Chairman, the next witness is Mrs. Frances Silver- 
man. 

Mr. Wood. Will you hold up your right hand, please, and be sworn. 
Do you solmenly swear the evidence you give this subcommittee shall 
be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you 
God? 

Mrs. Silverman. I do. 

Mr. Wood. Have a seat. 

Let the record show that this same subcommittee, consisting of the 
chairman alone, is conducting this hearing. 

TESTIMONY OP FRANCES SILVERMAN, ACCOMPANIED BY HER 
COUNSEL, EMANUEL H. BLOCH 

Mr. Owens. Will you please state your full name? 
Mrs. Silverman. Frances Silverman. 
Mr. Owens. "What is your present address ? 
Mrs. Silverman. 134 St. Johns Avenue, Yonkers. 
Mr. Owens. "When and where were you born ? 
Mrs. Silverman. I was born in the United States July 16, 1913. 
Mr. Owens. You are here in answer to a subpena served upon you 
and subsequently continued by virtue of telegrams sent to you ? 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3365 

Mrs. Silverman. Yes. 

Mr. Owexs. Are you represented by counsel ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Yes. 

Mr. Owexs. Will counsel please identify himself for the record? 

Mr. Block. Emanuel H. Bloch, 270 Broadway, New York City. 

Mr. Wood. You are at liberty to consult with your counsel at any 
time you desire. 

Mr. Owexs. What is your present occupation ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Housewife. 

Mr. Owexs. Before we go any further into your occupational back- 
ground, will you give the committee a brief resume of your educational 
background '. 

Mrs. Silvermax. I was graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High 
School in 1931, and from City College, School of Business, in 1935; 
then subsequently I took courses in City College in the evenings 
for my master's, but never completed it. 

Mr. Owexs. You stated you are a housewife. Now. Have you been 
employed in the past ? 

Mrs. Silvermax. Yes. 

Mr. Owexs. Please outline for the committee the positions you have 
held since graduating from college. 

Mrs. Silvermax. My first job was as bookkeeper in a tobacco sales 
firm. Then I worked for Cooperative Distributors, a mail-order 
house which subsequently went out of business. Then I was a teacher 
in training, then substitute teacher, then regular teacher. Then I 
resigned, and then I was reinstated after my resignation. I resigned, 
I don't remember the exact year, 1916 or so. 

Mr. Owexs. Is that your last period of gainful employment ? 

Mrs. Silvermax. No. Then I went back for a year and a half as a 
school teacher. 

Mr. Owexs. When did you cease your occupation as a school 
teacher ? 

Mrs. Silvermax. February 1, 1950. 

Mr. Owexs. What is your husband's name? 

Mrs. Silvermax. Saul Silverman. 

Mr. Owexs. What is his occupation? 

Mrs. Silvermax. He is in the novelty business. 

Mr. Owexs. Mrs. Silverman, have you ever been a member of the 
Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee? 

Mrs. Silvermax. May I consult with counsel? 

Mr. Owexs. Surely. 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Silvermax. I decline to answer on grounds of self-incrimina- 
tion. 

Mr. Owexs. Mrs. Silverman, the Daily Worker of December 1, 1918, 
on page 7, lists you as a speaker at a Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Com- 
mittee rally in Brooklyn. Is that a correct statement of fact or not? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Silvermax. No. That is not a statement of fact. 

Mr. Owexs. You deny, then, that you were a speaker at a Joint 
Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee rally in Brooklyn in December 1918 ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Absolutely. 

Mr. Bloch. Just to clarify the record, I suppose the statement in 
the newspaper is factually correct. I mean, it probably did appear 



3366 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

in the newspaper. I just want to clarify that what this witness is 
saying is that she never was a speaker. 

Mr. Wood. What 3-011 say is that you did not appear as a speaker on 
that occasion? 

Mrs. Silverman. Never. 

Mr. Wood. Under the auspices of that organization; is that right? 

Mrs. Silverman. That is right. 

Mr. Wood. Did you authorize your name to be listed or carried in 
the publication? 

Mrs. Silverman. No. I have never been a speaker. I can't speak, 
I don't know how, and I never would have approved myself as a 
speaker in any organization of any type. 

Mr. Wood. Did you know you were listed as a speaker ? 

Mrs. Silverman. No. I never heard of that article before. 

Mr. Wood. Did you attend that meeting on that date ? 

Mrs. Silverman. No. This is entirely new to me. 

Mr. Owens. The Daily Worker of December 9, 1948, lists you as 
chairman of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee. Would you 
like. to comment on that article? 

Mrs. Silverman. What is the date? 

Mr. Owens. December 9, 1948. 

Mrs. Silverman. Could I possibly have the context of the whole 
article ? 

Mr. Owens. This article lists officers and members of the Joint 
Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, and your name is listed with the 
word "Chairman" next to it. That is on page 2 of the Daily Worker 
of December 9, 1948. 

Mrs. Silverman. May I please confer with counsel ? 

Mr. Owens. Yes. 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Silverman. I don't know how to answer that. 

Mr. Blooh. Off the record. 

Mr. Wood. Off the record. 

(A statement was made off the record by Mr. Bloch.) 

Mr. Owens. This will get the record straight with reference to 
you, then. We realize Frances Silverman may very easily be a 
common name. This is a chance for you to deny or affirm these 
assertions in the Daily Worker. 

Mrs. Silverman. I was never chairman of any meeting. 

Mr. Owens. Were you ever a member of the Joint Anti-Fascist 
Refugee Committee ? 

Mrs. Silverman. I have answered that. I decline to answer that 
on the ground of self-incrimination. 

Mr. Owens. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mrs. Silverman. I decline to answer on grounds of self-incrimina- 
tion. 

Mr. Owens. Mrs. Silverman, the committee is presently investigat- 
ing an underground Communist group which was assigned to free 
Frank Jacson from imprisonment in Mexico. Frank Jacson is pres- 
ently serving time in Mexico for the assassination of Leon Trotsky on 
August 20, 1940. According to confidential information in the pos- 
session of the committee, Jacob Epstein was sent to Mexico City 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3367 

as head of this underground group. This underground group used 
an elaborate system of mail drops for receiving communications to 
and from Mexico. I will read to you from this confidential informa- 
tion pertinent parts pertaining to your alleged participation in this 
movement : 

Other individuals named as members of the group in the secret writing 
messages were Pauline Baskind, a native-born citizen of Russian parents resid- 
ing in New York. Louis S. Bloch, a naturalized citizen born in Lithuania and 
employed as a motion-picture operator in New York City, was named in the 
secret writing messages as a contact for couriers. Bloch has stated that he 
has been employed by the Soviet Government in motion-picture work and that 
his brother-in-law is in charge of motion-picture work for the Soviet Govern- 
ment. Frances Silverman, a native-born citizen formerly Weinrib, only one 
of whose parents was born in Europe, is a member of the Teachers Union of 
the City of New York but is not employed at the present time. She was named 
in the secret writing messages as a mail drop. 

Do you have any comment to make on the information just read to 
you? 

Mrs. Silverman. May I confer with counsel ? 

Mr. Owens. Yes. 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Silverman. I decline to comment on the ground of self-in- 
crimination. 

Mr. Owens. Silverman is your married name ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. Was your maiden name Weinrib ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. Were you a member of the Teachers Union of the city 
of Xew York ? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Silverman. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. Is that local 555 ? 

Mrs. Silverman. I think it is now local 555. 

Mr. Owens. Were you engaged in such activities as alleged in this 
statement I just read to you? 

Mrs. Silverman. I must decline to answer on grounds of self-in- 
crimination. 

Air. Wood. Do you decline ? 

Mrs. Silverman. I do decline. 

Mr. Owens. Will you tell me how a denial of these accusations would 
be incriminating? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Silverman. I decline to answer. 

Air. Owens. Did you understand my last question ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with Ruth Wilson, also known as 
Ruth Wilson Epstein? 

Airs. Silverman. May I confer with my counsel ? 

Mr. Ovens. Yes. 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Silverman. I have never heard that name before. 

Mr. Owens. To the best of your recollection you have never met 
her or been acquainted with her? 

Mrs. Silverman. That is correct. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with Lydia Altschuler \ 



3368 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mrs. Silverman. I met her this morning. Mr. Bloch introduced 
me to her. 

Mr. Owens. You had never known her before? 

Mrs. Silverman. No. 

Mr. Owens. Do you know Barnett Shepard ? 

Mrs. Silverman. I never heard of him. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with Fanny McPeek ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Yes. She was clerk at school when I taught 
there. 

Mr. Owens. What school ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Washington Irving High School. 

Mr. Owens. In New York City ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. Are you still acquainted with Fanny McPeek ? 

Mrs. Silverman. I don't see her socially. We don't live near each 
other. 

Mr. Owens. Do you have any reason to contact her ? 

Mrs. Silverman. No. She lives in Brooklyn and I live in Yonkers, 
and we both have children and are quite busy. 

Mr. Owens. Did you ever meet Anna Vogel Colloms ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Yes. She was also a teacher at Washington 
Irving High School. 

Mr. Owens. Do you maintain relations with her ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Not since I stopped teaching. 

Mr. Owens. Have you ever met Ethel Vogel '( 

Mrs. Silverman. No. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with. Pauline Baskind ? 

Mrs. Silverman. Yes. She taught at Washington Irving High 
School too. 

Mr. Owens. Do you know Louis S. Bloch ? 

Mrs. Silverman. No. 

Mr. Bloch. Incidentally, no relation. 

Mr. Owens. Have you ever met Helen Levi Simon ? 

Mrs. Silverman. No. 

Mr. Owens. Do you know Jacob Epstein ? 

Mrs. Silverman. No. 

Mr. Owens. Of these individuals you have admitted knowing, did 
you know any of them as members of the Communist Party? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Silverman. I decline to answer on grounds of self-incrimina- 
tion. 

Mr. Owens. Mrs. Silverman, you seemed very willing to set the 
record straight with reference to this information in the Daily 
Worker with regard to one Frances Silverman. That information, to 
me, is not half so incriminating as the information that I read to you. 
Why aren't you as willing to set the record straight as to that as you 
were with reference to the Daily Worker quotations? 

Mr. Bloch. Mr. Chairman, I think that is a question loaded with 
editorial implications. I know an attorney is not permitted to raise 
objections, but 

Mr. Wood. You may advise your client. 

Mrs. Silverman. I decline to answer. 

Mr. Owens. I just wanted to give the witness another chance to 
reconsider her answers. I have no further questions. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3369 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Tavenner? 

Mr. Tavenner. No questions. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Wheeler? 

Mr. Wheeler. No questions. 

Mr. Bloch. I would like to clarify for the record, when the witness 
talked about her occupation 1 believe she said she terminated her em- 
ployment as school teacher in February 1950. I would like the witness 
to clarify that for the record. She may still be formally attached to 
the school system. 

Mrs. Silverman. I have not officially resigned. I have been on 
leave since February 1. 1950. 

Mr. Wood. What did you say your husband's name was I 

Mrs. Silverman. Saul Silverman. 

Mr. Wood. When were you married ? 

Mrs. Silverman. June 1938. 

Mr. Wood. That will be all. thank you. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Wood. The subcommittee stands adjourned until 10 : 30 tomor- 
row morning. 

(Thereupon, at 12:25 p. m. on Wednesday, October 18, 1950, an 
adjournment was taken until Thursday, October 19, 1950, at 10:30 
a. m.) 



74637—51- 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF THE ASSASSINATION OF 
LEON TKOTSKY 



THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1950 

United States House of Representatives, 

Subcommittee of the Committee on 

Un-American Activities. 

Washington, D. C. 
executive session 

A subcommittee of one of the Committee on Un-American Activi- 
ties met pursuant to adjournment at 10:30 a. m. in room 22u, Old 
House Office Building, Hon. John S. Wood (chairman) presiding. 

Committee member present: Representative John S. Wood (chair- 
man). 

Staff members present : William A. Wheeler and Courtney E. Owens, 
investigators. 

Mr. Wood. Are you ready to proceed ? 

Mr. Wheeler. Yes. Mr. Chairman, the first witness this morning 
is Mrs. Anna Vogel Colloms. 

Mr. Wood. Let the record show that for the purpose of this hearing 
today the chairman has set up a subcommittee consisting of the chair- 
man alone. 

Mr. Foker. May the record show that we have objected to the lack 
of a quorum and that we are proceeding under protest. 

Mr. Wood. There is a quorum present. In fact, the whole subcom- 
mittee is present. 

Will you raise your right hand and be sworn, please? Do you 
solemnly swear the evidence you give this subcommittee shall be the 
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? 

Mrs. Colloms. I do. 

Mr. Wood. Have a seat, please. 

For the information of counsel, the resolution creating this com- 
mittee provides for the taking of testimony by the whole committee 
or by a subcommittee designated by the chairman. As chairman, I 
have designated myself a subcommittee of one for the purposes of 
these hearings, and I am here. 

Mr. Forer. I want to add that this witness was subpenaed to ap- 
pear before the committee and not be fore a subcommittee. 

TESTIMONY OF ANNA VOGEL COLLOMS, ACCOMPANIED BY HER 
COUNSEL, JOSEPH FORER 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you please state your full name? 

Mrs. Colloms. Anna Vogel Colloms. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you represented by counsel ? 

3371 



3372 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mrs. Colloms. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will counsel identify himself for the record? 

Mr. Forer. Joseph Forer. I am a member of the District of Co- 
lumbia bar. My address is 711 Fourteenth Street NW. 

Mr. Wheeler. And you represent Mrs. Colloms ? 

Mr. Forer. That is correct. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mrs. Colloms, when and where were you born ? 

Mrs. Colloms. New York City. 

Mr. Wheeler. Wliat is your present occupation ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I am a teacher. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you presently a teacher ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Wheeler. By whom are you employed ! 

Mrs. Colloms., The Board of Education of New York City. 

Mr. Wheeler. What school are you presently assigned to? 

Mrs. Colloms. Washington Irving High School. 

Mr. Wheeler. "What is your present address ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Park Trail, Croton on Hudson, New York. 

Mr. Wheeler. And you are appearing here in response to a 
subpena ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Wheeler. To whom are you married ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I am married to Albert Lionel Colloms. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is his occupation ? 

Mrs. Colloms. He is a lawyer. 

Mr. Wheeler. In New York City ? , 

Mrs. Colloms. In New York City. 

Mr. Wheeler. Would you give the committee a brief resume of 
your educational background? 

Mrs. Colloms. Well, I went to the public schools in New York City, 
and public high school in New York City, and then I was at Cornell 
University for four years, where I got a B. A. degree, and I took 
graduate courses at Columbia, mostly, but I have no other degree. 

Mr. Wheeler. What year did you graduate ? 

Mrs. Colloms. 1921. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you briefly outline to the committee your em- 
ployment record? 

Mrs. Colloms. I have been a school teacher all the time. 

Mr. Wheeler. In New York City? 

Mrs. Colloms. In New York City. 

Mr. Wheeler. What subjects do you teach at Washington Irving 
High School? 

Mrs. Colloms. Social studies. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with an individual named Jacob 
Epstein ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Jacob Epstein? Yes, I know him. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is the nature of your acquaintance with him? 

Mrs. Colloms. It was a long time ago and sort of casual. 

Mr. Wheeler. Could you further identify the period of time? 

Mrs. Colloms. I don't think I can. It was some years back. 

Mr. Wheeler. In the 1940's? 

Mrs. Colloms. I don't really remember whether I saw him as late 
as that. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3373 

Mr. Wheeler. How did you meet him ? 

Mrs. Colloms. How I met him ? It is hard to say. It was a casual 
acquaintance. I really don't know how 1 met him. I don't remember. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I think I can't answer that, on the ground that that 
would tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Wood. And for that reason do you decline to answer? 

Mrs. Colloms. I decline to answer, yes, for that reason. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know Jacob Epstein as a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I would refuse to answer that on the same ground. 

Air. Forer. Do refuse. 

Airs. Colloms. I do refuse to answer that on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Lydia Altschuler? 

Mrs. Colloms. Not that I know of. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Fanny McPeek ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Fanny McPeek ? Yes, I do. 

Air. Wheeler. What is the nature of your acquaintance with her ? 

Airs. Colloms. We are in the same school. 

Mr. Wheeler. Washington Irving High School in New York City ? 

Airs. Colloms. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know Fanny McPeek as a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Ethel Yogel ? 

Airs. Colloms. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is the nature of your acquaintanceship with 
her ! 

Mrs. Colloms. She is related to me. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is the relationship? 

Airs. Colloms. My brother's wife. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Ethel Vogel as a member of the Com- 
munist Party? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the ground it might tend 
to incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Ruth Wilson Epstein, the wife of 
Jacob Epstein? 

Mrs. Colloms. Yes, I do ; I did, I should say. 

TVlr. Wheeler. Where did you meet her ? 

Mrs. Colloms. It was also a long time ago, a/id a very casual ac- 
quaintance. 

Mr. Wheeler. Would you say in 1940, or in the thirties ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I can't remember that. It is years back. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know her as a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the ground that it may 
incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Pauline Baskind ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Yes, I know her. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is the nature of your relationship with Pauline 
Baskind? 

Mrs. Colloms. She also taught in Washington Irving. 



3374 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wheeler. Washington Irving High School ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Yes. That is past tense ; she taught there. 

Mr. Wheeler. Over what period of time did you know Mrs, 
Baskind? 

Mrs. Colloms. That is also some years back. 

Mr. Wheeler. Three or four years back ? 

Mrs. Colloms. No ; more than that. I don't think she has been in 
the school for some time. 

Mr. Wheeler. When did she sever her connection with the school 
system of New York City ; do you know ? 

Mrs. Colloms. That I don't recall. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever know her as a member of the Com- 
munist Party? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with an individual named Louis 
S. Bloch? 

Mrs. Colloms. That name doesn't sound familiar to me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Frances Silverman ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Yes, I know her. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where did you become acquainted with her ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I knew her at the Washington Irving High School. 

Mr. Wheeler. Over what period of time ? 

Mrs. Colloms. She hasn't been in the school for some years; either; 
a number of years. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know her as a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the ground that it may 
tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Helen Levi Simon ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Not that I know of. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you traveled outside the United States within 
the last 10 years ? 

Mrs. Colloms. What would the last 10 years be? This is 1950. 
That would be since 1940 ? 

Mr. Wheeler. Yes. 

Mrs. Colloms. Yes ; I have. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you list the countries that you traveled to ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I traveled to Mexico, I think, since then. That is all 
that I can remember. 

Mr. Wheeler. If you had traveled to other countries you would re- 
member, would you aot, as quite an event ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I don't remember traveling to any other country. 

Mr. Wheeler. Other than Mexico ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Other than Mexico. 

Mr. Forer. In the last 10 years ? 

Mrs. Colloms. In the last 10 years. That is what I was trying 
to say. 

Mr. Wheeler. What year did you go to Mexico ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I think it was 1943. 

Mr. Wheeler. Was it in August 1943 ? 

Mrs. Colloms. It was in the summertime. It probably was August. 

Mr. Wheeler. For what purpose did you go to Mexico? 
(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 



AMERICAN" ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3375 

Mrs. Colloms. I think I will refuse to answer that on the ground 
that it may incriminate me. 

Mr. Wood. Do you so refuse ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I do so refuse. 

Mr. Wheeler. While in Mexico, did you go to Mexico City ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I did. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you go to Mexico City for the Communist Party ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. While in Mexico City, did you attempt to contact 
Jacob Epstein ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you receive instructions from the Communist 
Party to contact Jacob Epstein in Mexico City ? 

Sirs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you carry any messages to Jacob Epstein in 
Mexico City when you traveled there ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the same ground, that it 
may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. While en route to Mexico City, did United States 
customs officials search you and your personal effects ? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Colloms. They did. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did they take anything from 3011 ? 

Mrs. Colloms. They did. 

Mr. Wheeler. And what did they take? 

Mrs. Colloms. Papers that I had with me, newspapers, books. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did they take a stationery box from your custody? 

Mrs. Colloms. I don't know. They may have. 

Mr. Wheeler. Was that one of your possessions that you took with 
you ? 

Mrs. Colloms. 1943 is a long time ago. They may have. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you receive a box from anybody in the Com- 
munist Party to deliver to Jacob Epstein in Mexico City ? 

Mrs. Colloms. That is a question I refuse to answer on the ground 
that it may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you take with you any ciphered messages to 
deliver to Jacob Epstein in Mexico City? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. Is it not a fact that you carried a box of stationery 
with you, and in this box of stationery were five pieces of paper that 
contained ciphered messages ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. When did you return from Mexico City to the 
United States? 

Mrs. Colloms. I don't exactly remember. It was that summer. It 
was either the end of August or maybe the first week in September. 

Mr. Wheeler. September 3, 1943 ? 

Mrs. Colloms. It could be. 

Mr. Wheeler. Is it not a fact that a stationery box that was taken 
from you was returned to you upon your arrival in the United States 
by the United States customs ? 

Mrs. Colloms. Everything that was taken from me was returned 
to me. I don't know if that was included or not. 



3376 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wood. You say everything that was taken from you was re- 
turned? 

Mrs. Colloms. Everything that was taken from me was sent back 
to me. I don't know what it all was. I assume everything that was 
taken from me was returned to me. 

Mr. Wheeler. You didn't contact Jacob Epstein in Mexico City, 
did you ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. If you didn't contact him, what would the basis of 
incrimination be? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Colloms. I dont' know how it would tend to incriminate me. 
I don't know. 

Mr. Wheeler. If you don't know how it would incriminate you, 
why do you refuse to answer ? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Colloms. It is a hypothetical question. I don't know how. 

Mr. Wood. The question was : You did not contact Epstein, did you ? 
You refused to answer on the ground of self-incrimination. Then 
the question was asked: If you did not contact him, how could it 
incriminate you? 
• Mr. Forer. The question had an "if" in it. 

Mr. Wheeler. Upon your return to New York City, what did you 
do with the box of stationery ? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mr. Wheeler. I will change the question. Upon your return to 
New York City, did you transfer anything to Ethel Vogel? 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer that on the ground that it will 
incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mrs. Colloms, the committee, in the course of its 
investigation, and through confidential sources, obtained confidential 
information in which the following resume is set forth regarding 
your participation in a Communist underground movement to free 
Frank Jacson from imprisonment in Mexico. Frank Jacson is the 
individual who assassinated Leon Trotsky in Mexico City on August 
20, 1940. I will now read to you an extract from this confidential 
report : 

Anna Vogel Colloms, wife of Lionel Colloms, then and now an official in the 
Enforcement Unit of the Office of Price Administration, New York City. * * * 
In addition to acting as a mail drop, Anna Colloms, on August 12, 1943, left 
New York City for Mexico City carrying concealed in an apparently new box of 
personal stationery five sheets of paper completely covered with writing in 
cipher. She was not permitted to carry the box of stationery into Mexico. 
Mrs. Colloms made a half-hearted attempt to contact Jacob Epstein while in 
Mexico City and upon her return to the United States she received the stationery 
box from the United States Customs and, through Ethel Vogel, transmitted it 
to Ruth Wilson. 

Do you have any comment to make on that statement ? 

Mrs. Colloms. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you deny it? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Colloms. I refuse to answer on the ground that it may in- 
criminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Was your husband formerly employed by the United 
States Government ? 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3377 

Mrs. Colloms. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. In 1943 was he an official in the Enforcement Unit 
of the Office of Price Administration ? 

Mrs. Colloms. I believe he still was, yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you travel to Mexico City by airline \ 

Mrs. Colloms. Coming back. 

Mr. Wheeler. How did you proceed to Mexico Citv from New 
York? 

Mrs. Colloms. Train. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever appeared before a United States 
grand jury? 

Mrs. Colloms. Xo. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know whether or not you have ever been 
indicted for any offense? 

Mrs. Colloms. I don't believe I ever have. 

Mr. Wheeler. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Wood. The witness is excused. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Wheeler. The next witness is Fanny McPeek. 

Mr. Wood. Before you sit down, will you raise your right hand and 
be sworn, please? 

Do you solemnly swear the evidence you give this subcommittee 
shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help 
you God? 

Mrs. McPeek. I do. 

Mr. Wood. Have a seat. 

Mr. Forer. I don't want to be monotonous, Mr. Chairman, but for 
the record I would like to renew my objection to the lack of a quorum 
and to say that we are proceeding under protest. 

Mr. Wood. That will be considered of record for all the witnesses 
you appear for. 

Mr. Forer. Thank you. 

TESTIMONY OF FANNY McPEEK, ACCOMPANIED BY HER COUNSEL, 

JOSEPH FORER 

Mr. Owens. Will you state your full name, please ? 

Mrs. McPeek. Fanny McPeek. 

Mr. Owexs. Are you represented by counsel ? 

Mrs. McPeek. Yes. 

Mr. Owexs. Will counsel please identify himself for the record? 

Mr. Forer. Joseph Forer, a member of the District of Columbia 
bar, 711 Fourteenth Street NW. 

Mr. Owexs. Mrs. McPeek, what is your present address ? 

Mrs. McPeek. 846 Prospect Place, Brooklyn. 

Mr. Owens. You are here in answer to a subpena served upon you 
and amended by subsequent telegrams which you received ? 

Airs. McPeek. That is right. 

Mr. Owexs. When and where were vou born ? 

Mrs. McPeek. Xovember 10, 1908, city of Xew York. 

Mr. Owexs. Are you married? 

Mrs. McPeek. I am. 

Mr. Owens. What is your husband's name ? 



3378 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mrs. McPeek. Alvin H. McPeek. 

Mr. Owens. Will you give the committee a brief resume of your 
educational background? 

Mrs. McPeek. I graduated from elementary school; graduated 
from high school; and after graduating from high school in 192G I 
took some courses at Hunter College in the city of New York. 

Mr. Owens. Did you graduate from Hunter \ 

Mrs. McPeek. No. I didn't. 

Mr. Owens. Would you relate to the committee your employment 
record since the cessation of your education? 

Mrs. McPeek. In the very beginning I had one or two odd jobs. 
I can't remember the names of the people I worked for perhaps a week 
or so. Then, I think it was in 1927, perhaps, I got a job at Beth David 
Hospital in New York City, and worked there about 7 years. In 1934 
I was appointed as a substitute clerk at Washington Irving High 
School, and in 1935 I received my regular employment there. 

Mr. Owens. And you are still employed in that capacity? 

Mrs. McPeek. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. What is your husband's occupation ? 

Mrs. McPeek. My husband is a prescription clerk. 

Mr. Owens. In New York City ? 

Mrs. McPeek. That is right. 

Mr. Owens. What was your maiden name, Mrs. McPeek ? 

Mrs. McPeek. Fanny Pildes, P-i-1-d-e-s. 

Mr. Owens. Mrs. McPeek, are you now or have you ever been a 
member of the Communist Party ? 

Mrs. McPeek. I refuse to answer oft the ground that it may in- 
criminate me. 

Mr. Owens. Mrs. McPeek, the committee is presently investigating 
an underground group in the Communist Party which was assigned 
to free Frank Jacson from imprisonment in Mexico. Frank Jacson 
is presently serving time in Mexico for the killing of Leon Trotsky 
on August 20, 1940. According to confidential information in the 
possession of this committee, Jacob Epstein was sent to Mexico City 
as head of this underground group. This underground group used 
an elaborate system of mail drops for receiving communications to 
and from Mexico. You, according to this confidential information, 
have been named as a mail drop. I will read a pertinent part of this 
report to you. 

Are you familiar with what a mail drop is ? 

Mrs.'McPEEK. No. I am terribly confused. Would you mind read- 
ing this again ? 

Mr. Owens. The committee is currently engaged in an investiga- 
tion to determine the extent of the success of an underground Com- 
munist group which was engaged in an effort to free Frank Jacson 
from imprisonment in Mexico. Frank Jacson assassinated Leon 
Trotsky. He is presently serving time in Mexico. 
Are you acquainted with Jacob Epstein ? 

Mrs. McPeek. No, I never 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. McPeek (continuing). To the best of my recollection, no. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3379 

Mr. Owens. The information of this committee accuses you of hav- 
ing served as a mail drop for that group, and I am going to read the 
part of this confidential report which names you : 

In the United States, the mail drops were determined to be * * * 

individuals who do not concern you, and 

Fanny McPeek, a clerk in the Washington Irving High School, New York City, 
who is active in Communist affairs. 

Do you have any comment to make on the excerpt I have just read 
to you ? 

Mrs. McPeek. No ; no comment. 

Mr. Owens. In 1943 you were a clerk in the Washington Irving 
High School, were you not? 

Mrs. McPeek. In 1943 I was, yes. 

Mr. Owens. Did you at any time receive letters through the mail 
which you later forwarded to Mexico City ? 

Mrs. McPeek. I refuse to answer on the ground it may incriminate 
me. 

Mr. Owens. Did you at any time receive mail from Mexico City 
which vou subsequently forwarded or gave to individuals in the 
United States? 

Mrs. McPeek. I refuse to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with Lydia Altschuler ? 

Mrs. McPeek. To the best of my knowledge, no. 

Mr. Owens. Do you know an individual by the name of Barnett 
Shepard ? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. McPeek. Up to this morning, no, but as I was sitting in the 
room outside a man came in and introduced himself to the clerk in 
charge as Mr. Shepard. 

Mr. Owens. You don't know his first name ? 

Mrs. McPeek. You just mentioned it. 

Mr. Owens. I mean the gentleman you met this morning. 

Mrs. McPeek. No. He just said Mr. Shepard. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with Anna Vogel Colloms? 

Mrs. McPeek. I am. 

Mr. Owens. What is the nature of that relationship ? 

Mrs. McPeek. She is a very dear friend of mine. 

Mr. Owens. Under what circumstances did you meet her? 

Mrs. McPeek. When I was a student at Seward Park High School 
she was a teacher of mine, and I saw her years later when she was 
assigned to Washington Irving High School. 

Mr. Owens. I understood you to say she is a very dear friend of 
yours ? 

Mrs. McPeek. Yes; she is. 

Mr. Owens. Did you ever know Mrs. Colloms as a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mrs. McPeek. I refuse to answer on the ground it might tend to 
incriminate me. 

Mr. Owens. Do you know Ethel Vogel? 

Mrs. McPeek. Well, this morning I was introduced to a Mrs. Vogel. 



3380 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Owens. Do you know Ruth Beverly Wilson, also known as Ruth 
Wilson Epstein? 

Mrs. McPeek. To the best of my recollection, no. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with Pauline Baskind? 

Mrs. McPeek. Yes; I know her. 

Mr. Owens. Under what circumstances did you meet her? 

Mrs. McPeek. She was a teacher at Washington Irving High School 
a few years ago. 

Mr. Owens. Have you ever known her as a member of the Commu- 
nist Party? 

Mrs. McPeek. I refuse to answer on the ground it may incriminate 
me. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with an individual named Louis 
S. Bloch? 

Mrs. McPeek. To the best of my recollection, no. 

Mr. Owens. Do you know an individual by the name of Frances 
Silverman ? 

Mrs. McPeek. Yes ; I know her. 

Mr. Owens. Under what circumstances did you meet Mrs. 
Silverman ? 

Mrs. McPeek. I met her many years ago when she was substitute 
teacher at Washington Irving High School. Subsequently she re- 
ceived an appointment. 

Mr. Owens. Have you known her for a number of years ? 

Mrs. McPeek. I have. 

Mr. Owens. Did you know her as a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mrs. McPeek. I refuse to answer on the ground it may incriminate 
me. 

Mr. Owens. Do you know an individual by the name of Helen Levi 
Simon ? 

Mrs. McPeek. To the best of my recollection, no. 

Mr. Owens. I have already asked you this, but I want to ask you 
again: Have you ever been acquainted with an individual named 
Jacob Epstein? 

Mrs. McPeek. To the best of my recollection, no. 

Mr. Owens. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Wheeler? 

Mr. Wheeler. No questions. 

Mr. Wood. The witness is excused. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Wheeler. The next witness, Mr. Chairman, is Mrs. Ethel Vogel. 

Mr. Wood. Will you raise your right hand and be sworn. Do you 
solemnly swear the evidence you give this subcommittee shall be the 
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? 

Mrs. Vogel. I do. 

Mr. Wood. Be seated. 

TESTIMONY OF ETHEL VOGEL, ACCOMPANIED BY HER COUNSEL, 

JOSEPH EORER 

Mr. Wheeler. Will vou state your full name and present address? 
Mrs. Vogel. Ethel Vogel, 127 West Thirty-second Street. 
Mi". Wheeler. You are represented by counsel ? 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3381 

Mrs. Vogel. Yes; Mr, Forer. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will counsel identify himself for the record? 

Mr. Forer. Joseph Forer, 711 Fourteenth Street NW., a member of 
the District of Columbia bar. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mrs. Vogel, what is your present occupation? 

Mrs. Vogel. Housewife. 
' Mr. Wheeler. Where were you born? 

Mrs. Vogel. Massachusetts. 

Mr. Wheeler. What city ? 

Mrs. Vogel. AVorcester. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are 3 r ou presently married ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Yes. 
• Mr. Wheeler. And to whom are you married? 
■ Mrs. Vogel. Sidney Vogel. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is his occupation ? 

Mrs. Vogel. He is a physician. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where are his offices located? 

Mrs. Vogel. Twenty-nine West Eighty-fifth Street. 

Mr. Wheeler. New York City? 

Mrs. Vogel. New York City. 

Mr. Wheeler. You are appearing here in response to a subpena 
served upon you ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you please relate to the committee your educa- 
tional background ? 

Mrs. Vogel. I finished high school in New York City and went to 
New York University, from which I received a degree of bachelor of 
science. That is all. 

Mr. Wheeler. What year did you graduate from New York 
University ? 

Mrs. Vogel. 1929. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you been employed since leaving New York 
University ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Yes. I worked on and off for several years as a 
secretary. 

Mr. Wheeler. Would you list your employment, with the years? 

Mrs. Vogel. I worked for the American Weekly, a Hearst publica- 
tion, until 1932, as a secretary. Since then I have had, on and off, 
part-time jobs as secretary to physicians. Do you want any of their 
names ? 

Mr. Wheeler. Yes. 

Mrs. Vogel. Frankly, the only one I remember is Dr. Arthur Pal- 
mer. Another was Dr. Kenneth Lewis. They were part-time 
positions. 

Mr. Wheeler. Your husband was in the Medical Corps during 
World War II, was he not ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Mrs. Vogel. I refuse to answer the question on the ground that it 
might incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Jacob Epstein? 

Mrs. Vogel. Yes ; I knew him. 



3382 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wheeler. What was the nature of your relationship with Mr. 
Epstein ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Nature of my relationship? I knew him socially, I 
would say, as an acquaintance. 

Mr. Wheeler. How long ago did you meet Mr. Epstein ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Many years ago. I knew him many years ago. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you kept up this acquaintance over the years ? 

Mrs. Vogel. No. I haven't seen him for years. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know Mr. Epstein as a member of the Com- 
munist Party ? 

Mrs. Vogel. I refuse to answer the question on the ground that it 
might incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with his wife, Ruth Wilson 
Epstein ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. When did you meet her ? 

Mrs. Vogel. I must have met her after he married her, a long time 
ago. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you continued this acquaintance with her? 

Mrs. Vogel. No. I haven't seen him for years. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know her as a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mrs. Vogel. I refuse to answer that on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Lydia Altschuler? 

Mrs. Vogel. Not to my knowledge. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted wjth Fanny McPeek? 

Mrs. Vogel. I think I was introduced to her this morning by Mr. 
Forer. Is that right? 

Mr. Forer. That is right. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Anna Vogel Colloms ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. She is your sister-in-law ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know her to be a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mrs. Vogel. I refuse to answer the question on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Pauline Baskind ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Not as far as I know. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Louis S. Bloch ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Not as far as I know. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Frances Silverman? 

Mrs. Vogel. Not as far as I know. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Helen Levi Simon ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Not to my knowledge. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mrs. Vogel, the committee, through confidential 
sources, has obtained information relating to the attempts of an under- 
ground group of the Communist Party to free Frank Jacson from im- 
prisonment in Mexico. Frank Jacson assassinated Leon Trotsky in 
Mexico on August 20, 1940. During the activities of this particular 
group of the Communist Party, a series of mail drops were instituted. 
In other words, messages would be sent from Mexico to New York City 
and relayed by the person receiving them to another person, in an 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3383 

attempt to cover up direct contacts. I want to quote from a report 
which lists you as having participated in this group : 

An additional mail drop was determined to be Ethel Vogel, a native-born citizen 
of Russian parents and the wife of Capt. Sidney Leon Vogel, United States Med- 
ical Corps. 

Do you deny that you participated as a mail drop ? 

Mrs. Vogel. I refuse to answer that question on the ground that it 
might incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you remember when Anna Vogel Colloms went 
to Mexico City ? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Vogel. I know she went some years ago. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know Ruth Wilson Epstein in 1943? 

Mrs. Vogel. I knew her a long time ago. I don't remember when 
was the last time I saw her. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you have any contact with her in 1943 ? 

Mrs. Vogel. I don't know when was the last time I saw her. I 
know it was a longtime ago. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mrs. Colloms returned from Mexico City the first 
week of September 1943, and the information in our files reflects that 
she transmitted to you a box of stationery which you, in turn, gave to 
Ruth Wilson Epstein. Do you wish to affirm or deny that statement ? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Vogel. I don't wish to affirm or deny it. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you receive a box of stationery from Mrs. Col- 
loms and in turn give it to Ruth Wilson Epstein? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Vogel. I refuse to answer that question on the ground that it 
might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you at any time receive letters through the 
mail which you readdressed and forwarded to Mexico? 

Mrs. Vogel. I refuse to answer on the same ground. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you at any time receive letters through the mail 
from Mexico which you readdressed and forwarded to persons in the 
United States? 

Mrs. Vogel. I refuse to answer that question on the same ground. 

Mr. AVheeler. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Owens. I have no questions. 

Mr. Wood. You say you had knowledge of the fact that Mrs. Col- 
loms went to Mexico City. Did you have that knowledge before she 
went ? 

Mrs. Vogel. I really don't remember. I just remember she took a 
trip. I don't remember any of the details. 

Mr. Wood. Did you see her when she came back ? 

Mrs. Vogel. I see her all the time. She is a relative. 

Mr. Wood. For the reasons you have given, you now decline to give 
the committee any information about any material she may have 
brought back from Mexico; is that right? 

(The witness conferred with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Vogel. I don't understand the question. 

Mr. Wood. You were asked specifically if Mrs. Colloms transmitted 
to you any documents or papers. I understood you to say you re- 
fused to answer that question on grounds of self-incrimination. 



3384 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mrs. Vogel. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. Do you now decline to answer ? 

Mrs. Vogel. Do I now decline to answer on the same ground ? Yes, 
sir. 

Mr. Wood. That will be all. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Owens. Mr. Chairman, the next witness is Mr. Barnett 
Shepard. 

Mr. Wood. Will you stand and be sworn, please. You solemnly 
swear the evidence you give this subcommittee shall be the truth, the 
whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God ? 

Mr. Shepard. I do. 

Mr. Wood. Have a seat, Mr. Shepard. 

Mr. Shepard. Mr. Chairman, I am a little bit hard of hearing, so 
I just wanted to say that if I asked you to repeat it is for that reason. 

Mr. Wood. Thank you, sir, and will you try to talk loud enough so 
that I can hear you. 

Mr. Shepard. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. Are you represented by counsel? 

Mr. Shepard. I am. 

Mr. Wood. Will counsel identify himself for the record? 

Mr. Faulkner. Stanley Faulkner, 11 West Forty-second Street, 
New York 18, N. Y. 

Mr. Wood. What is your residence address? 

Mr. Faulkner. 28 Woodland Place, Great Neck, N. Y. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Sheppard, during the course of the interrogation 
you will be given the privilege of conferring with counsel at any time 
you may desire. 

Mr. Shepard. Thank you. 

TESTIMONY OF BARNETT SHEPARD, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS 
COUNSEL, STANLEY FAULKNER 

Mr. Owens Will you please state your full name? 

Mr. Shepard. Barnett Shepard. 

Mr. Owens. When and where were you born ? 

Mr. Shepard. Syracuse, N. Y., February 27, 1908. 

Mr. Owens. You are here under subpena served upon you and sub- 
sequently continued by telegrams sent to you ? 

Mr. Shepard. That is correct. 

Mr. Owens. What is your present address ? 

Mr. Shepard. 4714 Two Hundred and Sixty-first Street, Great 
Neck, N. Y. 

Mr. Owens. Will you please give the committee a brief resume of 
your educational background? 

Mr. Shepard. I went to Syracuse public schools ; Manlius Military 
Academy; back to Syracuse public schools; Cascadilla Prep School; 
and night school at Syracuse University. 

Mr. Owens. Did you graduate from Syracuse University? 

Mr. Shepard. No. 

Mr. Owens. Would you relate to the committee your employment 
record since leaving school ? 

Mr. Shepard. It would be a little hard. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3385 

Mr. Owens. As best you can remember. 

Mr. Shepard. I went to work for the City Bank & Trust Co. in 
Syracuse. Then I left there and worked for the Syracuse Capital 
Corp. Then I worked for the Household Outfitting Co. Do you 
want 1-week or 2-week employment? 

Mr. Owens. No ; just employment that you have held over a period 
of time, months or years. 

Mr. Shepard. Then I went to work for Joseph Sicker & Co. ; then 
Zoline & Co. 

Mr. Owens. Are these all in Syracuse ? 

Mr. Shepard. No. If you go back, I will tell you. Up to Joseph 
Sicker & Co. Joseph Sicker & Co. and Zoline & Co. are in New York. 

Then I worked for Bendix Luitweiler in New York; then for Hirsch 
Lilienthal, New York ; Francis I. du Pont & Co. ; Gussack Machine 
Products ; Brewster Aeronautical ; Gruntal & Co. ; and then Shaskan 
&Co. 

I think that will cover it. 

Mr. Owens. Are you presently employed at Shaskan & Co. ? 

Mr. Shepard. No. 

Mr. Owens. Are you employed presently? 

Mr. Shepard. No. 

Mr. Owens What were the dates of your employment at Brewster 
Aeronautical, if you recall, approximately? 

Mr. Shepard. It will have to be rough. Is that all right? 

Mr. Owens. That is all right. 

Mr. Shepard. I think I left there in April 1945, and I was there 
about 18 or 20 months. Am I correct that the war in Europe was over 
in May? 

Mr. Owens. May 1945. 

Mr. Shepard. I was laid off just before that. 

Mr. Owens. Were you employed at the Long Island plant of the 
Brewster Co.? 

Mr. Shepard. That is correct. 

Mr. Owens. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the 
Communist Party of the United States ? 

Mr. Shepard. I decline to answer that under the fifth amendment, 
as the answer may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Owens. Mr. Shepard, during the years 1942^13, did you ever 
receive any communications from a source unknown to you which you 
subsequently readdressed and forwarded to individuals here in the 
United States, after having received them from Mexico? 

Mr. Shepard. I decline to answer that. 

Mr. Owens. State your ground for refusal in each case, please, for 
the record. 

Mr. Shepard. May I consult my attorney ? 

Mr. Owens. Yes; any time. 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Shepard. I decline to answer under the fifth amendment, as the 
answer may tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Owens. Have you at any time received communications from 
Mexico City from a source unknown to you which you subsequently 
readdressed and forwarded to individuals in the United States ? 

Mr. Shepard. Same answer, sir. 



3386 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Owens. For the same reason ? 

Mr! Shepard. For the same reason. , 

Mr Owens. Did you at any time receive material or mail from 
individuals in the United States which you subsequently forwarded 
to Mexico City ? 

Mr. Shepard. Same answer. 

Mr. Owens. For the same reasons ? 

Mr'. Shepard. For the same reasons. 

Mr Owens. Are you acquainted with Jacob Epstein 5 

Mr. Shepard. I decline to answer for the same reason. 

Mr Owens. Have you ever been acquainted with Jacob Epsteins 

Mr' Shepard. I decline to answer for the same reason. 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted with an individual named Lydia 
Altschuler? 

Mr. Shepard. Lydia 

Mr Owens. Lydia Altschuler, A-1-t-s-c-h-u-l-e-r. 

Mr. Shepard. To the best of my knowledge I have never heard that 

na Z b 0wENS. Are you acquainted with an individual named Fanny 

M Mr. e SnErARD. To the best of my knowledge I never heard that name 

before. Fanny ,,,'-« i 

Mr. Owens. Fanny McPeek, M-c P-e-e-k. 

Are you now or have you ever been acquainted with Anna Vogei 
"Mi^SnEPARD.T^the best of my knowledge I have never heard that 

Mr. Owens. Are you acquainted, or have you ever been acquainted, 
with an individual named Ethel Vogel ? 

Mr. Shepard. Excuse me, sir ; is this for the record * 

Mr. Owens. If you want to go off the record, you have to make the 
request to the chairman. , . 

Mr. Wood. Would you like to make a statement off the recoid in 
response to this question ? 

Mr. Shepard. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. All right. This will be off the record. 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Shepard. I decline to answer that. 

Mr. Wood. This is on the record, then ? 

Mr. Shepard. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. For what reason ? 

Mr. Shepard. The same as given before. . 

Mr Owens. Are you now or have you ever been acquainted with 
an individual known as Ruth Beverly Wilson, also known as Ruth 

Mr .Shepard.' I have never heard that name before. Let me change 
that. I don't know anybody by that name. 

Mr. Owens. This is repetitious, but I would like to ask it again. 
Are you acquainted with Jacob Epstein? 

Mr. Shepard. I decline to answer. . _ 

Mr. Wood. In order that we may get the record straight, do you 
know Jacob Epstein's wife ? 

Mr. Shepard. I decline to answer for the same reasons. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3387 

Mr. Owens. Are you now or have you ever been acquainted with 
an individual named Pauline Baskind? 

Mr. Shepard. B-a-s-k-i-n? 

Mr. Owens. B-a-s-k-i-n-d. 

Mr. Shepaed. To the best of my knowledge I have never heard that 
name before. 

Mr. Owens. Are you now or have you ever been acquainted with 
Louis S. Bloch? 

Mr. Shepard. To the best of my knowledge I have never heard that 
name before. 

Mr. Owens. Are you now or have you ever been acquainted with 
an individual known as Frances Silverman, a woman? 

Mr. Shepard. To the best of my knowledge I have never heard that 
name before. 

Mr. Owens. Are you now or have you ever been acquainted with 
an individual named Helen Levi Simon ? 

Mr. Shepard. I think 

Mr. Faulkner. Will the chairman permit me to consult with my 
client ? 

Mr. Wood. Yes. 

(Mr. Faulkner conferred with the witness.) 

Mr. Shepard. I would like to change that, please. I decline to 
answer for the same reason. 

Mr. Owens. Mr. Shepard, the committee, in the course of the cur- 
rent investigation, has received confidential information which gives 
an outline of an attempt of American Communists to free from im- 
prisonment Frank Jacson, the individual who assassinated Leon Trot- 
sky in Mexico on August 20, 1940. This information gives in detail 
names of individuals who participated in this underground move- 
ment, and also names of various individuals used as mail drops. These 
individuals were part of a system which assisted in transmitting code 
messages to and from Mexico City to individuals involved in this 
conspiracy. I am going to read to you from this confidential report 
the pertinent parts pertaining to you. 

In the United States, the mail drops were determined to be Lydia Altschuler, 
the educational director of Consumers Union, Inc., whose family resides in the 
Soviet Union ; Barnett Shepard, a native-born citizen of Russian parents, then 
a foreman at the Brewster Aeronautical Corp., Long Island City, N. Y., and now 
an employee of Shaskan & Co., stockbrokers in New York City, who, confidential 
sources advised, has been a member of the Communist Party. 

Do you wish to deny or affirm the statements just read to you ? 

Mr. Shepard. May I consult with counsel ? 

Mr. Owens. Yes. 

(The witness conferred with his counsel.) 

Mr. Faulkner. Would you mind repeating that, please? 

(The question referred to was read by the reporter, as recorded.) 

Mr. Faulkner. Mr. Chairman, that statement involves many de- 
tails. My client is prepared to answer questions, and if counsel to 
the committee will break that down to questions rather than a state- 
ment containing many details, he may answer it categorically. To 
make a categorical answer to a question of that kind would be foolish. 

Mr. Owens. We will be glad to break it down if there will be any 
answers. 

Are you a native-born citizen ? 



3388 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Shepard. Yes. 

Mr. Owens. Where were your parents born ? 

Mr. Shepard. They were born in an area that is not clear to me 
whether it was Poland or Russia, because that particular part of the 
country has changed hands many times. 
Mr. Wood. What were their names? 

Mr. Shepard. My father's name originally was Shopiro, S-h-o- 
p-i-r-o, Samuel. He changed his name later in life. 
Mr. Wood. To Shepard? 
Mr. Shepard. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. After he came to this country ? 
Mr. Shepard. After he came to this country. 

Mr. Wood. Was he ever naturalized as a citizen of the United States ? 
Mr. Shepard. Yes. 

Mr. OvVens. Then that portion of the information, "a native-born 
citizen of Russian parents," is correct ? 

Mr. Shepard. The answer to whether my parents were born in 
Russia or not, I do not know. 

Mr. Owens. Were you ever a foreman at the Brewster Aeronautical 
Corp., Long Island City, N. Y.? 
Mr. Shepard. No. 

Mr. Owens. Were you ever employed at the Brewster Aeronautical 
Corp.', Long Island City, N. Y. ? 
Mr. Shepard. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Owens. Were you ever employed at Shaskan & Co., stockbrokers 
in New York City ? 

Mr. Shepard. Yes, sir. . 

Mr. Owens. Have you ever been a member of the Communist Party ? 
Mr. Shepard. I decline to answer that for previous reasons given. 
Mr. Owens. Did you ever serve as a mail drop in any Communist 
conspiracy ? 

Mr. Shepard. I decline to answer for the same reason. 
Mr. Owens. Mr. Shepard, the reason I asked you to comment on this 
excerpt which I read to you was to give you a chance to tell the 
committee whether or not you have participated in such activity. 
I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Wood. Have you categorically answered or declined to answer 
the questions in regard to the transaction detailed to you ? Do you 
desire to make any further statement in regard to it? 
Mr. Shepard. No. 

Mr. Owens. One further question, Mr. Chairman. 
When did you leave the employ of Shaskan & Co. ? 
Mr. Shepard. August 11. 
Mr. Owens. 1950? 
Mr. Shepard. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. And for how long prior to that time had you been 
employed ? 

Mr. Shepard. By Shaskan ? 
Mr. Wood. Yes ; approximately. 

Mr. Shepard. Since 1945 — I believe July 1, but I am not certain. 
Mr. Wood. Continuously up to August of this year ? 
Mr. Shepard. Well, I have been out a good deal ill, but I was still 
an employee of Shaskan's. I was out a good deal ill. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3389 

Mr. Wood. Did you have any other employment during that 
interval ? 

Mr. Shepard. No, sir ; not paid. 

Mr. Wood. That is all. 

(Witness excused.) 

Mr. Wood. The subcommittee stands adjourned. 

(Thereupon, at 12:20 p. m., the hearing was adjourned.) 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF THE ASSASSINATION OF 
LEON TKOTSKY 



WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30, 1950 

United States House of Representatives, 

Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D. C. 

executive session 

The committee met in executive session, pursuant to call, at 12 :10 
p. m. in room 226, Old House Office Building, Hon. John S. Wood 
(chairman) presiding. 

Committee members present : Representatives John S. Wood (chair- 
man), Francis E. Walter, Burr P. Harrison, John McSweeney, and 
Harold H. Velde. 

Staff members present : Louis J. Russell, senior investigator ; Donald 
T. Appell and Courtney Owens, investigators; and A. S. Poore, editor. 

Mr. Wood. Let the record show a quorum of the full committee is 
present, consisting of Messrs. Walter, Harrison, McSweeney, Velde, 
and Wood. 

Will you hold up your right hand, please. 

You solemnly swear the evidence you give this committee shall be 
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? 

Mrs. Travis. I do. 

Mr. Forer. Mr. Chairman, there is one brief objection I would like 
to make before we go on. In view of the fact the committee has refused 
to inform me as to what the purpose and subject matter of the hearing 
is, I request we be informed now. 

Mr. Wood. The committee does not hear objections. 

Mr. Forer. Let it be noted we are proceeding under protest here 
today. 

Mr. Wood. It will be noted. 

TESTIMONY OF HELEN TRAVIS, ACCOMPANIED BY HER COUNSEL, 

JOSEPH FORER 

Mr. Russell. You were subpenaed under the name Helen Levi 
Simon, I understand? 

Mrs. Travis. I was subpenaed under the name Helen L. Travis, with 
aliases, my previous married name and my maiden name. 

Mr. Wood. You are appearing here under that subpena ? 

Mrs. Travis. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. What is your name? 

Mrs. Travis. Helen Travis. 

Mr. Wood. The subpena was issued correctly? 

3391 



3392 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mrs. Travis. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. Are you represented by counsel ? 

Mrs. Travis. Yes, Mr. Forer. 

Mr. Wood. Will counsel identify himself? 

Mr. Forer. Joseph Forer, of the District of Columbia bar. 

Mr. Wood. What is your office address? 

Mr. Forer. 711 Fourteenth Street NW., Washington, D. C. 

Mr. Wood. And your residence address? 

Mr. Forer. 1107 Trenton Place SE., Washington, D. C. 

Mr. Russell. Were you at one time known as Helen Levi Simon? 

Mrs. Travis. Yes. 

Mr. Russell. When and where were you bom ? 

Mrs. Travis. New York City, September 3, 1916. 

Mr. Russell. What is your present address? 

Mrs. Travis. Armada, Mich. 

Mr. Russell. What is your street address? 

Mrs. Travis. 5450 North Road. 

Mr. Russell. Will you furnish the committee with a brief resume 
of your educational background ? 

Mrs. Travis. High school ; college. 

Mr. Russell. What college did you attend ? 

Mrs. Travis. Barnard College. 

Mr. Russell. Did you graduate? 

Mrs. Travis. Yes. 

Mr. Russell. What year? 

Mrs. Travis. 1937. 

Mr. Russell. What degree did you receive? 

Mrs. Travis. B. A. 

Mr. McSweeney. I am sorry to interrupt, but I can't hear you. 

Mrs. Travis. I am sorry. 

Mr. Russell. Where have you been employed since leaving school ? 

Mrs. Travis. I think you are coming to a question the answer to 
which might partly tend to incriminate me because of associations, so 
that I think I will not answer that question. 

Mr. Wood. You mean by that, you have been employed in such ca- 
pacities that the employment itself might tend to incriminate you? 

Mrs. Travis. Yes; with organizations and so on, association with 
which might tend to incriminate me, so I prefer not to answer the 
question. 

Mr. Wood. Has all your employment been of that character ? 

Mrs. Travis. No. 

Mr. Wood. Give us the benefit of that which you do not think 
would incriminate you. 

Mrs. Travis. During the war I worked for the Ford Instrument Co., 
Long Island City. I worked for the Chrysler Corp., in Detroit. 

Mr. Wood. When? 

Mrs. Travis. It must have been the summer of 1948. I think that 
is right. 

Mr. Wood. Are you presently employed? 

Mrs. Travis. No ; not in a gainful capacity, not by any employer. 

Mr. Wood. You mean you work for yourself? 

Mrs. Travis. That is right. 

Mr. Wood. In what business ? 

Mrs. Travis. We farm. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3393 

Mr. Wood. Where? 

Mrs. Travis. Armada, Mich. 

Mr. Wood. You say "we." You mean you and your husband? 

Mrs. Travis. Yes. 

Mr. Wood. Does he work in farming with you ? 

Mrs. Travis. Yes. 

Mr. Russell. During what period of time were you employed by 
the Ford Instrument Co.? 

Mrs. Travis. Approximately November 1944 or 1943; it was dur- 
ing the war. I can't remember exactly. 

Mr. Russell. When did you cease to be employed by the Ford 
Instrument Co.? 

Mrs. Travis. January of some year. I think it must have been 
November 1943 to January 1944, but don't put that under oath be- 
cause I wouldn't swear to it. 

Mr. Wood. That is your best recollection ? 

Mrs. Travis. Yes. 

Mr. Russell. Where were you employed in 1947 ? 

Mrs. Travis. That comes under the questions which I do not an- 
swer. 

Mr. Russell. Were you employed by the Daily Worker ? 

Mrs. Travis. Again, I don't care to answer. 

(Witness confers with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Travis. For the same reason. 

Mr. Wood. We can't hear you. You were asked if you were em- 
ployed by the Daily Worker in 1947. 

Mrs. Travis. I said I would not answer that question on the 
grounds of the fifth amendment. 

Mr. Russell. Were you ever employed by the Michigan Worker? 

Mrs. Travis. Again, I will not answer for the same reason. 

Mr. Russell. Were you ever employed by the Communist Party? 

Mrs. Travis. Again, I refuse to answer that question on the same 
grounds. 

Mr. Russell. You are appearing here in response to a subpena 
that was served upon you ? 

Mrs. Travis. That is right. 

Mr. Russell. Mrs. Travis, I have here a photostatic copy of a 
passport application dated April 2, 1946, which bears the number 
22339. This passport was applied for at San Juan, P. R. I now 
hand you this photostatic copy of the passport application and ask 
you if this application was executed by you? 

(Witness confers with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Travis. Inasmuch as I don't know the implications of the 
questions, I think it is best to refuse to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Wood. That is not an answer to the question at all. The ques- 
tion is : Did you sign that passport application ? I assume it bears a 
signature, doesn't it? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Russell, does the application for passport bear a 
signature ? 

Mr. Russell. Yes, sir. 



3394 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wood. The question was whether or not you executed that 
application for passport, a photostatic copy of which has been ex- 
hibited to vou. What is your answer ? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Wood. That your answer to it might tend to incriminate you? 

Mrs. Travis. That is correct, 

Mr. Russell. I ask you if this is a photograph of yourself ? 

(Witness confers with her counsel.) 

Mr. Wood. What is your answer to that? 

Mrs. Travis. I will refuse to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. On the bottom of the second page of the application 
for passport there is a signature, Helen L. Simon. Is that your 
signature ? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Where did you reside in New York City ? 

Mrs. Travis. On what date? 

Mr. Russell. At any time ; your various addresses. 

Mrs. Travis. Eight West 'Seventy-fifth Street— this is starting 
from the beginning; I may forget a few — 895 Park Avenue; 30 
East Seventy-first Street ; 525 Fifth Avenue ; 350 East Seventy-seventh 
Street. 

Mr. Russell. Did you ever reside at 21 Pomander Walk, New York 

25, N. Y.? 

Mrs. Travis. A member of my family resides there. 

Mr. Russell. Is his name Harold Levi ? 

Mrs. Travis. That is correct. 

Mr. Russell. I show you a photostatic copy of a letter dated March 
24. The year is not given. Apparently it was 1950. It is addressed 
"Dear Sirs," and signed with the name' Helen L. Simon. I hand you 
a photostatic copy of this letter and ask you if the signature appearing 
thereon is yours ? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that 
it might jeopardize me. 

Mr. Russell. Have you ever obtained a passport for travel outside 
the United States? 

(Witness confers with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to discuss the matter of passports altogether, 
on grounds of the fifth amendment. 

Mr. Russell On the passport application which I have shown you 
there is a signature, Maxwell N. Weisman, which is listed under that 
section of the application devoted to affidavit of identifying witness. 
Do you know Maxwell N. Weisman ? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer the question on grounds my answer 
might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Russell. Do you know whether or not he was ever in the United 
States Army? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Do you know where Maxwell N. Weisman is at the 
present time? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Mr. Chairman, I ask that the photostatic copy of 
passport application be received in evidence as Travis exhibit 
No. 1. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3395 

Mr. Wood. Without objection it will be received. 

(The photostatic copy of passport application above referred to, 
marked "Travis Exhibit No. 1," is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Russell. And I desire to introduce in evidence as "Travis 
Exhibit No. 2" the photostatic copy of the letter of March 24 addressed 
"Dear Sirs," and signed "Helen L. Simon." 

Mr. Wood. Without objection it will be received. 

(The photostatic copy of letter above referred to, marked "Travis 
Exhibit No. 2," is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Russell. Where did you reside in August 1945 ? 

Mrs. Travis. At the Seventy-seventh Street address. 

Mr. Russell. Three hundred and fifty East Seventy-seventh 
Street? 

Mrs. Travis. Yes. 

Mr. Russell. What was your employment at that time, in August 
1945? 

Mrs. Travis. That is in the period I refused to discuss on the 
grounds it might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Russell. Did you, in July of 1945, circulate a nominating peti- 
tion for councilman for Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., for the city of New 
York from the Borough of Manhattan? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it 
might tend to incriminate me. 

Mr. Russell. Did you ever attest to the signatures which appeared 
on a nominating petition for Benjamin J. Davis? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Have you ever been a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Are you now a member of the Communist Party ? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Have you ever belonged to the Young Communist 
League ? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Mr. Louis Budenz, in his testimony before this com- 
mittee, testified that he knew you as a member of the Communist 
Party. Do you affirm or deny that statement ? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer it on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Mr. Budenz also testified that he knew you as an 
employee of the Daily Worker as Helen Levi Simon and also as 
Maxine Levi. Is that a statement of fact ? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Is that statement false ? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to judge on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. I hand you a photostatic copy of a page from the 
Daily Worker of July 20, 1947, which pertains to Guiseppina Erico 
and states that he was a monarchist, and contains the name "By Helen 
Simon." Did you ever write an article of that nature for the Daily 
Worker? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. I show you a photostatic copy of a page from the 
Daily Worker of August 17, 1949, entitled "Formula for Friend- 
ship," which also contains the name "By Helen Simon." I ask if 
you ever wrote an article of that nature for the Daily Worker? 



3396 AMERICAN ASPECTS OE ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. I show you a photostatic copy of a page from the 
Daily Worker dated Monday, July 19, 1948, and under the caption 
"Our duty to other peoples," there is the name "By Helen Simon." 
I ask if you have ever written an article of that character for the 
Daily Worker ? 

(Witness confers with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer this question on the same grounds, 
and if you go through all of them it might come out the same. 

Mr. Russell. I ask that this photostatic copy of page from the 
Daily Worker of July 19, 1948, be introduced in evidence as Travis 
exhibit No. 3. 

Mr. Wood. Without objection, it will be received. 

(The photostatic copy of document above referred to marked 
"Travis Exhibit No. 3," is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Russell. Have you ever maintained an account in the Chase 
National Bank of New York City ? 

(Witness confers with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Travis. I don't remember. 

Mr. Russell. Do you recall whether you opened one in March 
1942? 

Mr. Wood. We will have to go answer the roll call. 1 We will suspend 
until 2 : 30 this afternoon. 

(Thereupon, at 12:30 p. m., on Wednesday, August 30, 1950, a 
recess was taken until 3 : 30 p. m. of the same day.) 

AFTERNOON SESSION 

(A subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met 
at 3:30 p. m., Hon. John S. Wood (chairman) presiding. Repre- 
sentatives John S. Wood, Francis E. Walter, and Harold H. Velde 
were present.) 

Mr. Wood. Let the record show that for the purpose of a continua- 
tion of the testimony of this witness, since the recess a subcommittee 
composed of Messrs. Walter, Velde, and Wood has been named. 

TESTIMONY OF HELEN TRAVIS— Resumed 

Mr. Russell. When we concluded this morning I had asked you a 
question as to whether you had ever had an account in the Chase 
National Bank of New York City, and I believe you said you did not 
recall ? 

Mrs. Travis. That is correct. 

Mr. Russell. Do you recall whether you opened an account in the 
Chase National Bank of New York City on March 30, 1942, and closed 
it on May 14, 1948 ? 

Mrs. Travis. Was it at Seventy-ninth and Madison ? 

Mr. Russell. The Seventy-ninth Street branch. 

Mrs. Travis. Yes. 

Mr. Russell You had an account there ? 

Mrs. Travis. I don't remember the dates, but I had an account at 
Seventy-ninth and Madison. 

1 This refers to a roll-call vote -which was being taken on the floor of the House of 
Representatives. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3397 

Mr. Russell. Did you ever transfer any money from that account 
to the account of D. Enrique de Los Rios ? 

Mrs. Travis. That is a question I don't care to answer, on grounds 
of possible self-incrimination. 

Mr. Wood. Do you answer it or not ? 

Mrs. Travis. I decline to answer it on those grounds. 

Mr. Russell. I show you a photostatic copy of an application for 
transfer of $3,700, by order of Helen L. Simon, to the Banco Anglo- 
Mexicano, Mexico, Province D. F., Mexico, for the account of D. 
Enrique de Los Rios, dated February 21, 1944, and signed by Helen 
L. Simon. I ask you if you can recall ever having signed this appli- 
cation for transfer of funds ? 

Mrs. Travis. I refuse to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Is that your signature on that document? 

(Witness confers with her counsel.) 

Mrs. Travis. Same answer. 

Mr. Wood. You decline to answer that ? 

Mrs. Travis. Correct. 

Mr. Russell. Where did you reside on February 21, 1944; in New 
York City ? 

Mrs. Travis. On Seventy-seventh Street. 

Mr. Russell. 350 East Seventy-seventh Street? 

Mrs. Travis. Yes. 

Mr. Russell. Is the address which appears on this application for 
transfer your address ? 

Mrs. Travis. That was my address at the time. 

Mr. Russell. But you won't answer as to whether or not that was 
your signature ? 

Mrs. Travis. Same answer. 

Mr. Russell. This morning I asked you if you had ever secured 
signatures to a nominating petition for Benjamin J. Davis for council- 
man in the Borough of Manhattan, and you refused to answer that 
question. 

At this time I would like to show you a photostatic copy of a nomi- 
nating petition containing 10 signatures attested to by Helen L. Simon 
of 350 East Seventy-seventh Street, and I will ask if you signed this 
nominating petition ? 

Mrs. Travis. I decline to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. I ask that the photostatic copy of the application for 
transfer of $3,700 be placed in the record as Travis exhibit No. 4. 

Mr. Wood. It will be admitted. 

(The photostatic copy of application for transfer of funds, marked 
"Travis Exhibit No. 4," is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Wood. It is noted from an examination of the document that 
the amount is not an even $3,700. 

Mr. Russell. There were several charges, but the amount trans- 
ferred was $3,700. 

I ask that a photostatic copy of nominating petition for council- 
man, signed by Helen L. Simon and dated August 1945, be introduced 
in the record at this time as Travis exhibit No. 5. 

Mr. Wood. It will be admitted. 

(The photostatic copy of nominating petition above referred to, 
marked "Travis Exhibit No. 5," is filed herewith.) 

Mr. Russell. Are you acquainted with Jacob Epstein? 



3398 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mrs. Travis. I decline to answer that on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Do you know Ruth Wilson, also known as Ruth Wil- 
son Epstein? 

Mrs. Travis. Same answer. 

Mr. Russell. Are you acquainted with Lydia Altschuler ? 

Mrs. Travis. Same answer, on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Do you know Pauline Baskind ? 

Mrs. Travis. I decline to answer that question on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Do you know Anna Vogel Colloms ? 

Mrs. Travis. I decline to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Do you know Ethel Vogel ? 

Mrs. Travis. I decline to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Do you know Louis S. Bloch? 

Mrs. Travis. I decline to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Do you know Frances Silverman? 

Mrs. Travis. I decline to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Do you know Barnett Shepard? 

Mrs. Travis. I decline to answer on the same grounds. 

Mr. Russell. Are you acquainted with Fanny McPeek ? 

Mrs. Travis. I decline to answer that question on the same grounds. 

(Witness confers with her counsel.) 

Mr. Russell. Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Walter? 

Mr. Walter. No questions. 

Mr. Wood. Mr. Velde? 

Mr. Velde. I have no questions. 

Mr. Wood. You may be excused. 

(Thereupon the witness and her counsel left the hearing room.) 

Mr. Russell. Mr. Chairman, we have taken the testimony of Philip 
L. Schmitz, a handwriting examiner. This testimony was taken July 
26, 1950, by Mr. Moulder, presiding as chairman of a subcommittee. 

Mr. Schmitz' testimony pertained to the handwriting examina- 
tion of the documents which have been introduced into the record 
which were signed by Helen L. Simon. They are exhibits 1, 2, 4, and 5. 
The handwriting examiner testified that those documents were all 
written by the same person, and the person who signed her name as 
Helen L. Simon. I request that this testimony be made a part of 
the record of this hearing at this point. 

Mr. Wood. Without objection, that will be done. 

( The testimony above referred to is as follows : ) 

United States House of Representatives, 
Subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D. C, Wedtiesday, July 26, 1950. 

executive session 

The subcommittee of one met, pursuant to call, at 2 p. m., in room 226, Old 
House Office Building, Hon. Morgan M. Moulder presiding. 

Committee member present : Hon. Morgan M. Moulder. 

Staff members present : William A. Wheeler and C. E. Owens, investigators. 

Mr. Moulder. Let the record show that I have been designated by the chair- 
man as a subcommittee of one for the purpose of this hearing. 

Mr. Schmitz, do you swear that the testimony you give before this subcom- 
mittee shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you 
God? 

Mr. Schmitz. I do. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3399 

Testimony of Philip L. Schmitz 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you please state your full name? 

Mr. Schmitz. Philip L. Schmitz. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is your present address? 

Mr. Schmitz. Washington, D. C. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where are you employed at the present time? 

Mr. Schmitz. Veterans' Administration. 

Mr. Wheeler. What position do you hold with the Veterans' Administration? 

Mr. Schmitz. I am a document analyst, Identification and Detection Division. 

Mr. Wheeler. What are your duties as a document analyst? 

Mr. Schmitz. My duties include examination of handwriting, handlettering or 
handprinting, typewriting, indented writing, obliterated writing, inks and era- 
sures, as well as paper examinations and similar related material. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you devote your entire time to this work? 

Mr. Schmitz. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. What educational training have you received? 

Mr. Schmitz. B. S. degree from St. Thomas College, St. Paul, Minn. 

Mr. Wheeler. What did you do in a special way to prepare yourself for the 
work you are now doing? 

Mr. Schmitz. I spent several years with the FBI as a document examiner. 
Upon receiving my appointment in the laboratory, I worked under the supervision 
of experienced document examiners. I also received a course of instruction and 
training during which I read various books on the subject, attended lectures and 
conferences and received experience working on actual cases under the direct 
supervision of several examiners. During this time I examined hundreds of cases 
involving thousands of specimens. After reaching a satisfactory degree of 
proficiency, I received authority to examine cases on my own responsibility and 
was granted the right to testify in court as an expert witness. I have also spent 
several years with the Veterans' Administration as a document analyst. I have 
also testified in general courts martial involving war crimes trials in Manila, 
Philippine Islands. I have testified before the Federal court in Washington, 
D. C. as an expert witness on document identification. 

Mr. Wheeler. How many years have you been engaged in this type of work? 

Mr. Schmitz. Approximately 10 years. 

Mr. Wheeler. I now show you a document identified as exhibit K-l, which is 
a photostatic copy of a passport application form dated April 2, 1946, bearing 
No. 22339 and containing the signature of Helen L. Simon. I desire to introduce 
this document in evidence as Helen L. Simon exhibit K-l. 

Mr. Moulder. It is so ordered. 

Mr. Wheeler. The next document is identified as exhibit K-2, which is a 
photostatic copy of a letter dated March 24, beginning "Dear Sirs" and con- 
taining the purported known handwriting and signature of Helen L. Simon. 
I desire to enter this document in evidence as Helen L. Simon exhibit K-2. 

Mr. Moulder. It is so ordered. 

Mr. Wheeler. The next document, exhibit Q-l, is a photostatic copy of a 
nominating petition for councilman, Borough of Manhattan, city of New York, 
dated August 8, 1945, and bearing the questioned handwriting of Helen L. Simon. 
1 desire to introduce this document in the record as Helen L. Simon exhibit Q-l. 

Mr. Moulder. It is so ordered. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Schmitz, have you examined the writings appearing on the 
exhibits received in evidence as Helen L. Simon exhibits K-l and K-2? 

Mr. Schmitz. I have. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you examined the handwriting appearing on the exhibit 
entered as Helen L. Simon exhibit Q-l? 

Mr. Schmitz. Yes, I have. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you compared the writing appearing on Helen L. Simon 
exhibits K-l and K-2 with the writing appearing on Helen L. Simon exhibit Q-l? 

Mr. Schmitz. Yes, I have compared the writings on these documents. 

Mr. Wheeler. From your examination and comparison of these writings, have 
you formed an opinion as to whether they were written by the same person? 

Mr. Schmitz. Yes, I have. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is your opinion? 

Mr. Schmitz. An examination of the handwriting appearing on the documents, 
photostatic copy of nominating petition for councilman (Q-l) ; photostatic copy 
of passport application form dated April 2, 1946 (K-l) ; and photostatic copy of 
letter dated March 24 (K-2), has resulted in the conclusion that the signature 



3400 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

"Helen L Simon" and the writing on the lower portion of Q-l, nominating peti- 
tion for councilman, beginning "Helen L. Simon, being duly sworn, with the 
excepUon o^the notktion of the certifying officer in the lower left corner, were 
all written by Helen L. Simon, whose known and purported known writing and 
signatures have been previously identified as exhibit K-l and exhibit ; K-2. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you relate to the committee how you arrived at the con- 
clusion to which you have just testified? . _ 

Mr Schmitz. Handwriting identification is based on an examination and 
comparison of minute handwriting characteristics which are inherent in each 
individual The mechanics of handwriting examination, as I conduct it, involve 
an examination of the questioned writing wherein minute handwriting character- 
istics are determined and set forth on a work sheet. Next, the known hand- 
writing is examined and the individual characteristics are determined and also 
set forth on a work sheet. Following these two examinations, the questioned and 
known writings are examined simultaneously and a determination is then made 
as to whether or not the writings were prepared by one or more than one indi- 
vidual In handwriting examination there must be a strong combination of 
handwriting similarities with no unexplained major differences • 

Mr Wheeler. I now hand you a photostatic copy of a document headed Appli- 
cation for Transfer by Mail, Cable or Wireless." This application bears the 
purported signature of Helen I, Simon, is dated February 21, 1944, and discloses 
that Helen L. Simon forwarded for the account of D. Enrique De Los Rios the 
amount of $3,700. I desire to introduce this document into the record as Helen 
L. Simon exhibit Q-2. 

Mr. Moulder. It is so ordered. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Schmitz, have you examined the handwriting appearing on 
this document, both on the front and back thereof? 

Mr Schmitz. Yes, I have examined this writing. 

Mr' Wheeler. Did you reach the conclusion that this document was executed 
by the same individual whose signatures appear on the documents introduced 
in the record as exhibits K-l, K-2, and Q-l? 

Mr Schmitz. Yes, that is the conclusion I reached. • 

Mr. Wheeler. I now ask you to explain to the committee what portion of the 
writing appearing on exhibit Q-2 was written by the individual who executed 

eX Mr ' ScHMiT^rThTconclusion which I reached is that the signature "Helen L. 
Simon" on the front side of the application for transfer by mail cable or wireless 
(SS), and all the writing, including the signature "Helen L. Simon" appearing 
on the reverse side of this document, were written by Helen L. Simon, whose 
known and purported known writings have previously been identified as photo- 
static copy of passport application (K-l) and photostatic copy of letter dated 

^^ifwtiES'Did you arrive at this conclusion by the same method which you 
previously related to the committee concerning exhibits K-l, K-J, ana y-i t 
Mr. Schmitz. Yes, I did. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Chairman, I have no more questions. # 

Mr Moulder. Mr. Schmitz, on behalf of the committee, I wish to thank you 

f °^Thereupom^^3ot e nL°on Wednesday, July 26, 1950, the subcommittee 
adjourned. ) 

Mr. Wood. The committee will stand adjourned until 10 o'clock 
tomorrow morning. orv _,„„„ 

(Thereupon, at 3:35 p. m. on Wednesday, 'August 30, 1950 an 
adjournment was taken until Thursday, August 31, 1950, at 10 a. m.) 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF THE ASSASSINATION OF 
LEON TEOTSKY 



MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1950 

United States House of Representatives, 

Subcommittee of the 
Committee on Un-American Activities, 

Washington, D. C. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION 

A subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met 
pursuant to call at 11 a. m. in room 226, Old House Office Building, 
Hon. Francis E. Walter presiding. 

Committee members present : Representatives Francis E. Walter, 
Burr P. Harrison, Harold H. Velde, and Bernard W. Kearney. 

Staff members present: Louis J. Russell, senior investigator; 
William A. Wheeler and Courtney E. Owens, investigators. 

Mr. Walter. You may proceed. 

Mr. Wheeler. Miss Sylvia Ageloff. 

Mr. Walter. Will you raise your right hand, please. You swear 
the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God ? 

Miss Ageloff. I do. 

TESTIMONY OF SYLVIA AGELOFF 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you please state your full name? 

Miss Ageloff. Sylvia Ageloff. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where were you born ? 

Miss Ageloff. In New York City. 

Mr. Wheeler. You are here in response to a subpena served upon 
you ? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Ruby Weil ? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Would you please relate to the committee the cir- 
cumstances involved in your relationship with her? 

Miss Ageloff. In 1938, when I went to Europe, she called and said 
she was going to Europe too and that she would go along with me. 
We went on the boat together, and we went to Paris together. 

You want the whole story ? 

Mr. Wheeler. Yes, how you met her and the whole story. 

Miss Ageloff. I met her before 1938 in New York. At that time 
I was a member of the American Workers Party and she was also 
a member and I was friendly with her at that time. 

3401 



3402 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Then we didn't see her too much. She disappeared. The rumors 
were that she was joining the Communist Party, or was interested 
in it, and we didn't see her much at all, except that we had been per- 
sonally friendly in the sense that we met her sometimes to go to the 
movies. 

A few weeks before I went to Europe, she said her sister, who lived 
in England, had sent her money for passage, and since she had free 
time or was unemployed, wasn't it wonderful, and she would go along. 
I said that was all right with me. That was in June 1938. 

We got to Southampton, her sister met her at the boat, and they went 
up to London by car, and I went on a boat train. I told her what hotel 
I would be in, and she called in a few days and came to see me and 
brought her sister along. She said she was going to Paris too. She 
knew I was going to Paris. So she said she would go with me. 

We went on a boat train to Paris, and she came with me to the hotel 
I was staying at. Then she said she had a sister Gertrude who knew 
somebody in Paris that she had been friendly with, who was a young 
student and used to visit Gertrude at her house in Paris, and she was 
going to get in touch with him. 

So she called him and he came around to the hotel. At that time 
her other sister, Corinne, the one in England who met her at the boat, 
came to Paris, and the three of us went sightseeing together. 

I don't remember if Corinne and Ruby left Paris at the same time 
and went back to London, or whether Corinne left first and Ruby left 
directly from Paris. I never saw Ruby after that. 

Mr. Wheeler. What was the purpose of your visit to Paris ? 

Miss Ageloff. Just a pleasure trip. " 

Mr. Wheeler. Was there a convention over there of any kind? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes ; but I didn't know that at the time. I went for a 
holiday. 

Mr. Wheeler. What convention was it? 

Miss Ageloff. The Fourth International. 

Mr. Wheeler. A Trotskyite International Congress ? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. You were a member of the Trotskyite Party or 
movement ? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. And your sister Ruth Ageloff was Leon Trotsky s 
secretary? 

Miss Ageloff. No. The papers garbled that terribly. Actually, 
the only connection she had, she was in Mexico at the time of the 
Dewey Commission, and they needed someone to do typing work and 
she was employed to do that. She was never secretary in a true sense. 
She never handled the correspondence. 

Mr. Wheeler. What period of time did she work there ? 

Miss Ageloff. Maybe a week. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you get a passport to go to France and England ( 

Miss Ageloff. Sure. ■ ■"• . 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you get it under the name of Sylvia Agelott { 

Miss Ageloff. Of course. ,.-,-. , ,'.•■, 

Mr. Wheeler. I would like for you to go in a little further detail 
about Frank Jacson. Who introduced you to Frank Jacson? 

Miss Ageloff. Rubv Weil. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3403 

Mr. Wheeler. And over what period of time did you know Frank 
Jacson in Paris ? 

Miss Ageloff. We got there I guess in June. From June until I 
left in January or February of 1939. 

Mr. Wheeler. That would be a period of about seven months? 
Miss Ageloff. Six or seven months. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know Frank Jacson under any other name? 
Miss Ageloff. Yes. It wasn't Jacson, it was Jacques Mornard at 
that time. 

Mr. Wheeler. You and this Mr. Mornard became quite friendly over 
this period of time? 
Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. What was Mr. Mornard's attitude in regard to the 
Trotskyite movement? 

Miss Ageloff. In the first place, I didn't tell him I was a Trot- 
skyite. He seemed completely disinterested in politics of any kind. 
He never even read ordinary news articles. He seemed interested in 
sports and the theater and music and things of that sort. He seemed 
very disinterested in politics. 

Mr. Wheeler. He didn't show any interest at all in Trotsky ? 
Miss Ageloff. No. He seemed completely naive and disinterested. 
Mr. Wheeler. You returned to New York City in January 1939? 
Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. After you returned to New York City did you see 
Mr. Mornard at any time? 

Miss Ageloff. In September 1939 he came here. That was a few 
days or weeks after the war broke out. He came with a forged pass- 
port as Frank Jacson. The reason he gave for using a forged pass- 
port was that he was in the Belgian Army and would not have been 
permitted to leave the country. 

Mr. Wheeler. He confided in you that he was in the United States 
illegally ? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. How long a period of time did he remain in New 
York City? 

Miss Ageloff. About 3 weeks, or maybe less. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did he tell you where he was going after he left 
New York City? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes. He said he was going to Mexico, that his 
mother had arranged a job for him with — I don't remember the man's 
name now ; he was supposed to be head of the Allied Purchasing Com- 
mission, and through his mother's connections this man was going to 
employ him. and he was to work for him in a general capacity. 
Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever see him after that time? 
Miss Ageloff. Yes. Then in January 1940 I went down to Mexico. 
I had had a sinus infection, and I went down there, I was going any- 
way, and was anxious to see him, so I went there in January and 
stayed until March. I was working at the time, so in March I came 
back. 

All the time he had said he was not going to stay in Mexico, that this 
man would arrange a job for him in New York, and that this was only 
temporary ; that they were going to open an office in New York too and 
that he would be the New York representative. 



3404 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wheeler. In New York did he ever discuss with you that he 
was going to try to get in the employment of Leon Trotsky in Mexico 
City? 

Miss Ageloff. No. He never showed any interest in Trotsky at all. 
By that time he knew I was in the Trotskyite movement. When I was 
in Mexico from January to March he showed a little more interest in 
politics as a concession to me, but nothing that would give a clue to his 
feelings. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you feel he used you in any way ? 

Miss Ageloff. I think it is very obvious from what happened. 

Mr. Wheeler. And you saw Mornard, or Jacson, in January 

Miss Ageloff. From January to March 1940. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall where he was employed at that time? 

Miss Ageloff. This company — it is in the testimony. He was em- 
ployed by this man who was supposed to be a Belgian and the head 
of a purchasing commission. I never met that man. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever see any correspondence from him ? 

Miss Ageloff. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever have any contact with Frank Jacson 
when he went to work for Leon Trotsky ? 

Miss Ageloff. He never worked for Leon Trotsky. 

Mr. Wheeler. He never worked for Leon Trotsky ? 

Miss Ageloff. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know how he gained access to Leon Trotsky's 
headquarters? 

Miss Ageloff. This is the story wejheard later in testimony. We 
didn't know from first-hand information. He said he had an article 
he wanted Trotsky to look at. This came as quite a surprise to me, be- 
cause he had never shown any interest in politics. It seems he had writ- 
ten an article on economics and he wanted Trotsky to look it over. 
The reason the guard let him in the house, I understand sometime prior 
to that, he had a car and he had taken Mrs. Trotsky on a trip to Vera 
Cruz, and that is why the guard let him in that time. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know how he arranged the trip? 

Miss Ageloff. I wasn't there. 

Mr. Wheeler. I thought you may have heard. 

Miss Ageloff. I think he just drove up in his car. They needed 
two cars, I think. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever have any indication at all that this 
Frank Jacson or Mornard was a representative of NKVD ? 

Miss Ageloff. Oh, no. He seemed so different. He didn't seem 
like a political person at all. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever been a member of the Communist 
Party ? 

Miss Ageloff. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever know that Ruby Weil was a member 
of the Communist Party ? 

Miss Ageloff. We kn,ew in 1938 that she was no longer interested 
in the American Workers Party, and she worked for a newspaper that 
was supposed to be pro-Communist, We never knew for a certainty. 
We never knew definitely, but the general feeling was that Ruby Weil 
was getting to be interested in it. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you feel now that that was a prearranged plan 
to introduce vou to Mornard? 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3405 

Miss Ageloff. I am sure it was, because it couldn't have just 
happened. 

Mr. Wheeler. Were you instrumental in any way in getting Morn- 
ard into the United States?' 

Miss Ageloff. No. I came home from work one day and found 
him there. The original intention when I left Europe was that he 
was to come over in a month or so, legally. There was no mobiliza- 
tion or anything then. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever find out his real name ? 

Miss Ageloff. The name he gave me? 

Mr. Wheeler. The real name of Frank Jacson ? 

Miss Ageloff. There was a name in the last book that came out that 
was written by the chief of police in Mexico. It has some other name. 

Mr. Wheeler. I mean of your own personal knowledge, do you 
know of any other name ? 

Miss Ageloff. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. How did Ruby Weil use you in regard to all of this ? 
How do you feel that she used you? 

Miss Ageloff. Well, she knew that I was going to Paris, because I 
made no secret of it. I told everybody I was going. I had saved up 
some money and planned to make that trip. 

Mr. Wheeler. Didn't Ruby Weil originally meet your sister, Hilda ? 

Miss Ageloff. We all knew her, but she was friendly with Hilda 
particularly. I knew her well enough that I wasn't surprised when she 
said could we go together. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you have any indication, in your associations 
with Ruby Weil, that she had been instructed by the Communist Party 
to infiltrate the Trotskyite movement. ? 

Miss Ageloff. No. She was what I would call a sympathizer. She 
never forced her opinion. She never was very rigid about it. We 
would have discussions. One could talk to her. She didn't give the 
impression of being such a hardened Communist as being an agent of 
the OGPU. She gave the impression cf being sympathetic. 

Mr. Walter. What was the name of the newspaper she worked for? 

Miss Ageloff. I believe the Federated Press. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Chairman, we also had subpenaed another sister, 
Ruth Ageloff. However, she is ill and we have a doctor's certificate 
we would like to present to the committee in regard to her. I don't 
think it is necessary to make this a part of the record. 

Mr. Walter. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. I suggest it be put in the file. 

Mr. Walter. Very well. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you have anything you would like to volunteer 
to the committee in regard to this matter you have been brought down 
here for ? 

Miss Ageloff. I don't know what you mean. 

Mr. Wheeler. Is there any additional information we haven't asked 
you about that might help us ? 

Miss Ageloff. You mean to show that Ruby Weil was really impli- 
cated? 

Mr. Wheeler. That is right, or your participation in it, whether 
knowingly or unknowingly. 

Miss Ageloff. I think it would be easier, if there are any gaps, for 
you to ask me. 



3406 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wheeler. What was your reaction when Frank Jacson mur- 
dered Leon Trotsky ? 

Miss Ageloff. I felt he was an OGPU agent. I felt there was no 
other way to explain it. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you feel in any way you had been involuntarily 
or unknowingly involved in this ? 

Miss Ageloff. I was involved insofar that I suppose if I had never 
met him, I guess he wouldn't have gained entrance to the house at all. 
I should say for the record, though, that I never brought him to 
the house, because I felt since he was in the country illegally it was 
not good for Mr. Trotsky that he should ever be brought to the house, 
so that he only entered the house after I had returned to New York 
City, and Mrs. Trotsky confirmed that. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you work for Leon Trotsky in Mexico City? 
Miss Ageloff. No. I went to visit him. I was there once for 
exactly a half hour, and I told him at that time that Jacson was in 
Mexico and that he was here on a false passport, and would it be 
better for him if I didn't see him. There never was any question 
of Jacson seeing him. He didn't seem interested. 

Mr. Walter. How did you know that Trotsky knew Jacson? 
Miss Ageloff. Afterwards he wrote to me he had taken them to 
Vera Cruz. I was surprised to hear it, because when I left in March 
he had never even been inside the house. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you feel Jacson gained entrance to the house 
because he knew you ? Do you feel he used your friendship to acquire 
the trust of Leon Trotsky in Mexico? 

Miss Ageloff. I guess so. I guess if it wasn't he it would have 
been somebody else, but I guess that is the reason why they let him 
take them down to A r era Cruz. They certainly wouldn't have let a 
stranger offer his car. 

Mr. Wheeler. I have no further questions. 

Miss Ageloff. The only other thing I wanted to bring out, I had 
the impression he must have beeri in New York before, in retrospect, 
because he told me that on the boat he was telling everybody what 
was lower Manhattan, and so forth, and I said, "How could you tell 
them, how did you know?" He said he had been so interested he had 
studied pictures and everything. When I thought it over I figured 
he must have been in New York before, although he said he had not. 
Mr. Wheeler. When was the last time you saw Ruby Weil? 
Miss Ageloff. In June 1938. 

Mr. Wheeler. That was after she introduced you to Frank Jacson, 
and then she departed ? 
Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you see her this morning ? 
Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. That is the same person who accompanied you to 
France, the person in the waiting room ? 
Miss Ageloff. Yes. 
Mr. Wheeler. No further questions. 
(Witness excused.) 
Mr. Wheeler. Miss Hilda Ageloff. 

Mr. Walter. Will vou raise your right hand, please. You swear 
the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, 
and nothing but the truth, so help you God? 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEOX TROTSKY 3407 

Miss Ageloff. I do. 

Mr. Walter. Have a seat. 

TESTIMONY OF HILDA AGELOFF 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you state your full name ? 

Miss Ageloff. Hilda Ageloff. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where were you born ? 

Miss Ageloff. New York City. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with an individual named Ruby 
Weil I 

Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you explain to the committee the circumstances 
under which you met her ? 

Miss Ageloff. It was in the American Workers Party we belonged 
to in 1936 or thereabouts. Ruby Weil worked on the newspaper with 
her brother-in-law. Harry Howe. That is how I got to know her. 

Afterward she left the party and stopped working on the paper. 
Harry Howe left the paper too, I think. I would see her very occa- 
sionally. Every couple of months or so she would call me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did anybody introduce you. to Ruby Weil ? 

Miss Ageloff. No. It was a very tiny group and we had classes 
and lectures, and she worked on the newspaper. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall the name of the paper ? 

Miss Ageloff. I am not sure of the name of the paper. 

Mr. Wheeler. And you in turn introduced Ruby Weil to your 
sister, Sylvia ? 

Miss Ageloff. Y r es. 

Mr. Wheeler. Over what period of time did you know Ruby Weil ? 

Miss Ageloff. As I say, it was very casual. I wouldn't see her 
for months at a time. One time when I met her at a movie or some- 
thing I must have mentioned that Sylvia was going to Europe, and 
then quite a while later I was surprised to hear that she was going 
to Europe, that her sister in England was sending her a ticket. She 
didn't have the money — that is what she said — and that her sister 
was sending her the fare and was inviting her over. She was work- 
ing at that time. She was working for the Federated Press. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever know Ruby Weil as a member of the 
Communist Party ? 

Miss Ageloff. No. I had no idea. Our conversations on politics 
were very mild. I hadn't the faintest idea. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever been a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Miss Ageloff. Never. 

Mr. W t heeler. Have you ever been to Mexico City ? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes, several times. 

Mr. Wheeler. What years ? 

Miss Ageloff. I don't remember now. I was there about 1948, 
and I was there when Sylvia was there in 1940, because I was there 
with her the last time when this whole business happened. 

Mr. Wheeler. Were you acquainted with Leon Trotsky ( 

Miss Ageloff. Well, I met him once, the first time when I came down 
there ; I don't remember the year. I was invited over to his house and 



3408 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

we sat in his study for about 20 minutes to a half hour, a very informal 
meeting, a social meeting, and I think that was the only time I ever 
saw him. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever meet Frank Jacson? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes. I met him him when he came to the house the 
day he suddenly appeared and said he had just arrived from Eu- 
rope ; that he had arrived on a sealed boat ; that the war had started. 
It was all very dramatic. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know at the time he was illegally in the 
United States ? 

Miss Ageloff. When he came ; yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did he give any purpose for coming to the United 
States ? 

Miss Ageloff. He was on his way to Mexico. He had this job; 
lie didn't want to be in the Belgian Army ; he didn't want to fight. 

Mr. Kearney. What job was that? 

Miss Ageloff. He said he had a job in Mexico with a purchasing 
commission, import-export, something like that, with a Belgian im- 
porter. I don't know the details of that. I didn't pay too much 
attention to it. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever acquire any knowledge that Frank 
Jacson was a member of NKVD or OGPU ? 

Miss Ageloff. Not until he killed Trotsky. Then it was obvious. 

Mr. Wheeler. What was obvious ? 

Miss Ageloff. There had been an "attempted assassination a few 
months before, and Trotsky was in continuous fear of his life, and 
kept saying that he feared he would be killed, so it was public 
knowledge. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you feel in any way that you assisted in this 
Trotsky assassination, unknowingly or unwillingly? 

Miss Ageloff. Certainly unknowingly, through Ruby Weil. 

Mr. Wheeler. You feel Ruby Weil was very instrumental in the 
assassination of Leon Trotsky? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Walter. Any questions? 

Mr. Velde. How do you feel she was instrumental in the assassi- 
nation ? 

Miss Ageloff. Because she was the connecting link with the assassin, 
and since I felt pretty sure it was the Stalin police that had killed 
Trotsky, her being a link made it obvious she was a part of the chain. 

Mr. Velde. What do you mean by her being a link ? 

Miss Ageloff. She introduced Sylvia to Mornard, as she knew him, 
and Mornard killed Trotsky. 

Mr. Velde. How did that make her responsible ? 

Miss Ageloff. She was acting as a member of the plot, whether she 
knew it or not. I don't know whether she knew it, but she willingly 
agreed to do that part for them. 

Mr. Velde. Do you know anything else that she did besides making 
the introduction? 

Miss Ageloff. I don't know what you mean. 

Mr. Velde. Do you know of anything else that she did that caused 
the assassination of Trotsky, other than making the introduction ? 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3409 

Miss Ageloff. I don't know. I didn't see her after that. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Velde, we have previous testimony by Mr. 
Budenz that Ruby Weil was selected by the Communist Party to in- 
filtrate the Trotskyites, and in doing that she became acquainted with 
Hilda Ageloff, who introduced her to Sylvia Ageloff, and Ruby Weil 
went to Paris with Sylvia and in Paris introduced Sylvia to Frank 
Jacson ; and through the Ageloff's being active in the Trotskyites and 
having known Leon Trotsky, it was felt that introducing the Ageloffs 
to Mornard or Jacson would give him a way to get in to Trotsky in 
Mexico City. 

Mr. Kearney. Did you know of your own knowledge that an attempt 
would be made to assassinate Trotsky ? 

Miss Ageloff. No. 

Mr. Kearney. You never took part in any meetings where anything 
like that was discussed ? 

Miss Ageloff. No. I was never in the Communist Party and I was 
never close to the Communist Party. 

Mr. Walter. Mr. Harrison, any questions ? 

Mr. Harrison. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. When was the last time you saw Ruby Weil ? 

Miss Ageloff. When she came back from Europe she telephoned 
me. She said, "I guess you want to know all about Sylvia?" I said 
"Sure/' She said Sylvia was having a very nice time, that she had 
met this fellow, and it all sounded very nice. 

A few weeks later she telephoned and said, "I went to the doctor 
with a slight cold and he told me I had tuberculosis, and I have to go 
to a sanatorium." 

Mr. Wheeler. But she ceased her associations with you after the 
introduction of Jacson to Sylvia ? 

Miss Ageloff. She did go to Bedford Hills Sanatorium after that. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you see her this morning ? 

Miss Ageloff. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where ? 

Miss Ageloff. In the waiting room. I wrote her when she was in 
the sanatorium, and she answered, and I once phoned Marion, her 
sister, and asked how she was, and she said she was getting along all 
right. 

Mr. Wheeler. I have no further questions. 

(TVitness excused.) 

Mr. Wheeler. The next witness is Miss Ruby Weil. 

Mr. Walter. Raise your right hand, please. Do you swear the 
testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and 
nothing but the truth, so help you God? 

Miss Weil. I do. 

TESTIMONY OF RUBY WEIL, ACCOMPANIED BY HER COUNSEL, 

DAVID REIN 

Mr. Wheeler. Please state your full name. 

Miss Weil. Ruby Weil. 

Mr. Wheeler. You are represented by counsel ? 

Miss Weil. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will counsel identify himself for the record? 



3410 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Rein. Surely. David Rein, 711 Fourteenth Street NW., Wash- 
ington, D. C. 

Mr. Wheeler. When and where were you born ? 

Miss Weil. Evansville, Ind., May 7, 1903. 

Mr. Wheeler. What is your present address ? 

Miss Weil. 445 West Twenty-third Street, 

Mr. Wheeler. And your present occupation ? 

Miss Weil. I am a newspaper editor. 

Mr. Wheeler. And for whom do you work ? 

Miss Weil. Associated Press. 

Mr. Wheeler. In New City City ? 

Miss Weil. That is right. 

Mr. Wheeler. And you are appearing here in response to a sub- 
pena served upon you ? 

Miss Weil. That is right, 

Mr. Walter. How long have you been employed by the Associated 
Press ? 

Miss Weil. Almost 8 years. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you please relate to the committee your educa- 
tional background? 

Miss Weil. I went to public schools in Evansville, and I took some 
courses in Indianapolis, and later took extension-college courses. 

Mr. Wheeler. What college ? 

Miss Weil. Extension of Indiana University. 

Mr. Wheeler. What year was that ? 

Miss Weil. That would be early in the 1920's. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you hold any degrees from any university? 

Miss Weil. No ; I do not. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you relate your employment record since leav- 
ing the university ? 

Miss Weil. That Avas not a university. Those were j ust some classes. 
It was while I was working. I worked first on the Evansville Press, 
then on the Indianapolis Times, and then I came to New York and 
worked for the Fairchild Publications, which is a trade publication, 
and a little paper called People's Press. Then I had a period of ill- 
ness, and when I came back I worked for the Associated Press. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever travel outside the United States? 

Miss Weil. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Will you relate to the committee your travels? 

Miss Weil. I have been to Europe twice. 

Mr. Wheeler. When were you in Europe the first time? 

Miss Weil. I am not sure whether it was late 1928 or early 1929. 

Mr. Wheeler. And when was your second trip ? 

Miss Weil. In 1938. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall the month ? 

Miss Weil. It was early summer. I think it was probably late 
June or early July. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you travel to Europe by yourself ? 

Miss Weil. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Sylvia Ageloff ? 

Miss Weil. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did she accompany you on this trip ? 

Miss Weil. Yes. When I said by myself, we traveled on the same 
boat. We were not making the trip together. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3411 

Mr. Wheeler. What was the purpose of your trip to Europe? 

Miss Weil. I was on vacation. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever been a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Miss Weil. Yes, I have. 

Mr. Wheeler. When did you join the Communist Party? 

Miss Weil. I am not certain of the date. I would say probably 
sometime during 1936. 

Mr. Wheeler. When did you resign from the Communist Party « 

Miss Weil. I didn't actually resign. I just kind of stopped going 

around. .'■,-, 

Mr. Wheeler. When did you cease relationships with the Com- 
munist Party ? 

Miss Weil. Sometime in 1937. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you resign by direction of the Communist Party, 
or voluntarily ? 

Miss Weil. I didn't resign at all. I just stopped going around. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you cease your relationship with the Communist 
Party voluntarily, or by direction? 

Miss Weil. Voluntarily. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever rejoin the Communist Party i 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever ask anybody m regard to your member- 
ship in the Communist Party ? 

Miss Weil. I don't understand what you mean. 

Mr. -Wheeler. Did you ever ask to rejoin the Communist Party? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Who recruited your membership ? 

Miss Weil. I guess I wasn't actually recruited. I decided that it 
was what I wanted to do and I just went up and told them so. 

Mr. Wheeler . Where was this — what city ? 

Miss Weil. New York. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where did you go ? 

Miss Weil. To their place down on Thirteenth Street. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall who you saw there? 

Miss Weil. I don't know that I ever knew the name. 

Mr. Wheeler. Were you assigned to any particular unit or branch 
of the Communist Party ? 

Miss Weil. Yes. I was sent to a neighborhood branch. 

Mr. Wheeler. Can you identify the branch of the Communist 
Party you were a member of ? 

Miss Weil. I don't remember what they called it. It was an 
awfully long time ago. 

Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever held any offices in the Communist 
Party? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Who were members of this branch or cell of the 
Communist Party that you were assigned to ? 

Miss Weil. I don't know. Lots of people. 

Mr. Wheeler. You don't remember any of them ? 

Miss Weil. I don't remember their names. This happened a long 
time ago. 

Mr. Wheeler. You don't recall one name ? 



3412 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Miss Weil. Not now. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Louis Budenz ? 

Miss Weil. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you. know him as a member of the Communist 
Party? 

Miss Weil. I knew he was a member. 

Mr. Wheeler. How did you know that ? 

Miss Weil. He joined very publicly. 

Mr. Wheeler. Were you ever a member of the Conference for Pro- 
gressive Labor Action ? 

Miss Weil. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. When was that ? 

Miss Weil. Well, I had been away from New York, and I came 
back sometime in 1934. I think probably it was late in 1934 or early 
in 1935. 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you acquainted with Bernard Schuster? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. You don't recall him at all ? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever meet Frank Jacson ? 

Miss Weil. No. I never knew that name until I saw it in the paper. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know him by another name ? 

Miss Weil. I suppose I did. I suppose it is the same person. 

Mr. Wheeler. Under what name did you know him ? 

Miss Weil. Jacques Mornard. 

Mr. Wheeler. How did you meet Mr. Mornard ? 

Miss Weil. I met him in Paris. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall who introduced you ? 

Miss Weil. I had known a woman in New York, had met her, and 
she was a friend of his. When he called me he said he was a friend of 
hers. 

Mr. Wheeler. What was her name ? 

Miss Weil. Her first name was Gertrude. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall her last name ? 

Miss Weil. I am not absolutely certain of her last name. I think it 
was Sauzea. I knew several people with a name something like that 
associated with the Waldorf. 

Mr. Wheeler. Where did Gertrude reside? 

Miss Weil. In Paris. 

Mr. Wheeler. You saw her before you went to Paris, didn't you? 

Miss Weil. Not for sometime. 

Mr. Wheeler. Didn't she used to reside in Greenwich Village? 

Miss Weil. I don't think she lived there. I had seen her in New 
York. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you introduce Sylvia Ageloff to Mr. Mornard in 
Paris? 

Miss Weil. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you ever recall meeting anybody by the name of 
Roberts ? 

Miss Weil. I have met several people named Roberts. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever meet anybody named Rabinowitz con- 
nected with the Red Cross ? 

Miss Weil. Not that I know of. 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3413 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever receive any instructions from the Com- 
munist Party to contact Sylvia Ageloff or Hilda Ageloff? 

Miss Weil. I did not, 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever receive any instructions at any time 
to infiltrate the Trotskyite movement? 

Miss Weil. I did not. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Budenz, in his testimony, gives quite a different 
picture. 

Mr. Walter. Does the witness know what Mr. Budenz said? 

Miss Weil. I read his book ; yes. 

Mr. Rein. She doesn't know what he testified to, but she has read 
what has appeared in print. 

Mr. Wheeler. I would like to read from the affidavit of Mr. Budenz : 

Among those whom I introduced to Roberts was Ruby Weil, whom I had known 
as a member of the Conference for Progressive Labor Action, of which I had been 
national secretary prior to becoming a Communist. Miss Weil had secretly 
joined the Communist Party shortly after I had entered it openly, and had been 
assigned to a secret training school or unit for infiltration. This assignment had 
been given her by Comrade Chester, whose correct name is Bernard Schuster or 
Zuster, the notorious underground agent who directed infiltration of the National 
Guard and other organizations in the New York and New England areas for the 
Soviet fifth column. 

You were a member of the Conference for Progressive Labor 
Action ? 

Miss Weil. That is right. 

Mr. Wheeler. And you did join the Communist Party? 

Miss Weil. That is right. 

Mr. Wheeler. Were you ever assigned to a secret training school 
or unit of the Communist Party ? 

Miss Weil. I was assigned to — I think they called it a branch. 

Mr. Walter. Did you know Schuster ? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Walter. Did you know Comrade Chester ? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Harrison. You deny the testimony ? 

Miss Weil. Yes. 

Mr. Harrison. In toto ? 

Mr. Rein. I hardly think that is fair, Mr. Congressman. 

Mr. Walter. You deny the allegation that was just read? 

Miss Weil. That is right. 

Mr. Rein. She said some things that are the same as Mr. Budenz 
said. 

Mr. Harrison. I was referring to that particular allegation. 

Mr. Wheeler (continuing reading) : 

In addition to her knowledge of infiltration methods, Miss Weil had been on 
very friendly terms with Hilda Ageloff, sister of Leon Trotsky's secretary, Ruth 
Ageloff. Hilda was also sister to Sylvia Ageloff, a Brooklyn social worker who 
devoted vacation periods and other free time to Trotskyite courier work. 

You were on friendly terms with Hilda Ageloff? 
Miss Weil. That is right. 

Mr. Wheeler. And you also knew Sylvia Ageloff ? 
Miss Weil. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Who paid your expenses to Europe ? 
Miss Weil. I paid them. 



3414 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever receive any money from Mr. Budenz 
or any other member of the Communist Party for part of your ex- 
penses ? 

Miss Weil. No. . 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever know this Gertrude as Comrade 

Gertrude? 

Miss Weil. No. ■ „ .< •" 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you know Gertrude as a member ot the Com- 
munist Party? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. While in Paris, did you attend the Irotsky Inter- 
national Congress ? 

Miss Weil. I did not. ' . - 

Mr. Wheeler. Were you ever a member of the T rotskyite 1 arty i 

Miss Weil. When I was in that Labor Action group there was a mer- 
ger but I actually was in there but a very short time. It wasn't at that 
time the Troskyite Party ; no. . 

Mr. Wheeler. Were you interested m the Trotskyite movement { 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. How well do you know Mr. Budenz ? 

Miss Weil. Well, when I was in this Labor Action group I knew him 

quite well. 

Mr. Wheeler. The Labor Action group was part of the Communist 

Party ? . . 

Miss Weil. No. It was a separate organization. 
Mr. Wheeler. How many times have you seen Me. Budenz roughly ? 
Miss Weil. I am afraid I couldn't even guess at that. 
Mr. Wheeler. Two times ? . • ? 

Miss Weil. Oh, no. During that period I saw him quite often. 
Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever see him after your return from France 

in 1938? ,- •■ . , . . 

Miss Weil. It is possible, I don't have any recollection ot having 
seen him. I saw him since then ; I beg your pardon. I saw him sever- 
al years ago. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall seeing him in 1940 ? 

Miss Weil. In 1940*1 was ill. I was just out of a sanatorium. 

Mr. Wheeler. Just out of it? 

Miss Weil. I was in the TB sanatorium from November or Decem- 
ber 1938 until the early summer of 1940. 

Mr. Wheeler. Mr. Budenz has related to the committee that sub- 
sequent to the assassination of Leon Trotsky you personally contact- 
ed him in New York. 

Miss Weil. I read that. He said I rushed up to the Daily Worker. 
As a matter of fact, I was in Vermont. I wasn't even in New York. 

Mr. Wheeler. You deny that? 

Miss Weil. Yes. . 

Mr. Wheeler. When were you released from the tuberculosis sana- 
torium ? 

Miss Weil. In early summer 1940. 

Mr. Wheeler. What sanatorium were you in ? 

Miss Weil. It was called Bedford Hills. It was part of Montefiore. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you contact Mr. Budenz after your release from 
the sanatorium ? 



AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 3415 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever live in Chicago ? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Sylvia Franklin ? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Sylvia Caulwell? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Sylvia Kallen? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. Those names are absolutely unfamiliar to you ? 

Miss Weil. They mean nothing to me. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you know Jack Kling, K-1-i-n-g? 

Miss Weil. No ; I am sorry. 

Mr. Wheeler. You don't recall the name Roberts or Rabinowitz 
at all? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Rein. I think she said she did recall meeting Roberts. 

Mr. Wheeler. People named Roberts ? 

Miss Weil. People named Roberts ; yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. You were in the Communist Party for how long? 

Miss Weil. A year or maybe a little more than a year. 

Mr. Wheeler. And that was in New York City in 1937 ? 

Miss Weil. Around then. 

Mr. Wheeler. And you don't remember one person in the Com- 
munist Party ? 

Miss Weil. I can't remember any names. They were not important 
people. 

Mr. Wheeler. How many people do you believe you met as members 
of the Communist Party while you were a member \ 

Miss Well. That is like the other question. I haven't the slightest 
idea. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you pay dues ? 

Miss Well. Yes. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall whom you paid dues to ? 

Miss Weil. I don't remember the person. It probably was a number 
of different people; I don't know. 

Mr. Wheeler. Do you recall now who registered you in the Com- 
munist Party? 

Miss Weil. I don't know that I eve r knew the nam e. 

Mr. Wheeler. You don't recall wluTissued your card ? 

Miss Weil. No. 

Mr. Wheeler. You had a card? 

Miss Weil. I had a very serious illness after all this, and I was 
advised to relax and concentrate on getting well, and I put every thing- 
out of my mind but getting over it ; and since then I have been advised 
not to get upset. That is one thing TB patients have to be careful 
about. 

Mr. Wheeler. Is this the individual known to you as Mr. Mornard 
[showing picture to witness] I 

Miss A\ r EiL. I wouldn't recognize that, no. That is an AP picture. 
He must have changed considerably. 

Mr. Wheeler. Did you ever see Mr. Mornard in the United States \ 

Miss Weil. Xo. 



3416 AMERICAN ASPECTS OF ASSASSINATION OF LEON TROTSKY 

Mr. Wheeler. Are you a member of the Communist Party now % 

Miss Weil. No ; I am not, 

Mr. Wheeler. I have no further questions. 

Mr. Walter. Is there anything you want to volunteer ? 

Miss Weil. I really don't know what I can tell you. I have told 
this story several times to Government people. I don't even know 
why I was brought down here. 

Mr. Russell. Are you sympathetic to communism at the present 
time ? 

Miss Weil. I have nothing to do with these matters. I am a non- 
political person. 

Mr. Russell. Are you sympathetic or not to communism % 

Miss Weil. No; I am not, I have nothing to do with such things. 

Mi\ Harrison. What is your position with the Associated Press ? 

Miss Weil. I am women's editor in the Wide World Photos, which 
is one of the picture departments. My job is largely in fashions. As 
a matter of fact, I am missing a very important assignment today by 
being brought down here, which has disturbed me, because I could do 
my job well. 

Mr. Owens. You stated this was an AP picture. Do you recognize. 
it is an AP picture ? 

Miss Weil. I happened to run across it. One of my jobs is to go 
over pictures. I am picture editor. I happened to notice that picture, 
and I saw the name. I would not have recognized it otherwise. He 
has changed a good deal from what he looked like when I knew him. 

(Thereupon, at 12: 15 p. m., the hearing was adjourned.) 

X 



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