Lot 799:
TROTSKI (LEV DAVIDOVITCH BRONSTEIN, DIT LEV) (1879-1940)
Letter signed «L. Trotsky», in French, addressed to Gérard Rosenthal. Constantinople, October 26, 1929. 1/2 p. in-folio typed. Rare in French. Léon Trotski had signed a contract with the publisher Frédéric Rieder for the publication of French translations of three of his books, La Révolution défigurée, L’Internationale communiste, and Ma Vie. Difficulties arose, particularly over his autobiography, as Trotsky was dissatisfied with the first translation and protested against the choice of title Memoirs, which the publisher wanted to impose. “Dear Comrade Gerard, I am sending you herewith an «official» letter about my - indeed unhappy - relationship with Rieder. […] I believe that Rieder is either bankrupt or is simply stealing from me, without even having this excuse […]. I would be very grateful if you could intervene, it has become quite necessary and urgent. […]” One of Trotsky’s main supporters and his legal representative in France, Gérard Rosenthal (1903-1992) was initially close to the Surrealists, with whom he met Pierre Naville. He joined the newspaper Clarté with Pierre Naville in 1926 and joined the Communist Party in 1927, while criticising some of his political positions. He was admitted to the Paris Bar in 1928. He approached the Russian opposition, belonged for a time to Boris Souvarine’s circle and was expelled from the CP in May 1928. Elected to the executive commission of the Communist League in April 1930, he was also a member of the central committee of the Internationalist Workers’ Party (1936-1939). During the war, he took part in the Resistance in the maquis. It was in 1928, during the ceremonies in Moscow celebrating the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution, that he met Trotsky who had just been expelled from the Bolshevik Party. When Trotsky moved to Turkey in 1929, he visited him and established political, professional and friendly ties with him. He took part in the activities of the group gathered around the newspaper La Vérité, supported Trotsky as a lawyer in the conflict that arose around the publication in France of his autobiographical «Ma vie», accompanied him to Copenhagen in 1932 and lodged him at his father’s home in 1935, on the eve of his forced departure for Norway. Finally, he dealt with the suspicious death of Trotsky’s son Leon Sedov and was given the task of searching for his grandson, Sieva Volkov, and entrusting him to Alfred Rosmer, which was done in May 1939.
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