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World Association of International Studies

Post Trotsky House, Coyoacan
Created by John Eipper on 01/03/18 4:21 AM

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Trotsky House, Coyoacan (Boris Volodarsky, Austria, 01/03/18 4:21 am)

This is an immediate response to Patrick Mears's interesting post of 30 December 2017.

Patrick, have you been able to visit Trotsky's house (now Museo Casa de León Trotsky) at the end of Avenida Viena, at number 19, corner with Morelos, in Coyoacán? Trotsky received his deadly wound there on 20 August 1940 and soon died to be buried in the house garden. If you do visit, as many as possible photos will be much appreciated to be included in my upcoming book and a lecture at the LSE. Thank you.

JE comments: Pat and Ed Mears are now in Oaxaca, and I don't know if they had the chance to visit Coyoacán, a gorgeous Mexico City suburb. Yours Truly first visited the Trotsky house in 1984, during my backpacking semester in Mexico. It was still a private residence at the time, although the occupant would give tours if you asked. Now the museum is expanded and quite impressive. I last visited with an Adrian College group in 2005.  My students preferred Frida Kahlo's house, not far away.

Boris, I'll see if I can scare up some of my digital photos, including Trotsky's stark tomb with the hammer and sickle.

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  • Visiting Trotsky's House of Exile, Coyoacan (Salvatore Bizzarro, USA 01/03/18 5:10 PM)
    I have visited both Trotsky's house and Frida Kahlo's house in Coyoacán, and I, like John's students, preferred Frida's beautiful home.

    JE comments: Frida's house is undoubtedly more beautiful, but for historical interest, I'll go Chez Trotsky. For starters, the house was converted into a fortress with a medieval aura, the result of Stalin's first attempt on Trotsky.  Trotsky's room/study is extremely austere, almost monastic.  Frida Kahlo's house, in contrast, is happy and brightly colored, with a yellow-and-blue kitchen that makes every Michigander scream "Wolverine fan!"  (Please note that Trotsky visited Frida a lot, ahem.)

    A photo of Trotsky's tomb hangs on my office wall at the College (first photo), together with a sundry cast of historical figures:  Ambrose Burnside (center of photo 2), Winfield Scott (lower right) and the iconic Evita Perón, masterfully doodled in class by a student.  The artist kindly gifted me her work.  The small photo directly above Winfield is an anonymous Russian soldier from the Great War era, together with a nun--his sister, perhaps?

    How many know of Trotsky's extremely accomplished great-granddaughter, Nora Volkow?  Tamara Zúñiga-Brown will explain on the morrow.

    Finally, my warmest thanks to Salvatore Bizzarro for his contribution to WAIS, which I received today.  Salvatore mailed the check in 2017 but it arrived this year.  Either year, Salvatore, I'm grateful and honored to have you with us.

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  • Dr Nora Volkow, Trotsky's Great-Granddaughter (Tamara Zuniga-Brown, USA 01/04/18 3:39 AM)
    To add to the incredible Trotsky story: Here is his great-granddaughter, Dr. Nora Volkov, leaving an indelible mark on the world, and on medical history, through her intelligence, commitment, and compassion--as did her father, and her sisters. Diane Rhem also had a great interview with her. I'll let you discover the impacting story in the links below.

    As a side note, I developed a lesson plan around this clip for my advanced note-taking and vocabulary class. My Saudi and Chinese students were deeply intrigued! The truth is so much more interesting.

    Hooked: Why bad habits are hard to break (60 Minutes, 2012):


    The Diane Rehm interview:


    JE comments:  How many of you knew this?  Dr Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse since 2003, grew up in the same Coyoacán house where Trotsky was murdered in 1940.  This fact alone would really leave its mark on you.  I wonder if her mother opened the door for me when I visited in 1984.

    Dr V's work on addiction explores one of the fundamental mysteries of the human condition:  What makes us dependent on behaviors that we know are destructive?

    Thank you and all the best for 2018, Tamara.  ¡Feliz año nuevo!

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    • Padura's "The Man who Loved Dogs" (Paul Levine, Denmark 01/04/18 2:39 PM)

      Those who are interested in another fascinating view of Trotsky in Mexico should read Leonardo Padura's
      superb novel, The Man Who Loved Dogs.

      Padura, a Cuban novelist, writes an imaginative study of Leon
      Trotsky, his murderer Ramón Mercader, and the worlds of Russia, Spain, Mexico, and, of course, Cuba.

      JE comments:  Paul Levine reminds me of a book I promised to read three years ago, but still haven't.  For shame, JE! 

      WAISer Luciano Dondero, who was a Trotskyist in his youth, first brought Padura's novel to our attention in 2014.  One reviewer described the work as a Russian novel, due to its length, its Dostoevskian psychology, and its Tolstoyan historical scope.


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