Trotsky Guard List Photos and Duty Roster

When Sheldon Harte's body was found Trotsky sent a telegram to his parents expressing his sympathy on behalf of himself and all the guards.

Telegram to Jesse S. Harte

June 25, 1940

My wife, my collaborators, I, bow in deep mourning before the grief of the mother and father of our dear Bob. Only consolation in these bitter hours is that the wild slander against Bob through which the assassins tried to conceal the assassination is now unmasked. As a hero, Bob perished for ideas he believed in.

Natalia and Leon Trotsky
Joe Hansen
Harold Robins
Charles Cornell
Jake Cooper
Otto Schuessler
Walter O'Rourke.

source - The Socialist Appeal 1940 June 29

Henry Schnautz became a guard on July 12, 1940, in effect Harte's replacement. After the assassination, Otto, Walter and Henry would remain (with Grandizo Munis though he doesnt seem to have pulled much guard duty). Melquaides Benitez was a trusted hand also.

Henry took some photos of his fellow guards. He took several pictures of Jake Cooper. Other identifications are tentative but probably identifiable are Walter O'Rourke, Otto Schuessler and most tentatively Melquaides. I have searched the internet and news stories as best I can to get photos to put them all in one place.

Below all the photos are two original pages of Labor Assignments and Duty Roster from 1940 - found wadded up in the bottom of an old box of Mexico memorabilia

Note - All photo IDs are *tentative*

back row - Albert Goldman, Harold Robins, Jake Cooper, Henry Schnautz

Source - Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Leon Trotsky collection, Envelope B - 15 prints of Evelyn Reed and guards and other members of the Trotsky household at the villa of Leon Trotsky in Coyoacan, Mexico, 1940

Evelyn Reed was Evelyn Andreas at this time and Walter O'Rourke's companion. I believe that is her looking sideways. She had been a painter and became a well-known author of many books on feminism. She married George Novack in 1942 and worked for the SWP publications the rest of her life. That is probably Walter kneeling.

When Trotsky's son Lev Sedov died in Paris in 1938, almost surely by GPU means, Trotsky's grandson Seva by a daughter of Trotsky's first wife was left without a family guardian. Trotsky initiated legal steps to bring him to Mexico. Eventually he was brought to Mexico at 14 years of age and escorted by Alfred and Marguerite Rosmer, who stayed at the Trotsky compound until May 28, 1940, four days after the first assassination attempt. During their stay they became very friendly with the assassin to be, known as Frank Jacson. They were to leave Mexico by boat for New York departing from Tampico. Jacson drove them to Tampico, saying he had business there anyway. Natalia Trotsky wanted to go along, which meant she would have to come back alone with Jacson. Apparently no one thought that was a good idea. A second car was used, and Evelyn Andreas was the driver. Shortly after the trip began, Jacson noticed some mechanical problem with Andreas' car, took it to a mechanic, who supposedly agreed, and the entire trip both ways was made by all parties in one car. Two weeks later when Jacson needs to re-enter the U.S. to finalize plans to kill Trotksy, he lists Evelyn Andreas as a character reference.

Link - Rebel with a Cause - Lapham's Quarterly 2020 Sept 22 - Julia Harte - a look at the evidence for and against Sheldon Harte

Caption - Natalia Sedova (in the center), Léon Trotsky (behind her), Alfred Rosmer (behind left) and Seva Volkov (seated), accompanied by bodyguards Otto Schüssler, Charlie Cornell and Harold Robins.

I think the guards are incorrectly identified. I can believe the bald gentleman is Otto Schuessler, but the fellow on the left in the suit is probably Walter O'Rourke (real name Ketley - my id of Walter is circumstantial, I don't have any confirmed photos of him.) and the man in the back looks like Sheldon Harte to me, although Charles Cornell and Harte look similar.

Source - La Izquierda Diario - Se publican fotos ineditas de Leon Trotsky - Photo: personal collection of Gilles Walusinski.

Sheldon Harte 1937 College photo

Link - Rebel with a Cause - Lapham's Quarterly 2020 Sept 22 - Julia Harte

Sheldon Harte

Link - Transcend Media 7 Sept 2020 - Trotsky's Last Year - David North>

Standing - Jake Cooper, Charles Cornell, Henry Schnautz
Sitting - Walter O'Rourke

Source - "My Brother, My Comrade - Remembering Jake Cooper" by Mark Harris, 1994, p. 106

Henry Schnautz's photo ID on his Forma 4 immigration registration
Henry Schnautz
Charles Cornell and Harold Robins

Source - Evening World Herald, Omaha Nebraska, 1940 Aug 23, page 20

Charles Cornell

Source - Fresno Bee, California, 1940 Sept 09, page 9

Charles Cornell - the electric lock on the gate was remote controlled from the tower which overlooked the garage

Link - Rebel with a Cause - Lapham's Quarterly 2020 Sept 22 - Julia Harte

Harold Robins

Link - Transcend Media 7 Sept 2020 - Trotsky's Last Year - David North

Harold Robins

Link - Transcend Media 7 Sept 2020 - Trotsky's Last Year - David North

Joseph Hansen, Trotsky, Natalia, Raya Dunayevskaya (Rae Spiegel), Russian Secretary.

Link - UtahHumanities - Joseph Hansen: Right-Hand Man of Leon Trotsky, 2015 Mar 6

Joseph Hansen, standing behind Trotsky

Link - Socialist Action - Books: "The Man who Loved Dogs", Leonardo Padura, 2016 Dec 22

Review of the book by Cuban author Padura. A lot of people have tried to write an historical novel about Trotsky's Mexican exile. Padura's book is by far the best that I have read.

Reba Hansen, photo by Henry Schnautz in the Trotsky compound

Photos by Henry Schnautz

Otto Schuessler and Walter O'Rourke

In July 1941 Esperanza Lopez Mateos took Henry Schnautz on a hike to Las Penas de las Hadas. By that time the only guards left were Otto, Walter and Henry. Henry has photos of himself, and what looks like Walter and Otto hiking the heights probably at a later date.

Henry Schnautz
Walter O'Rourke
Jake Cooper is instantly recognizable
a potential photo of Melquaides Benitez

Date: Sunday August 4th, 1940
Walter - get milk from Fanny(?)
Walter - Take Natalia to concert
Charly (Cornell) -City, Siren, investigate foto-electric cel and plaque
Walter - 5:00 - to town

Friday Aug 9, 1940
Harold 9 to 1 to Advanas and Ford repair

Mon Aug 12
Henry intends to be off

Jake off Sunday afternoon

(on the back - Harold was keeping track of his hours, and someone wrote, find if anything good is on at Belles Artes or theatres.)

Labor Assignments

1. Canvas for sandbags - Joe (Joe's day off)
get truck to haul rubbish from outside door

2. Concrete - Hank (Schnautz)

3. Siren mounted - Charles (Cornell)
test buzzer in Hank's room

4a. Mount other Spot
b. Plan for more spots
c. Replace bulb under main Gariton(?) shining on street - Harold (Robins)

5. Clean and polish Dodge - Walter (O'Rourke) and Jake (Cooper)

6. Trim foliage
light handles on Library and dining room windows - Otto (Schuessler)