They Found the Ice Pick Used to Kill Trotsky, But it’s Not an Ice Pick


Soon to be displayed at Washington’s International Spy Museum is the ice pick used to kill Leon Trotsky, the famed Russian revolutionary, and Marxist.

Where the apparently improvised weapon wielded by loyal Stalinist Ramón Mercader has been all these years is worth a gander at the Guardian article linked below. That said,  the piece doesn’t offer any additional clarity as to whether it’s actually an ice pick or an ice ax (though it does opt for the Brit spelling of “axe”).

For this, the Icarian suggests attending a production of playwright David Ives’ All in the Timing. The anthology of one-acts features Variations on the Death of Trotsky that makes a bold dramatic choice — the weapon is not an ice pick but a mountain climber’s ax.  And the play opens with it already comically buried in Trotsky’s skull — though he hasn’t noticed yet.

From Wikipedia:

Though this is apparent to the audience from the very beginning, Trotsky himself does not realize that the axe is there until his wife, known only as Mrs. Trotsky, comes in with an encyclopedia from the future which tells of Trotsky’s demise…Trotsky has a deep fear of icepicks, and is taken aback when he finds that his fear should have been directed towards mountain-climber axes.

Source: Bloodstained ice axe used to kill Trotsky emerges after decades in the shadows | Mexico | The Guardian

By Daedalus Howell

Daedalus Howell is the writer-director of the films Pill Head (on Amazon) and the upcoming Wolf Story. He is the author, most recently, of the novel "Quantum Deadline" and editor of The North Bay Bohemian and The Pacific Sun. Learn how he went from small-town newspaperman to a feature film director here.

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