The NKVD chose Sylvia Ageloff, a Brooklyn social worker, Trotskyite, and confidante of Trotsky himself.
It was assumed that Ageloff
would be attending a secret conference of Trotsky's Fourth International (about which the NKVD
had been tipped off) in France in the summer of 1938.The NKVD used Ruby Weil, a wavering Trotskyite and acquaintance of Ageloff, to travel to Europe with Ageloff and set her up with Mercader via an agent by the name of Gertrude.
"Mornard" swept Ageloff
off her feet almost immediately.
had no idea that her
beloved "Mornard" was actually a Stalinist ideologue and NKVD assassin working towards a single goal.
Blinded by love, Ageloff
absurd stories.In February of 1939, "Mornard" told Ageloff that he had accepted a position in New York as a corespondent for a Belgian newspaper.
was to leave for New York and "Mornard" would follow in some weeks.
In January, Ageloff
arrived in Mexico.They took up residence in a hotel."Jacson
" told Ageloff
that he had an office in Mexico City, but when Ageloff
attempted to find it, she discovered the address did not exist.
was suspicious and asked a friend to check out the new address.
" was "working," Ageloff
would frequently make visits to Trotsky's fortified villa in the suburb of Coyoacan.
did recall, though, that during her first months with him in Mexico, "Jacson
" did begin to show more of an interest in politics, particularly those of the Trotskyites.
" did not accompany Ageloff
to the Trotsky villa, the couple did develop a friendship with Alfred and Marguerite Rosmer, the french couple who escorted Trotsky's orphaned grandson to Mexico after the murder of Trotsky's son, Lev Sedov, in 1938.
The Rosmers were living with the Trotsky's at the villa in Coyoacan and often engaged in social activities with Ageloff
...When "Jacson" and Ageloff would pick up the Rosmers at Coyoacan, Ageloff would not allow, "Jacson" to enter the compound, citing her caution regarding the founder of the Fourth International.
In March, Ageloff
returned to New York, probably to transport documents for Trotsky.
On August 10, "Jacson
" and Ageloff
had tea with the Trotsky's.