August 21 (evening session)


At the evening session of August 21, the last of the accused, Fritz David (Kruglyansky), is examined.

Fritz David was sent to the Soviet Union by Trotsky as a terrorist with instructions to make an attempt on the life of Comrade Stalin. In reply to a question put to him by the President of the Court the accused confirms his testimony as to the instructions he received personally from Trotsky in Copenhagen. In order not to expose the underground Trotskyite organisation to any risk, Fritz David did not establish contact with anybody in the U.S.S.R. except with Berman-Yurin. This, declares the accused, was in pursuance of the direct instructions of Trotsky.

Replying to questions put to him by Comrade Vyshinsky, Fritz David gives to the Court a detailed account of how in August 1932 he established contact with Sedov, and, through the latter, with Trotsky.

Vyshinsky:  When did you meet Trotsky?

Fritz David:  I met him at the end of November 1932.

Vyshinsky:  How did you come to him?

Fritz David:  I travelled on a false passport. In one of the conversations I had with Sedov he told me that Trotsky was to come to Europe and would like to see me.

Vyshinsky:  Tell me, during that meeting with Trotsky, was there talk of terrorism?

Fritz David:  There was.

Vyshinsky:  On whose initiative?

Fritz David:  On Trotsky's initiative.

In his testimony regarding the content of his conversation with Trotsky, Fritz David declares that Trotsky said that the advent of the Trotskyites to power in the U.S.S.R. was possible only if Stalin were physically destroyed.

One of the prospects put forward by Trotsky was to take a defeatist attitude in the event of war, but he stressed the point that "there is a closer prospect of Trotskyites coming to power - the prospect of the physical removal of Stalin."

Vyshinsky:  What was your attitude toward this idea?

Fritz David:  I accepted this second prospect.

Vyshinsky:  Did you tell him so - that you accepted this line, that you agreed?

Fritz David:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  What else occurred?

Fritz David:  Then Trotsky gave me two instructions. The first instruction concerned secrecy.

Vyshinsky:  You told him you would undertake a terroristic mission?

Fritz David:  Yes. He proposed that I go to the U.S.S.R. and personally commit a terroristic act, without the aid of others, without any organization, without contacts with other Trotskyites.

Vyshinsky:  And that is what the instruction concerning secrecy amounted to?

Friz David:  Yes. Trotsky told me that this affair involved risk and that there was no point in exposing the Trotskyite organization in the U.S.S.R. to that risk. The second instruction was to the effect that this terroristic act was to bear an international character, was to be committted at an international assembly. This shot, as Trotsky expressed it, was to reverberate through out the whole world.

Vyshinsky:  Did your conversation end at that?

Fritz David:  Our conversation, which was a very long one ended at that. Besides, Trotsky said, for example, that talk about individual terror not being compatible with Marxism was a subject for the philistines of Marxism.

Vyshinsky:  What other instructions did Trotsky give you?

Fritz David:  Trotsky instructed me to behave in the U.S.S.R. in such a way as not to show any deviations from the general line of the Party, and when writing for the press to adhere strictly to the Party line, and under no circumstances to reveal the threads after the terroristic act was committed.

Friz David arrived in the U.S.S.R. in March 1933 and met Berman-Yurin who sought him out on Sedov's instructions. Fritz David and Berman-Yurin drew up two concrete plans for attempts on the life of Comrade Stalin; the first was to be made at the Thirteenth Plenum of the E.C.C.I., the second at the Seventh Congress of the Comintern. Both plans failed, because Comrade Stalin did not attend the Thirteenth Plenum, while only Fritz David was able to get into the Congress of the Comintern, since he had failed to obtain a ticket for Berman-Yurin. Fritz David, according to his statement, was unable to commit the terroristic act because it was impossible to get near Comrade Stalin.

Vyshinsky:  So you gained entry to the Congress?

Fritz David:  Yes, I was at the Congress.

Vyshinsky:  Why was the terroristic act not committed?

Fritz David:  The indictment quite correctly states that I was not able to get near Stalin.

Vyshinsky:  You went to the Congress to make an attempt at assassination?

Fritz David:  Of course.

After the Seventh Congress messengers from Trotsky's son, Sedov, visited Fritz David on two occasions, and in Sedov's name accused the terrorists of not being sufficiently active and ordered them to speed up the terroristic act in accordance with Trotsky's instructions.

Vyshinsky:  These meetings took place on the basis of your terroristic plans?

Fritz David:  These meetings were caused by the fact that the terroristic act was not committed at the Seventh Congress, and this made Sedov furious.

Vyshinsky:  But did you terroristic disposition pass away after this, or did it continue until quite recently?

Fritz David:  Yes it continued.

Vyshinsky:  Until when?

Fritz David:  Until my arrest.

Vyshinsky:  So we may sum up. You were a member of the Trotskyite organization and met Trotsky personally. Trotsky personally commissioned you to go to the U.S.S.R. to commit a terroristic act and warned to observe strict secrecy. That explains why you made no contacts with any other members of the Trotskyite organization except Berman-Yurin. Together with Berman-Yurin, who had received analogous instructions, you made preparations for an attempt on the life of Comrade Stalin, timing it for the Seventh Congress in 1935. Thanks to the contacts you had in the Comintern you personally gained entry to the Congress in order to commit this act, but you failed to do so owing to circumstances over which you had no control.

Fritz David:  I question this last point somewhat, not in order to minimize my guilt, but simply to present the whole picture.

Vyshinsky:  Then let's say: owing to objective circumstances?

Fritz David:  Owing to objective and subjective factors.

Vyshinsky:  But you will not deny the charge against you that you failed to commit the act because you could not get nearer to the platform and had no chance to get near Comrade Stalin?

Fritz David:  That was one of the reasons

Vyshinsky:  Yes, one of the reasons, but an obvious, objective reason. All the rest is mere psychology.

This concludes the examination of the accused Fritz David.


After the examination of the accused at the evening session of August 21, Comrade Vyshinsky, State Attorney of the U.S.S.R. makes the following statement:

"At preceding sessions some of the accused (Kamenev, Zinoviev and Reingold) in their testimony referred to Tomsky, Bukharin, Rykov, Uglanov, Radek, Pyatakov, Serebryakov and Sokolnikov as being to a greater or lesser degree involved in the criminal counter-revolutionary activities for which the accused in the present case are being tried. I consider it necessary to inform the Court that yesterday I gave orders to institute an investigation of these statements of the accused in regard to Tomsky, Rykov, Bukharin, Uglanov, Radek and Pyatakov, and that in accordance with the results of this investigation the office of the State Attorney will institute legal proceedings in this matter. In regard to Serebryakov and Sokolnikov, the investigating authorities are already in possession of material convicting these persons of counter-revolutionary crimes, and, in view of this, criminal proceedings are being instituted against Sokolnikov and Serebryakov."

At the end of the evening session of August 21, the accused Dreitzer, replying to questions put to him by Comrade Vyshinsky concerning certain details of the counter-revolutionary activities of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre, declares that one of the active participants in the terroristic work of the Trotskyites was Putna, an old and active Trotskyite. According to Dreitzer, Putna at one time ostensibly left the Trotskyites in pursuance of the line of double-dealing, but actually continued until quite recently to carry on stricly secret work for the Trotskyite centre. In particular, Dreitzer testifies that Putna had direct contact with Trotsky, met I. N. Smirnov, and in 1932 communicated to Smirnov, through Dreitzer, Trotsky's verbal instructions to organize terrorist groups. The accused Smirnov tries to deny the fact that Putna participated in the terroristic activity of the Trotskyites. However, in reply to questions put to them by Comrade Vyshinsky, the accused Pickel, Reingold and Bakayev corroborate Dreitzer's testimony.

On the conclusion of the examination of the accused, Comrade Ulrich, President of the Court, declares the court investigation ended.