August 21 (evening session)
EXAMINATION OF THE ACCUSED
FRITZ DAVID (KRUGLYANSKY)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Fritz David: These meetings were caused by the fact that the
terroristic act was not committed at the Seventh Congress, and this made
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.
STATEMENT BY COMRADE
VYSHINSKY, STATE ATTORNEY OF THE U.S.S.R.
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
"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.