REPORT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS

REPORT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS

THE CASE OF THE

TROTSKYITE-ZINOVIEVITE TERRORIST CENTRE  

August 21 (morning session)

EXAMINATION OF THE ACCUSED HOLTZMAN

The morning session of August 21 begins with the examination of the accused Holtzman.

Holtzman was one of the most active members of the Trotskyite counter-revolutionary organization, personally connected with the leader of the Trotskyite centre in the U.S.S.R. - I. N. Smirnov.On Smirnov's instructions he maintained contact with the Trotskyite centre abroad.

In 1932 he personally reseived from L. Trotsky instructions regarding preparations for terroristic acts against the leaders of the C.P.S.U. and the Soviet government.

Holtzman testifies that he has known Smirnov since 1918. In 1926 Holtzman joined the Trotskyite organization. Later on he formally broke with the Trotskyites but continued to meet them, particularly Smirnov. After a protracted denial of his illegal Trotskyite activities, Holtzman, in reply to point-blank questions put to him by Comrade Vyshinsky, testifies that in 1931 he "accidentally" met Smirnov in the street. Smirnov proposed to meet him at his mother's apartment. In 1932 Holtzman came to the rendezvous and told Smirnov that he was to be sent abroad on official business but that "he was refusing to do this and would go reluctantly." Smirnov advised him to go. Holtzman agreed to accept the commission and to go abroad. Smirnov asked him to visit him once again before his departure.

The cross-examination of Holtzman and Smirnov establishes the fact that Smirnov preserved particular secrecy about Holtzman, using him for particularly secret missions.

Vyshinsky:  I ask you, were you a secret member of the Trotskyite organization acting under the guidance of Smirnov? Do you before this proletarian Court plead guilty to this or not?

Holtzman:  Yes.

The State Prosecutor further establishes that the meetings in the apartment of Smirnov's mother were not accidental and that this apartment served as the regular meeting-place for Holtzman and Smirnov. In establishing the circumstances of the meetings between Holtzman and Smirnov in the apartment of Smirnov's mother, Comrade Vyshinsky puts a number of questions to Holtzman.

Vyshinsky:  So you knew that at a certain time you would find Smirnov in his mother's apartment?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  This was Smirnov's Trotskyite meeting place?

Holtzman:  As it now appears, yes.

The accused Holtzman fails to disprove the fact that on the instructions of the Trotskyite centre he remained a covert Trotskyite within the Party.

Vyshinsky:  Formally you were in the Party?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  At the same time you were a Trotskyite?

Holtzman:  A Trotskyite.

Vyshinsky:  And. . . .

Holtzman:  A counter-revolutionary.

Vyshinsky:  And a double-dealer?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Before his departure from the U.S.S.R. Holtzman went to the meeting-place and met Smirnov there, Smirnov told Holtzman that when in Berlin he was to meet Trotsky's son, Sedov. Smirnov told Holtzman that he would give him a report which he was to deliver to Sedov for Trotsky. As both Holtzman and Smirnov admit, this report was to have been handed peronally to Sedov for delivery to Trotsky. Smirnov gave Holtzman a telephone number by which he was to ring up Sedov. Smirnov then gave him the password which was: "I have brought greetings from Galya." Further evidence establishes the fact that Smirnov also gave Holtzman a secret code for correspondence with Trotsky, for which purpose certain pages from the Arabian Nights  were used.

On arrival in Berlin, testifies Holtzman, he telephoned Sedov and arranged to meet him. The meeting took place near the Zoological Garden. As Holtzman and Sedov did not know each other, it was agreed that both were to carry in their hands copies of the Berliner Tageblatt  and of the Vorwärts.  On meeting Holtzman, Sedov proposed to go by car.

Continuing, Holtzman says: "We drove off. I don't remember the street. Sedov took me to a flat. No one was there. It was on the fourth floor. There I gave him the report and the secret code. . . . Thus I met him six or eight times in the course of four months. In November I again telephoned Sedov and we met once again. Sedov said to me: 'As you are going to the U.S.S.R., it would be a good thing if you came with me to Copenhagen where my father is.' "

Vyshinsky:  That is to say?

Holtzman:  That is to say, Trotsky.

Vyshinsky:  Did you go?

Holtzman:  I agreed, but I told him that we could not go together for reasons of secrecy. I arranged with Sedov to be in Copenhagen within two or three days, to put up at the Hotel Bristol and meet him there. I went to the hotel straight from the station and in the lounge met Sedov.

About 10 a.m. we went to Trotsky. When we arrived Trotsky first of all asked me about the feelings and the attitude of the mass of the Party members towards Stalin. I told him that I intended to leave Copenhagen that day and would leave for the U.S.S.R.within several days. Then Trotsky, walking up and down the room in a rather excited state, told me that he was preparing a letter for Smirnov, but as I was leaving that day he would not write it I must say that throughout this conversation I was alone with Trotsky. Very often Trotsky's son Sedov came in and out of the room.

Continuing, Holtzman testifies that in the course of the conversation Trotsky said that it was "necessary to remove Stalin."

Vyshinsky:  What does "remove Stalin" mean? Explain it.

Holtzman:  I will speak about that. Then Trotsky said that if Stalin were removed, it would be possible for the Trotskyites to come into power and to the leadership of the C.P.S.U. He also said that the only means of removing Stalin was terrorism.

Vyshinsky:  Did Trotsky say that outright?

Holtzman:  Yes. He said that for this purpose it was necessary to choose cadres of responsible people fit for this task. Then he said that this was to be communicated to Smirnov, but I was not to tell anybody else about it.

Vyshinsky:  Only Smirnov?

Holtzman:  Yes. At that moment Sedov came in and began hurrying us to finish the conversation. With this our conversation ended, and left.

Vyshinsky:  So Trotsky plainly told you that the fundamental task now (that is, in the autumn of 1932) was to assassinate Comrade Stalin? You remember for sure?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  So this was Trotsky's instruction?

Holtzman:  Yes. Trotsky could not put it in writing, and so I accepted it in verbal form and communicated the exact sense of it on my arrival in Moscow.

Vyshinsky:  That was Trotsky's verbal instruction?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Under further examination Holtzman tries to evade responsibility,declaring that he did not share Trotsky's point of view about terrorism. But the accused is immediately exposed as having remained in the underground Trotskyite organization and having continued to meet Trotskyites after his return to the U.S.S.R.

Vyshinsky:  We know that some time later Smirnov received instructions on terrorism also independently of you. I am exposing you as having received these instructions. You knew that the Trotskyites had already taken up a terroristic position and yet you continued to remain a Trotskyite?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Kept up connections with the Trotskyites?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Hence, you continued to be a member of the Trotskyite organization?

Holtzman  Yes.

 

 
EXAMINATION OF THE ACCUSED N. LURYE

The accused Nathan Lurye is examined.

He arrived in the U.S.S.R. from Berlin on the special mission of the Trotskyite organization for the purpose of committing terroristic acts. All his Trotskyite activities from 1927 onwards were directed towards sapping the power of the Soviet state.

Vyshinsky:  With whom did you first become intimate when you became a Trotskyite?

N. Lurye:  With Moissei Lurye.

Vyshinsky:  When did you become intimate with him?

N. Lurye:  At the end of the summer of 1927.

Vyshinsky:  When did your terroristic disposition, intentions, terroristic plans originate?

N. Lurye:  The training the Trotskyite organization gave me during all those years which I spent in that organization in Germany in the long run reduced itself to rousing hatred towards Stalin and the leadership of the C.P.S.U. In the beginning of 1932 Moissei Lurye said to me that it was time to go to the U.S.S.R. and carry on terroristic work there. This his instruction did not come as a surprise to me. It logically followed from all the preceding work. I arrived in the U.S.S.R. in April 1932 with the instruction to establish connections with the Trotskyites I had known in Germany and to carry on terroristic work together with them.

N. Lurye began by establishing connections with the Trotskyites in Moscow, first of all with those whom he had known in Germany: Konstant and Lipschitz.

N. Lurye:  I told Konstant about the terroristic instructions I had received from the Trotskyite organization through Moissei Lurye. Konstant told me it was not news to him. They, too, had terroristic instructions and had even taken practical steps to carry them out. He told me that they had a terrorist group to which Konstant and Lipschitz, and also a German engineer-architect, Franz Weitz, belonged.

Vyshinsky:  Who is Franz Weitz?

N. Lurye:  Franz Weitz was a member of the National-Socialist Party of Germany. He arrived in the U.S.S.R. on the instructions of Himmler who at that time was chief of the S.S. and subsequently became chief of the Gestapo.

Vyshinsky:  Franz Weitz was his representative?

N. Lurye:  Franz Weitz arrived in the U.S.S.R. on the instructions of Himmler for the purpose of committing terroristic acts.

Vyshinsky:  Where did you learn this?

N. Lurye:  The first one to tell me about it was Konstant, but later on Franz Weitz himself told me.

The fact that a direct agent of the German political police stood at the head of the terrorist group did not in the least disturb N. Lurye and his Trotskyite associates.

"I arrived at the conclusion," said N. Lurye, "that since the Trotskyites had adopted the method of fighting with arms this had its logic, that is to say, that if a fascist offered his services for the purposes of terrorism, those services should be made use of. I continued my connections with Franz Weitz and worked under his practical guidance."

In August 1932 Franz Weitz informed N. Lurye that there was a possibility of making an attempt on the life of the People's Commissar of Defence of the U.S.S.R., Comrade Voroshilov. The terrorist group received instructions from the fascist secret service agent to proceed to action. For a long period of time N. Lurye's group was engaged in preparing the attempt on the life of Comrade Voroshilov.

President of the Court:  When you were engaged in preparing the attempt on the life of Comrade Voroshilov you for a long time watched the coming and going of Comrade Voroshilov's automobile?How long were you engaged in preparing for the attempt on the life of Corade Voroshilov?

N. Lurye:  We were engaged in it from September 1932 to the spring of 1933.

President of the Court:  Juding by your testimony you frequently went to Frunze Street and to the adjacent streets, armed with revolvers?

N. Lurye:  Yes.

President of the Court:  All three of you were armed?

N. Lurye:  Yes.

President of the Court:  So that you would have committed the terroristic act had a favourable moment offered itself? Why did you not succeed in doing so?

N. Lurye:  We saw Voroshilov's car going down Frunze Street. it was travelling too fast. It was hopeless firing at the fast running car. We decided that it was useless.

President of the Court:  You managed to see Comrade Voroshilov's car?

N. Lurye;  I saw it and so did the second member of the group, Paul Lipschitz.

President of the Court:  Did you cease watching Comrade Voroshilov's car?

N. Lurye:  Yes.

President of the Court:  For what reasons?

N. Lurye:  Because we became convinced that it was useless shooting with a revolver.

President of the Court:  What did you turn your attention to after that?

N. Lurye:  To the acquisition of explosives.

President of the Court:  What kind of terroristic act did you intend to commit?

N. Lurye:  A terroristic act with a bomb.

President of the Court:  You said that you turned your attention to the acquisition of explosives for the purpose of committing a terroristic act. Against whom?

N. Lurye:  Against Voroshilov.

President of the Court:  In the street, or on some premises?

N. Lurye:  In the street.

In July 1933 N. Lurye was sent to Chelyabinsk to work in the capacity of a surgeon (his speciality).

In Chelyabinsk N. Lurye did not cease terroristic activities and did not abandon his terroristic designs. N. Lurye testifies before the Court that knowing that Comrades Kaganovich and Orjonikidze were coming to Chelyabinsk, he tried to meet them at the works and commit a terroristic act against them. He failed to carry out his intention.

In January 1936 N. Lurye left Chelyabinsk for Leningrad on a scientific mission. Passing through Moscow, he met Moissei Lurye, who gave him instructions to make an attempt on the life of

Comrade Zhdanov.

president of the Court:  What instructions on terrorism did Moissei Lurye give you in 1934, 1935 and 1936?

N. Lurye;  I told him that I intended to make attempts on the lives of Orjonikidze and Kaganovich, but later, in January 1936, he instructed me to shoot Zhdanov at the First of May demonstration in Leningrad.

President of the Court:  You regarded Moissei Lurye as your leader since you accepted such instructions?

N Lurye:  Yes.

President of the Court:  When you left for Leningrad, did you undertake to carry out M. Lurye's instructions?

N. Lurye:  I knew that I would take part in the First of May demonstration, and that if it were possible I would try to carry out these instructions.

President of the Court:  Did you take part in the demonstration?

N. Lurye:  Yes.

President of the Court:  Were you armed?

N. Lurye:  Yes, with a revolver.

President of the Court:  Where did you obtain the weapon this year?

N. Lurye:  The weapon remained in Konstant's keeping.

President of the Court:  When did you take that weapon?

N. Lurye:  In March 1936.

President of the Court:  What type of revolver was it?

N. Lurye:  A Browning.

President of the Court:  What size? Medium?

N. Lurye:  Yes.

President of the Court:  Did you succeed in getting into the demonstration to the Uritzky Square?

N. Lurye:  Yes.

President of the Court:  Why did you fail to carry out the attempt on the life of Zhdanov?

N. Lurye:  We marched by, too far a way.

 

 
EXAMINATION OF THE ACCUSED M. LURYE

In reply to the President, M. Lurye declares that he fully confirms the evidence he gave at the preliminary investigation.

Vyshinsky:  Accused Lurye, tell me, please, what concrete steps did you take in your terroristic activity?

M. Lurye:  On leaving Berlin for Moscow on March 4, 1933, I received definite instructions. I received these instructions from Ruth Fischer and Maslov, but actually they were the instructions of Trotsky himself. I had been connected with Ruth Fischer since1924, and in opposition work in the Zinoviev faction had been connected with her since October 1925. I had been connected with Maslov since 1927 when I returned to Berlin from Moscow. The instructions were of the following character: Trotsky is of the opinion and insists, and we, that is to say, Maslov and Ruth Fischer, are in agreement with Trotsky's instruction to the effect that it is necessary to speed up the organization of terroristic acts against the leaders of the C.P.S.U. and the Soviet government, in the first place against Stalin. I received these instructions personally in verbal form from Ruth Fischer and Maslov on March 4, 1933, as I have already said.

Vyshinsky:  I am waiting for your statement on the practical steps you took in this direction.

M. Lurye:  On arriving in Moscow on March 9, 1933, I communicated this verbal instruction at its destination, namely, to Zinoviev's former personal emissary in Berlin, A. V. Herzberg. I was connected with Herzberg in Zinovievite work from November 1927 until his departure for Moscow at the end of 1931. I comunicated this instruction not later than the middle of April. Herzberg accepted the instruction and said that this instruction from Trotsky, Ruth Fischer and Maslov was fully in accord with identical decisions already adopted by our centre in the U.S.S.R.

In reply to questions put to him by the State Prosecutor about the practical steps the accused had taken to organize terroristic acts, M. Lurye related about his three meetings with Zinoviev. During one of these meetings wich took place in Zinoviev's apartment in the beginning of August 1934, Lurye gave Zinoviev detailed information about Trotsky's instructions received through Ruth Fischer and Maslov concerning the preparation of terroristic acts, and in particular, concerning the activities of the group of his namesake, Nathan Lurye.

Vyshinsky:  Tell me please, were you connected with Nathan Lurye?

M. Lurye:  Yes. I was connected with Nathan Lurye approximately from April 1933 to January 2, 1936.

Vyshinsky:  You knew Nathan Lurye as a member of the underground Trotskyite organization?

M. Lurye:  Certainly.

Vyshinsky:  You knew that at that period Nathan Lurye was engaged in preparing a number of terroristic acts?

M. Lurye:  Quite true.

M. Lurye then goes on to relate how he organized the attempt on the life of Comrade Orjonikidze. This terroristic act was to have been committed while Comrade Orjonikidze was at Chelyabinsk Tractor Works. For this purpose M. Lurye had instructed N. Lurye,who was going to the Chelyabinsk Tractor Works, to take the opportunity of a possible visit to the works by Comrade Orjonikidze to commit a terroristic act against him.

Vyshinsky:  In what other measures for committing terroristic acts did you participate?

M. Lurye:  I took part in preparing an attempt on the life of Zhdanov.

The accused relates in detail how on January 2, 1936, he communicated to Nathan Lurye definite instructions to organize a terroristic act against Comrade Zhdanov, and promised to give him later addresses and connect him with Zaidel's terrorist group in Leningrad.

Comrade Vyshinsky then asks M. Lurye whether he was anything to add to his evidence.

M. Lurye:  I can add something to Nathan Lurye's testimony and about my important conversation with Zinoviev concerning Weitz's group. Nathan Lurye informed me concretely of the work of the terrorist group organized by Weitz. Noting my perplexity when I heard about this sort of ally, N. Lurye asked me what I thought about it. I replied that my personal attitude played no role here, that I would immediately report it in proper quarters, and said to N. Lurye: if you do not receive a reply in the negative, this will mean that you are working with the knowledge of the centre.

Vyshinsky:  Whom personally did you have in mind?

M. Lurye:  I had contacts with A. V. Herzberg, a person enjoying the particular confidence of Zinoviev. N. Lurye did not receive a reply in the negative from me. From the time of my conversation with him in April 1933 Nathan Lurye's group, which was organized by the fascist Franz Weitz, worked with the knowledge and indisputably with the consent of the centre, and of Zinoviev personally.

Vyshinsky:  Consequently, you admit that for a considerable number of years you were a member of the underground Trotskyite organization?

M. Lurye:  Yes, I fully admit it.

Vyshinsky:  That organization pursued terroristic aims?

M. Lurye:  I admit that I brought such instructions.

Vyshinsky:  You confirm that you received instructions on terrorism from Trotsky through Ruth Fischer and Maslov and communicated them to Zinoviev?

M. Lurye:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  You know that the instructions were communicated?

M. Lurye:  Quite definitely.

Vyshinsky: Were you connected with Nathan Lurye's group and simultaneously with the fascist agent Franz Weitz?

M. Lurye:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Did you in conjunction with Nathan Lurye prepare a number of attempts at assassination, and did you give the instructions to prepare the attempt on the life of Comrade Stalin?

M. Lurye:  I did not take part in the preparations, but I communicated instructions about the attempt.

Vyshinsky:  You gave instructions to prepare attempts on the lives of Orjonikidze and Zhdanov, and you not only gave instructions, but indicated the contacts?

M. Lurye:  Yes, I told Nathan Lurye that he would be given an address later.

 

 
EXAMINATION OF THE ACCUSED TER-VAGANYAN

The Court proceeds to the examination of the accused Ter-Vaganyan.

In reply to questions put to him by Comrade Vyshinsky the accused Ter-Vaganyan admits that he was one of the organizers of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre, and also that this centre was organized on the basis of Trotsky's instructions on terrorism.

Vyshinsky:  The instructions were communicated in good time to you as one of the organizers?

Ter-Vaganyan:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  You admit that you personally also took part in preparing certain terroristic acts?

Ter-Vaganyan:  I did not take part in preparing terroristic acts, but I did take part in the work of the centre.

Vyshinsky:  You took part in terroristic work?

Ter-Vaganyan:  All the work was terroristic.

Vyshinsky:  During your examination on August 14 you said: "Of the persons belong to the united Trotskyite-Zinovievite centre, about which I spoke in detail in my testimony on July 16 this year, I. N. Smirnov, Mrachkovsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev guided the practical organization and training of the terrorist group" - do you confirm that?

Ter-Vaganyan:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  And you added: "Personally I worked under the instructions of Smirnov and Kamenev" - do you confirm that?

Ter-Vaganyan:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  In 1931 was Smirnov disposed towards violent methods of struggle?

Ter-Vaganyan:  Yes, as were all the Trotskyites surrounding Smirnov.

Continuing his testimony, Ter-Vaganyan, speaking of his return to Moscow from Transcaucasia, confirms the testimony of the witness Safonova to the effect that she, Safonova, had informed Ter-Vaganyan about Smirnov's journey abroad and his meeting with L. Sedov

"I must say," testifies Ter-Vaganyan, "that there was no talk at all about these instructions regarding terrorism being the personal opinion of Sedov. Had Safonova told me that this was Sedov's personal opinion, she and I would have laughed at it as a joke. When Smirnov returned, he repeated his stoty to me and Safonova."

Replying to Comrade Vyshinsky's question as to the reasons why Smirnov denies this, Ter-Vaganyan explains to the Court that Smirnov is afraid of telling the court the whole truth because he would then have to name a number of persons who were associated with terrorism. In particular, says Ter-Vaganyan, Smirnov does not want to say that beginning with 1928 he maintained systematic connections with Gruzian deviationists. When Smirnov returned from abroad, in 1932, he met the Gruzian deviationists, whose attitude, as is well known, was terroristic from 1928 onwards.

Vyshinsky:  Smirnov, you confirm that you were connected with the Gruzian deviationists?

Smirnov:  In 1929 I met Okudjava.

Vyshinsky:  (to Ter-Vaganyan): When did the Stückgold group exist?

Further examination of Ter-Vaganyan throws light on I. N. Smirnov's connections with the Stückgold terrorist group. Ter-Vaganyan says:

"I was introduced to Stückgold by I. N. Smirnov in 1929. Smirnov asked me receive Stückgold Whenever he would arrive. he did not want Stückgold to see anyone else. Such secrecy could only have one meaning, namely that Stückgold had some kind of special connections which had to be safeguarded."

In reply to a question put to him by Comrade Vyshinsky I. N. Smirnov denies that he introduced Stückgold to Ter-Vaganyan and that he visited the latter's apartment with him. However, on being proved wrong by Ter-Vaganyan, he has to admit that such a meeting many have taken place.

Vyshinsky  (to Smirnov): You admit that you may have visited Ter-Vaganyan with Stückgold?

Smirnov:  I do as regards 1929.

Vyshinsky:  So in 1929 you, Ter-Vaganyan and Stückgold did meet?

Smirnov:  Possibly.

Ter-Vaganyan  (to Smirnov): That was in the winter of 1929-30?

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky  (to Ter-vaganyan): The Stückgold group was a terrorist group?

Ter-Vaganyan:  Yes, it was terrorist.

"In the autumn of 1931," continues Ter-Vaganyan, "my very close connection and friendship with Lominadze began. I met Lominadze frequently, and on these occasions we talked about a bloc. "

Continuing his testimony, Ter-Vaganyan says that at that period the Trotskyites began negotiations for union with the Zinovievites and the "Leftists," and that the terroristic stand was perfectly clear.

Vyshinsky:  When was that?

Ter-Vaganyan:  After Smirnov came back from Berlin.

Vyshinsky:  At that period was the terroristic stand clear?

Ter-Vaganyan:  Yes, it was clear, because the instructions had already been brought.

In clarifying the question as to the basis on which the bloc  with the "Leftists" was formed, Comrade Vyshinsky puts a number of questions to the accused Smirnov. Smirnov's replies make it clear that the bloc  was formed on a trroristic basis.

Vyshinsky  (to Smirnov): Did you organize the bloc  or not?

Smirnov:  I instructed Ter-Vaganyan to negotiate with Lominadze.

Vyshinsky:  What for?

Smirnov:  For a union.

Vyshinsky:  Did the union take place?

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  With the "Leftists"?

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Did you join the bloc? 

Smirnov:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  At the time the instructions regarding terrorism were in operation?

Smirnov:  Yes.

In reply to Comrade Vyshinsky's question as to his personal terroristic activities, Ter-Vaganyan stresses the point that he carried on terroristic work under the guidance of Smirnov and Kamenev. In particular, discussed the question of terrorism with the Trotskyites, Zaidel and Friedland. "In 1932," says Ter-Vaganyan, "I met Friedland and told him that it was now necessary to adopt violent forms of struggle against the Party. In reply to his question as to the meaning of violent forms of struggle, I said: you are not a child - violent forms of struggle are terroristic forms of struggle. That is clear."

By a number of questions Comrade Vyshinsky clarifies the relations between Ter-Vaganyan and Friedland in terroristic acivities. The replies of Ter-Vaganyan make it clear that Ter-Vaganyan gave Friedland instructions regarding the organization of terroristic acts.

    REPORT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS