August 20 (evening session)
EXAMINATION OF THE ACCUSED
I. N. SMIRNOV
A great part of the evening session is taken up by the examination of the
accused I. N. Smirnov.
I. N. Smirnov was one of the leaders of the Trotskyite organization since
its formation, the closest friend of Trotsky and the actual organizer and
leader of the underground Troskyite counter-revolutionary activities in the
U.S.S.R., who maintained personal connections with Trotsky and the
Trotskyite organizations abroad.
Smirnov, Trotsky's deputy in the U.S.S.R., as the accused have defined
him, and the leader of the Trotskyite centre, denies his own direct part in
the terroristic activities and only partly admits his crimes.
In May 1931 Smirnov went abroad on an official business trip. In Berlin
he met Sedov, Trotsky's son and agent. Smirnov claims that this was an
"accidental" meeting. During his "accidental" meeting, Smirnov hastened to
make arrangements with Sedov about their next meeting which took place in
Smirnov's lodgings. Sedov told Smirnov that it was necessary to change the
old methods of struggle against the Party, and that the time had arrived to
adopt terroristic methods of struggle. Smirnov tries to make it appear that
this was Sedov's own opinion with which he, Smirnov, allegedly did not
agree. Nevertheless, Smirnov right there promised Sedov to establish
communications with him, and to establish "informational" communications
with Trotsky. Smirnov received from Sedov two addresses for correspondence
and agreed with him upon a password for sending agents. On his return to
Moscow, Smirnov immediately informed his associates of his conversation with
Sedov regarding terrorism.
Vyshinsky: Although you were not in agreement with Sedov, you
nevertheless thought it necessary to inform your underground organication
about this terroristic line?
Smirnov: Yes, I did not anticipate that they would take this
information as Trotsky's directions.
This assertion, however, is refuted by the testimony of the accused
Mrachkovsky, whom Smirnov had informed that in Berlin he had established
contact, through Sedov,with Trotsky from whom the directions on terrorism
Vyshinsky: When Smirnov told you about his conversation with
Sedov, you understood the contents of the conversation to be not mere
information but instructions?
Vyshinsky: What did those instructions say?
Mrachkovsky: They said that the instructions which had existed up
to that time, that is up to 1931, had become obsolete. Trotsky proposed that
another method, a sharper method, be adopted.
Vyshinsky: Who proposed, Sedov or Trotsky?
Vyshinsky: Did Smirnov speak about Trotsky?
Mrachkovsky: Yes, he spoke about Trotsky, since Sedov was no
authority either for him or for us.
Vyshinsky: Accused Smirnov, is it true that Sedov was not an
authority for you?
Smirnov: No, Sedov was not an authority for me.
The accused Smirnov tries at first to assert that in 1931 and in 1932
Trotsky was no authority for him either. However he immediately admits that
in 1932 he received through Yuri Gaven instructions from Trotsky urging the
adoption of terrorism against the leaders of the Party and the government;
he accepted these instructions for the purpose of carrying them out, and
communicated them to the centre.
Vyshinsky: Was the centre organized on the basis of terrorism?
Vyshinsky: Were you a member of that centre?
Smirnov: Yes, I was.
Vyshinsky: Consequently, those instructions were meant for you
Smirnov: Yes, they were communicated to me.
Vyshinsky: They were not only communicated through you, but were
also instructions for you?
Smirnov: They were forwarded as instructions.
Vyshinsky: Did you accept them?
Vyshinsky: How can you maintain, then that Trotsky, from whom
these instructions orginated, was not an authority for you?
Smirnov tries to reduce his own part to that of merely communicating
Trotsky's instructions to the centre; he tries to evade responsibility for
the work of the centre.
Smirnov: I listened to those instructions and communicated them
to the centre. The centre accepted them, but I did not take part in its
Vyshinsky: So when did you leave the centre?
Smirnov: I did not intend to resign; there was nothing to resign
Vyshinsky: Did the centre exist?
Smirnov: What sort of a centre. . . .
Vyshinsky: Mrachkovsky, did the centre exist?
Vyshinsky: Zinoviev, did the centre exist?
Vyshinsky: Evdokimov, did the centre exist?
Vyshinsky: Bakayev, did the centre exist?
Vyshinsky: How, then, Smirnov, can you take the liberty to
maintain that no centre existed?
Smirnov once again refers to the absence of meetings of the centre, but
the testimony of Zinoviev,Ter-Vaganyan and Mrachkovsky again proves him to
be lying. In reply to questions put to him by the State Prosecutor, Zinoviev
confirms the fact that he was in continuous communication with Smirnov.
Ter-Vaganyan confirms the role Smirnov played as the leader of the
Trotskyite part of the bloc, who worked to organize, consolidate and
unite the two parts of the bloc. Mrachkovsky says: "Smirnov is
trying to pass as a simple village postman, but we regarded Smirnov as
In connection with Smirnov's testimony, the accused Olberg informs the
Court of his repeated meetings with Sedov, Trotsky's son, in Berlin, in
1931. At one of these meetings, in November-December 1931, Sedov informed
Olberg of his meeting with I. N. Smirnov. Sedov spoke with great respect of
Smirnov, as the leader of the Trotskyite organization in the U.S.S.R. He
said that he, Sedov, had communicated to Smirnov Trotsky's instruktions on
the necessity to embark upon terroristic activities. Olberg further states
that he and the other Trotskyites abroad and in the Soviet Union regarded
Sedov solely as a vehicle for transmitting the will, the tasks and the
policy of Trotsky.
The further examination of Smirnov confirms that the accused received and
passed on additional instrutions from Trotsky on terrorism.
Vyshinsky: It can be considered as established that in 1932 you
received fresh instructions from Trotsky through Gaven?
Vyshinsky: Did these instructions contain direct reference to the
necessity of embarking on a terroristic struggle against the leadership of
Smirnov: Quite true.
Vyshinsky: In the first place, against whom?
Smirnov: No names were mentioned there.
Vyshinsky: But you understood that the terroristic strugglewas to
begin first against Comrade Stalin?
Smirnov: Yes, I understood it to mean that.
Vyshinsky: And that is what you communicated to your colleagues?
The accused persists in his evasions and tries to deny the part he played
as the leader of the Trotskyite oganization. The Court investigation deals
in detail with this question. The examination of the accused elicits the
fact that it was on the direct instructions of Smirnov that Ter-Vaganyan
negotiated with the Zinovievites about the bloc. It becomes clear
that Mrachkovsky trained terrorist groups on the direct instructions of
Smirnov. It is confirmed that neither Ter-Vaganyan nor Mrachkovsky gave any
instructions to Smirnov, but themselves received instructions from him. And
finally, the fact is elicited that direct communication with Trotsky was
maintained personally by Smirnov right up to his arrest. Under the weight of
all these irrefutable facts Smirnov at last admits that it was he and no one
else who was the head of the Trotskyite organization.
But the accused makes this confession only after the prosecution has
exposed him by absolutely incontrovertible facts.
Desiring to cover up the traces of his activities in organizing the
terrorist Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc, Smirnov tries to invent a new
version saying that the bloc was organized without his direct
participation. From the testimony of the accused it appears however that the
formation of the bloc was the result of direct negotiations between
Smirnov and Zinoviev, Kamenev and Ter-Vaganyan, Evdokimov and Mrachkovsky,
and that these negotiations for the organization of the bloc were
conducted on the basis of the first instructions on terror received by
Smirnov from Trotsky through Sedov in 1931.
The State Prosecutor then inquires into Smirnov's contact with Trotsky.
Vyshinsky: Did you have direct communication with Trotsky?
Smirnov: I had two addresses.
Vyshinsky: I ask you, was there any communication?
Smirnov: I had two addresses. . . .
Vyshinsky: Answer, was there any communication?
Smirnov: If having addresses is called communication. . . .
Vyshinsky: What do you call it?
Smirnov: I said that I received two addresses.
Vyshinsky: Did yuo maintain communication with Trotsky?
Smirnov: I had two addresses.
Vyshinsky: Did you maintain personal communication?
Smirnov: There was no personal communication.
Vyshinsky; Was there communication by mail Trotsky?
Smirnov: There was communication by mail with Trotsky's son.
Vyshinsky: Was the letter you received through Gaven sent by
Sedov or by Trotsky?
Smirnov: Gaven brought a letter from Trotsky.
Vyshinsky: That is what I am asking you. Did you have any
communication with Trotsky - yes or no?
Smirnov: I say that I wrote a letter to Trotsky and received a
reply from him.
Vyshinsky: Is that communication or not?
Smirnov: It is.
Vyshinsky: So there was communication?
Smirnov: There was.
Other irrefutable facts are also established. Ter-Vaganyan, Mrachkovsky,
Zinoviev and Evdokimov tell about conversations which Smirnov carried on in
1931 concerning the tasks he assigned at that time for the training of
Vyshinsky: Did you give instructions to the group?
Smirnov: No, I did not.
Vyshinsky (to Mrachkovsky): Mrachkovsky, did Smirnov give you
Mrachkovsky: Yes. Instructions were given in the beginning of
1931 on his return from abroad.
Vyshinsky: What did he say to you?
Mrachkovsky: That it was necessary to begin the selection of
people whom we knew well, that a serious task was put before us, that the
people to be selected must be resolute. He said this in his apartment.
Smirnov: Was it at my apartment? where is my apartment?
Mrachkovsky: This was in 1931 on the Pressnya.
Vyshinsky: Did he visit you on the Pressnya?
Smirnov: Not on the Pressnya itself but in that district.
Vyshinsky: Accused Zinoviev, you said that Smirnov discussed
terrorism with you more than once, discussed the necessity to expedite
Vyshinsky; So what Mrachkovsky says about the terrorist group is
Vyshinsky: Accused Smirnov, do you think that
Ter-Vaganyan,Mrachkovsky and Evdokimov are telling untruths?
Smirnov: (Does not answer.)
Vyshinsky: What then do you admit?
Smirnov: I admit that I belonged to the underground Trotskyite
organization, joined the bloc, joined the centre of this bloc,
met Sedov in Berlin in 1931, listened to his opinion on terrorism and passed
this opinion on to Moscow. I admit that I received Trotsky's instructions on
terrorism from Gaven and, although not in agreement with them, I
communicated them to the Zinovievites through Ter-Vaganyan.
Vyshinsky: And, while not in agreement, you remained a member of
thebloc and worked in thebloc?
Smirnov: I did not resign officially from the bloc, but
actually I did no work.
Vyshinsky: So when you communicated the instructions, you were
doing no work?
Smirnov: (Does not answer.)
Vyshinsky: What do you think, when an organizer communicates
instructions, is that work?
Smirnov: Of course.
Vyshinsky: You participated in the bloc?
Vyshinsky; And you admit that the bloc stood on the
position of terrorism?
Vyshinsky: You also admit that it stood on this position in
connection with instructions received from Trotsky?
Vyshinsky: And it was you who received these instructions?
Vyshinsky: Consequently, it was you who got the bloc to
adopt the position of terrorism?
Smirnov: I passed on the instructions on terrorism.
Vyshinsky: If you confirm that, after the receipt of Trotsky's
instructions, the position of the bloc was that of terrorism, then
it should be said that the bloc took up the position of terrorism
after you received the instructions from Trotsky and passed them on to the
members of the bloc?
Smirno: I received these instruktions, communicated them to the
Trotskyites and Zinovievites, and they formed the centre. While not in
agreement, I did not resign from the bloc officially, but actually I
was not a member of the bloc
Vyshinsky: Ter-Vaganyan, did Smirnov leave the bloc?
Vyshinsky: Mrachkovsky, did Smirnov leave the bloc?
Vyshinsky: Dreitzer, did you know that Smirnov had left the
Dreitzer: If giving instructions to organize terrorist groups is
leaving the bloc, then yes.
Vyshinsky: Evdokimov, did you hear of Smirnov leaving the
Evdokimov: No, the very opposite; he remained a member of the
centre and did active work in it.
Vyshinsky: Did he share the terroristic views?
Evdokimov: Yes, he shared them.
Vyshinsky: Accused Kamenev, what do you know about Smirnov's
leaving the bloc?
Kamenev: I confirm that Smirnov was a member of the bloc
all the time.
Vyshinsky: Accused Smirnov, that closes the circle.
EXAMINATION OF THE
The Court then proceeds to examine the accused Olberg.
The President: Accused Olberg, do you confirm your principal
testimony on terroristic work?
Olberg: I confirm it fully and completely.
Vyshinsky: How long have you been connected with Trotskyism?
Olberg makes a detailed statement to the effect that he was a member of
the German Trotskyite organization since 1927-28. His contact with Trotsky
and Sedov, Trotsky's son, began in 1930. This contact was arranged by an
active member of the German Trotskyite organization, Anton Grilevich, the
publisher of Trotsky's pamphlets in German. At first contact was established
by correspondence with Sedov, who passed Trotsky's commissions on to Olberg;
and in the spring of 1931, in May, when Sedov arrived in Berlin, their
personal acquaintance began.
Vyshinsky: Did you meet Sedov frequently?
Olberg: From May 1931 to the end of 1932 we met nearly every
week, and sometimes 'tvice a week. We either met in a cafe on
Nürnbergerplatz, or I would visit him in his apartment.
Olberg then proceeds to relate the events preceding his first visit to
the Soviet Union.
Olberg: The first time Sedov spoke to me about my journey was
after Trotsky's message in connection with Trotsky's being deprived of the
citizenship of the U.S.S.R. in the message Trotsky developed the idea that
it was necessary to assassinate Stalin. This idea was expressed in the
following words; "Stalin must be removed."
Sedov showed me the typewritten text of this message and said: "Well, now
you see, it cannot be expressed in a clearer way. it is a diplomatic
wording." Sedov also said that it was necessary to send a number of people
to the Soviet Union; it was then that Sedov proposed that I should go to the
U.S.S.R. He knew that I spoke Russian and he was sure that I could gain a
A difficulty arose about the passport. I did not have any definite
citizenship, and for that reason alone could not obtain a visa.
Soon, however, Iwas able to fix it up, and when I obtained a passport in the
name of Freudigmann, I left for U.S.S.R.
Before my departure for the Soviet Union, I intended to go to Copenhagen
with Sedov to see Trotsky. Our trip did not materialize, but Suzanna,
Sedov's wife, went there. On her return she brought a letter from Trotsky
addressed to Sedov, in which Trotsky agreed to my going to the U.S.S.R. and
expressed the hope that I would succeed in carrying out the mission
entrusted to me. Sedov showed me this letter.
Vyshinsky: What do you know about Friedmann?
Olberg: Friedmann was a member of the Berlin Trotskyite
organization, who was also sent to the Soviet Union.
Vyshinsky: Are you aware of the fact that Friedmann was connected
with the German police?
Olberg: I heard about that.
Vyshinsky: Connection between the German Trotskyites and the
German police - was that systematic?
Olberg: Yes, it was systematic and it was done with Trotsky's conset.
Vyshinsky: How do you know that it was done with Trotsky's
knowledge and consent?
Olberg: One of these lines of connection was maintained by
myself. My connection was established with the sanction of Trotsky.
Vyshinsky: Your personal connection with whom?
Olberg: With the fascist secret police.
Vyshinsky: So it can be said that you yourself admit connection
with the Gestapo?
Olberg: I do not deny this. In 1933 there began organized
systematic connection between the German Trotskyites and the German fascist
The accused Olberg then proceeds to give an account of circumstances and
facts directly relating to his visits to the U.S.S.R. He went to the Soviet
Union three times.
The first time Olberg went to the U.S.S.R. was at the end of March, 1933,
when he travelled with a false passport in the name of a certain
Freudigmann. He had obtained this passport in Berlin.Olberg remained in the
Soviet Union up to the end of July 1933. The purpose of the visit was to
prepare and carry out the assassination of Comrade Stalin.
On arriving in the U.S.S.R. Olberg lived secretly in Moscow for six
weeks, and then went to Stalinabad, where he obtained a position as teacher
of history. As he had no documents regarding military service, he was
obliged to return abroad and went to Prague.
From Prague Olberg wrote to Sedov informing him about his failure.
Sedov replied saying that he must not lose heart and promised to try to
obtain a better passport.
Meanwhile Olberg himself succeeded in obtaining a passport in Prague. His
younger brother, Paul Olberg lived in Prague and was connected with
Tukalevsky, an agent of the German secret police in Prague. Paul Olberg
cheered up his brother, stating that Tukalevsky could help him in "this
Olberg: After 1933 I visited Tukalevsky with my younger brother.
Vyshinsky: Who is Tukalevsky?
Olberg: Tukalevski is the director of the Slavonic Library of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague. I learned from my brother that he was
an agent of the fascist secret police. Tukalevskyhad been informed that I
would visit him, and he told me that he would try to get the necessary
documents for me.
Then, continues Olberg, I wrote a letter to Sedov in Paris telling him
about the proposal made by the agent of the Gestapo, and asked him to inform
me whether L. D. Trotsky would approve of an arrangement with such an agent.
After some time I received a reply sanctioning my actions, that is to say,
my understanding with Tukalevsky. Sedov wrote saying that the strictest
secrecy was necessary, and that none of the other members of the Trotskyite
organization was to be informed about this understanding.
Through Tukalevsky and through a certain Benda, Olberg obtained a
passport from Lucas Parades, Consul-General of the Republic of Honduras in
Berlin, who had arrived in Prague at that time.
Olberg: He sold me the passport for 13,000 Czechoslovak kronen.
This mony I received from Sedov.
Vyshinsky: Did you have any connection with the Republic of
Olberg: No, never.
Vyshinsky: Permit me to show this: is this the passport? (The
commandant of the Court presents the passport.)
Olberg: Yes, that is the one. It really was issued by a real
consul in the name of the Republic of Honduras. There is such a republic in
Vyshinsky: Perhaps your parents had some connection with that
Vyshinsky: Your forefathers?
Vyshinsky: And you yourself - where are you from?
Olberg: I am from Riga.
This time, continues Olberg, I intended to travel to the U.S.S.R. by way
of Germany. Tukalevsky advised me to meet Slomovitz in Berlin. I had known
her previously. Tukalevsky told me that the Berlin Trotskyites had concluded
an agreement with the Gestapo and that if met Slomovitz in Berlin I could
obtain assistance and help from her if I needed it.
I visited Slomovitz in Berlin, and she told me the following: During my
absence the Trotskyite cadres dwindled to a small group, and they were now
confronted with the dilemma: either to dissolve or to come to an agreement
with the German fascists. The basis for the agreement was the preparation
and carrying out of acts of terrorism against the leaders of the C.P.S.U.
and the Soviet government. Trotsky had sanctioned the agreement between the
Berlin Trotskyites and the Gestapo, and the Trotskyites were in fact left
From the point of view of the Berlin Trotskyites, the overthrew of the
Soviet system, the fight against the Soviet government, was conceivable in
two ways: either by intervention, or by individual terroristic acts. The
assassination of Kirov, according to Slomovitz, showed that terroristic acts
against the leaders of the Party and the government could be carried out in
the Soviet Union.
In Slomovitz's apartment I met an employee of the Gestapo, to whom she
introduced me, and he informed me that if I needed assistance he would
willingly help me in preparing terroristic acts, in the first place against
In March, 1935, Olberg arrived in the Soviet Union for the second time.
This visit was also fruitless because he had a tourist visa, could
not stay long, and had to return to Germany after a few days. There he
remained for three months, and again received instructions from Sedov to
make another attempt. In July 1935 Olberg again went to the Soviet Union.
After remaining in Minsk for a short time, he went to Gorky, and there he
established contact with the Trotskyites Yelin and Fedotov. He soon obtained
employment in the Gorky Pedagogical Institute, where he remained until his
arrest. It was here, in Gorky that plans were worked out for an attempt on
the life of Comrade Stalin.
Vyshinsky: Did you obtain the Honduras passport after your second
Olberg: The second time also I came on the Honduras passport.
Vyshinsky: Did you come on a tourist visa?
Olberg: Yes, but I had the Honduras passport.
Vyshinsky: How were you able to get an extension of that passport
the second time?
Olberg: I managed that . . . I forgot to say that at this time my
brother moved to the Soviet Union.
Vyshinsky: There is a gap here in your testimony. In what
capacity did your brother, Paul Olberg, arrive here?
Olberg: What tasks Tukalevsky gave him I do not know. But I
advised him to go to the Soviet Union so that he could help me to gain a
Vyshinsky: Why did he have to help you in gaining a foothold?
Olberg: He is an engineer, and it was much easier for him to
obtain employment. He had genuine documents. At any rate, not such
fictitious papers as I had.
Vyshinsky: So your brother arrived in the U.S.S.R. on a genuine
German passport, and as an engineer could more easily gain a foothold here?
Vyshinsky: Did your brother have any connection with the Gestapo?
Olberg: He was Tukalevsky's agent.
Vyshinsky: An agent of the fascist police?
Vyshinsky: When did you have that talk with Sedov about not
permitting the Trotskyite organization to be compromised?
Olberg: That was at the time of my second journey. He said that
if I were arrested by the organs of state security of the U.S.S.R., I was
under no circumstances to say that this terroristic act was carried out on
Trotsky's instructions, and at all events, I was to try to conceal Trotsky's
Vyshinsky: Whom did he advise you to throw the blame on for the
organization of terroristic acts?
Olberg: On the White Guards, on the Gestapo.
Vyshinsky: Consequently, we may put it this way: you, Valentine
Olberg, were connected with Trotsky through his son Sedov; you were sent on
Trotsky's direct instructions, conveyed through Sedov, to the U.S.S.R. as
Trotsky's agent to prepare and carry out a terroristic act against Comrade
Vyshinsky: In order to ensure the success of this work, you were
connected through your brother with the German police?
Olberg: Yes, that is so.
Vyshinsky: Now tell us how you prepared the terroristic
act.Olberg states that even before his arrival in Gorky he learned from
Sedov that an underground Trotskyite organization existed in the U.S.S.R.,
the leaders of wich were Smirnov and Mrachkovsky. He also knew about
Bakayev, whom Sedov referred to as a man with "extreme terroristic"
inclinations. In Gorky Olberg learned from Fedotov that action detachments
had been organized before his arrival. All that he had to do was to draw up
the plan for the attempt at assassination.
The terroristic act was to have been committed in Moscow on May 1, 1936.
Vyshinsky: What prevented you from carrying out this plan?
Olberg: The arrest.
Vyshinsky: Did you inform Sedov of the progress of the
preparations for the terroristic act?
Olberg: Yes, I wrote him several times at Slomovitz's address.
And I received a letter from her stating that our old friend insisted that
the thesis for the diploma be submitted by May 1.
Vyshinsky: Thesis for the diploma - what is that?
Olberg: The assassination of Stalin.
Vyshinsky: And the old friend - who is that?
Olberg: The old friend - that is Trotsky.
EXAMINATION OF THE
The Court proceeds to examine the accused Berman-Yurin.
The President: Berman-Yurin, tell us what instructions you
received abroad before your departure for the Soviet Union?
Berman-Yurin: I received instructions from Trotsky to go to the
Soviet Union to commit a terroristic act against Stalin. I visited Trotsky
personally in Copenhagen in November 1932. The meeting was arranged by
In reply to Comrade Vyshinsky's questions, Berman-Yurin tells of his
acquaintance of long standing with Trotsky's son, Sedov, and of his
Trotskyite activities beginning with 1931. He was introduced to Sedov by one
of the leaders of the German Trotskyites ,Grilevich. Then Berman-Yurin goes
on to speak of his meetings with Sedov.
Berman-Yurin: I had a number of talks with Sedov. Sedov
systematically tried to persuade me, and convinced me, that the fight
against the Communist Party was a fight against Stalin. At the end of 1931
Sedov asked me to see him and wanted to know whether I knew a trusted and
reliable German who could carry out an important mission which would involve
a journey to Moscow. I mentioned the name of Alfred Kundt whom I knew as a
On Sedov's proposal, Berman-Yurin met Alfred Kundt and communicated to
him the conversation he had had with Sedov. Kundt agreed to go to Moscow.
The mission was as follows: he had to take to a certain address in Moscow
two documents from Trotsky, one of which was Trotsky's instructions on the
tasks of the terrorist underground organization in the U.S.S.R. in Moscow
Alfred Kundt was to establish personal contact with Smirnov and hand him the
Berman-Yurin: One document concerned Trotsky's latest position on
questions referring to the international siuation, mainly Germany. I read
the second document very carefully. It was written in the handwriting of
Sedov and it contained Trotsky's directions concerning the tasks of the
Trotskyite underground organization in the U.S.S.R. The letter stated that
it was necessary to prepare to adopt resolute and extreme means of struggle,
and that with this in view, resolute people sharing Trotsky's position had
to be selected. Particular attention, stated the letter, was to be paid to
the Trotskyites who were members of the C.P.S.U., but who were not
compromised as Trotskyites in the ranks of the Party. The organization was
to be built up on the principles of strictest secrecy, in small groups, not
connected with each other, so that the discovery of one group might not lead
to the discovery of the whole organization.
Alfred Kundt left for Moscow in January-February 1932. A few days later
it became known that he had been at the secret address, had handed over the
documents, had received the reply as had been arranged, but had not met
Smirnov as the latter was not in Moscow. Kundt also reported that he had
settled near Moscow,that he had achieved some success in his work, and
that"things were going allright."
Berman-Yurin deals in detail with the circumstances of his meeting and
conversation with Trotsky in Copenhagen.
Berman-Yurin: In November 1932 I had a meeting with Sedov which I
remember very well because Sedov then, for the first time, spoke openly
about the necessity of preparing to assassinate the leaders of the C.P.S.U.
Evidently, Sedov noticed that I was wavering and he said that Trotsky would
be in Copenhagen shortly and asked me whether I would not like to go there
and meet Trotsky. I, of course, expressed my agreement.
I arrived in Copenhagen early in the morning. This was at the end of
November, between the 25th and the 28th of November, 1932. I was met at the
station by Grilevich and we went to see Trotsky. Grilevich introduced me to
Trotsky and left; I remained in the room alone with Trotsky.
Now I come to my conversation with Trotsky. I had two meetings with him.
First of all he began to sound me on my work in the past. He asked me why I
had gone over to the position of Trotskyism. I told him about this in great
detail. Then Trotsky passed to Soviet affairs. Trotsky said: The principal
question is the question of Stalin. Stalin must be physically destroyed. He
said that other methods of struggle were now ineffective. He said that for
this purpose people were needed who would dare anything, who would agree to
sacrifice themselves for this, as he expressed it, historic task.
With this the first conversation came to an end. Trotsky went somewhere.
Berman-Yurin remained in the apartment and waited for his return.
Berman-Yurin: In the evening we continued our conversation. I
asked him how individual terrorism could be reconciled with Marxism. To this
Trotsky replied: problems cannot be treated in a dogmatic way. He said that
a situation had arisen in the Soviet Union which Marx could not have
foreseen. Trotsky also said that in addition to Stalin it was necessary to
assassinate Kaganovich and Voroshilov.
Vyshinsky: What other questions did he touch upon besides
questions of terrorism?
Berman-Yurin: Trotsky also expressed his views on the situation
in the event of intervention against the Soviet Union. He adopted an
absolutely clear defeatist attitude. He also said that the Trotskyites must
join the army, but that they would not defend the Soviet Union.
Vyshinsky: Did he convince you?
Berman-Yurin: During the conversation he nervously paced up and
down the room and talked of Stalin with exceptional hatred.
Vyshinsky: Did you give your consent?
Vyshinsky: Did your conversation end there?
Berman-Yurin: I also had a talk with Trotsky about the following.
After I had given my consent he said that I must get ready to go to Moscow,
and as I would have contact with the Comintern I was to prepare the
terroristic act taking advantage of this contact.
Vyshinsky: So Trotsky not only gave you general instructions,but
also formulated your task in a concrete way?
Berman-Yurin: He said that the terroristic act should, if
possible, be timed to take place at a plenum or at the congress of the
Comintern, so that the shot at Stalin would ring out in a large assembly.
This would have a tremendous repercussion far beyond the borders of the
Soviet Union and would give rise to a mass movement all over the world. This
would be an historical political event of world significance. Trotsky said
that I should not have contact with any Trotskyites in Moscow, and that I
should carry on the work independently. I replied that I did not know
anybody in Moscow and it was difficult for me to see how I should act under
these circumstances. I said that I had an acquaintance named Fritz David,
and asked whether I might not get in touch with him. Trotsky replied that he
would instruct Sedov to clear up this matter and that he would give him
instructions to this effect.
This conversation took place at the end of November, 1932. Berman-Yurin
left for Moscow in March, 1933. Before his departure Sedov instructed him to
get in touch with Fritz David and to prepare the terroristic act in
conjunction with him. Soon after his arrival in Moscow Berman-Yurin met
Fritz David, and together they discussed the terroristic plan and began to
make preparations to carry it out. At first they thought it possible to make
an attempt on Comrade Stalin's life at the XIII Plenum of the E.C.C.I. Fritz
David was to have secured an admission ticket for Berman-Yurin who was to
shoot at Stalin. On the eve of the Plenum, however, it was found that no
ticket could be obtained for Berman-Yurin, and the plan failed. It was
decided to postpone the assassination of Comrade Stalin until the Congress
of the Comintern.
Berman-Yurin: The Congress was to have been convened in September
1934. I gave Fritz David a Browning pistol and bullets to hide. But before
the opening of the Congress Fritz David informed me that he had again failed
to obtain a ticket for me, but that he himself would be at the Congress. We
agreed that he should be the one to commit the terroristic act.
Several days later I met Fritz David, and he said that he could not
manage to shoot. He was sitting in a box in which there were many people and
there was no possibility of shooting. Thus, this plan failed too.
In December Fritz David informed me that an emissary from Sedov and
Trotsky had been to see him receutly and wanted to know why the terroristic
act had not been committed. Fritz David gave him detailed information, and
received instructions to take advantage of another opportunity, to expedite
the preparations for the act and to take advantage of some conference or
reception to which I or Fritz David were to gain entry at all costs and
there to assassinate Stalin.
In May 1936 Fritz David informed me that another emissary - a German -
had arrived from Trotsky and visited him, and had spoken to him extremely
sharply, accusing us of being inactive, irresolute, lacking courage, and had
literally demanded that we take advantage of any opportunity that might
arise to assassinate Stalin. We must make haste, we must not lose time, he
At the end of May 1936 Iwas arrested and my terroristic activities were
At the end of the examination of Berman-Yurin Comrade Vyshinsky once
again questions him about his meetings with Trotsky's son, Sedov.
Berman-Yurin testifies that he had had frequent meetings with him in the
period from the end of 1931 to March, 1933.
Vyshinsky: Both Trotsky and Sedov raised before you the question
of terrorism and urged you to agree to commit a terroristic act?
Berman-Yurin: Quite true.
Vyshinsky: You gave your consent and were sent by Trotsky?
Berman-Yurin: By Trotsky through Sedov.
After the examination of Berman-Yurin the evening session of August 20
REPORT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS