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 had originated.
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 too?
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 work.
Vyshinsky: So when did you leave the centre?
Smirnov: I did not intend to resign; there was nothing to resign from.
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 Trotsky's deputy."
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 the Party?
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 terrorists.
Vyshinsky: Did you give instructions to the group?
Smirnov: No, I did not.
Vyshinsky (to Mrachkovsky): Mrachkovsky, did Smirnov give you such instructions?
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 terroristic acts?
Vyshinsky; So what Mrachkovsky says about the terrorist group is true?
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 bloc?
Dreitzer: If giving instructions to organize terrorist groups is leaving the bloc, then yes.
Vyshinsky: Evdokimov, did you hear of Smirnov leaving the bloc?
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 ACCUSED OLBERG
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 foothold there.
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 police.
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 trouble."
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 Honduras?
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 Central America.
Vyshinsky: Perhaps your parents had some connection with that republic?
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 free.
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 Stalin.
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 return?
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 foothold.
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 role.
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 Stalin?
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 ACCUSED BERMAN-YURIN
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 Sedov.
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 staunch Trotskyite.
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 two documents.
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 said.
At the end of May 1936 Iwas arrested and my terroristic activities were stopped.
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 closes.
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