Walter Krivitsky, Soviet defector, describes Stalin's Purges; Whittaker Chambers informs on Communist espionage in the USA

by Peter Myers

Date August 17, 2019

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(1) Krivitsky's account of the Purges upholds early Bolshevik 'idealism'
(2) Background information on Krivitsky - Spartacus
(3) Foreword to Krivitsky Memoirs, by Sam Tanenbaus
(4) In Stalin's Secret Service - Memoirs of the First Soviet Master Spy to Defect
(5) Whittaker Chambers describes his meeting with Krivitsky
(6) Afterword - Who is Vindicated?

(1) Krivitsky's account of the Purges upholds early Bolshevik 'idealism'

by Peter Myers, August 17, 2019

Krivitsky's account of the Purges (item 5) is quite shocking, but some background information is required to put this in perspective.

He himself joined the Cheka soon after the Bolshevik Revolution, so he participated in its crimes against the Russian people: executions, destruction of churches, and other atrocities. He says little about that in this book.

When Stalin turned the Cheka / OGPU/ NKVD against the "United Opposition" in the Communist Party, Krivitsky depicts the horrors that Old Bolsheviks suffered. But never does he indict the Cheka for its policy of Red Terror against Christian Russia. Instead , he portrays the early Bolsheviks as idealists.

However, he does note that during the Famine caused by Collectivisation, the Red Army refused to fire on Peasants; but OGPU troops did so:

"The letters received by the soldiers and recruits describing the fate suffered by their relatives back home filled them with resentment, bitterness, and even a spirit of revolt. The villages were being pillaged and destroyed by OGPU troops with orders to do a quick and thorough job of "liquidating the kulaks." Peasant rebellions broke out in the Ukraine, the richest agricultural section of the Soviet Union, and in the Northern Caucasus. They were ruthlessly suppressed by special OGPU detachments, since the Red Army could not be trusted to shoot down Russian peasants." (p. 192)

He fails to mention the Jewish character of those Chekists, or of the early Bolshevik regime; and only alludes briefly to his own Jewishess: "I heard the plaintive melodies of my suffering race mingled with new songs of freedom. ... I seized the Marxist and Leninist faith as a weapon with which to assault the wrongs against which I had instinctively rebelled." (p. xvi)

As an officer in Military Intelligence and in the Comintern, he participated in the war in Poland in 1920, by which Lenin hoped to spread Bolshevism to Germany: "it was the function of our department to operate secretly behind the Polish lines, to create diversions, to sabotage the shipment of munitions." (p. 26) "We organized a strike in Danzig to prevent the landing of French munitions for the Polish army." (p. 27)

He blames Russia's loss of that war on Stalin's countermanding Tukhachevsky (pp. 190-1). At that point, "Lenin's hope of joining hands through Poland, with the revolutionary workers of Germany and helping them extend the revolution to the Rhine, was lost." (p. 28)

Krivitsky does not mention the Jewish character of the Soviet regimes in Bavaria and Hungary, but he notes that Bolshevik troops attempted to save them: "in 1919, during ... the short-lived Hungarian and Bavarian Soviet republics. Detachments of Red Guards were then only about a hundred miles from Hungarian territory. But the Bolsheviks were then too weak, and were moreover fighting against the Whites for their very existence."

Thus was defeated the early Comintern plan: "at the first and second Congresses of the Comintern when Zinoviev, its President, proclaimed that within one year all Europe would be Communist." (p. 28)

Those who commemorate Rosa Luxembourg - as Trotskyists do - are, in effect, endorsing that early Comintern plan for a Communist Europe.

When Stalin exiled Trotsky from the Soviet Union in 1928, he must have had no idea that Trotsky would campaign to overthrow him. But, in Turkey then France, Norway and Mexico, Trotsky wrote books and articles to mobilise his supporters, whether they were outright Communists or intellectual fellow-travellers like the Fabians.

When he was in exile at Prinkipo in Turkey, Trotsky sent Beatrice Webb a copy of his autobiography My Life, and she and Sidney visited him. When he applied for asylum in Britain, he was supported by the Webbs, H. G. Wells, Bernard Shaw, and Keynes.

Trotsky's biggest challenge came in 1936-7, with the publication of his book The Revolution Betrayed, in which he calls Stalin a Bonapartist, and accuses him of restoring God and the Family: "The storming of heaven, like the storming of the family, is now brought to a stop." (p. 157) In this book he promotes Radical Feminism, Youth Rebellion, Communal Childrearing and the Destruction of the Family: trotsky.html.

Despite this, Trotsky insisted that his followers still support the Soviet Union, in the hope that its original revolutionary character could be restored one day. Trotsky was calling for the overthrow of Stalin, and hoping to return to take control himself. In the book Red Symphony, it is alleged that Trotsky secretly backed those plotting war against the Soviet Union, as a means of bringing Stalin down: red-symphony.html. Stalin himself may have believed this scenario.

Stalin saw the challenge, and mounted the Purges to eliminate Trotsky's supporters in the Soviet Union, in Spain (during the Civil War), in Western Europe, and North America. If Trotsky's supporters had won in Spain, or even in Catalonia, this would have provided Trotsky with a base from which to wage war on Stalin.

Stalin had Trotsky killed; but if Trotsky had won he would have executed Stalin too, and mounted his own bloody purge.

Stalin's Purges of the 1930s were not aimed at Jews but, because Jewish Bolsheviks were commonly Trotsky-supporters, they decimated the Jewish Bolsheviks as a by-product.

Many innocent people were also eliminated; and many were pressured to betray those they knew innocent, to prove their own loyalty and save themselves.

The Jewish intelligensia had rallied to the Bolsheviks during the civil war, and manned the bureaucracy for the first 20 years. These atheistic Jews had replaced the Germans, who provided similar professional and administrative services in Czarist Russia.

After the Purges of 1936-8, Jews continued to support the Soviet Union, because Hitler was deemed the main threat. Jews participated heavily in the Comintern's army in Spain, the International Brigade, during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9, in support of the Republican government allied to the Soviet Union.

The evidence presented at the Moscow Trials is commonly dismissed as a fabribation.

But Vadim Rogovin, a Trotskyist (with no love of Stalin) and a Professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences, wrote in his book 1937: Stalin's Year of Terror that even though 90% of the confessions were fabrications, 10% were correct, and that archive documents show that Kamanev and Zinoviev had re-joined Trotsky and formed an anti-Stalinist bloc. "The anti-Stalinist bloc finally took form in June 1932" (p. 63). stalin-purges.html

"Only after a new wave of arrests following Kirov's assassination, after interrogations and reinterrogations of dozens of Oppositionists, did Stalin receive information about the 1932 bloc, which served as one of the main reasons for organizing the Great Purge" (p. 64).

After the Treaty of Rapallo, Tukhachevsky had established contact with the leaders of the German Army. Stalin later obtained documents from them suggesting that Tukhachevsky was plotting against him. These documents may have been forged by the Nazis; but Rogovin says that transcripts of Hitler's Table Talk give grounds for thinking that the challenge may have been real.

Krivitsky was convinced that Stalin had a policy of appeasing Hitler. But Pavel Sudoplatov explained that Stalin's goal was to avoid a war on two fronts. At this time, Korea, Manchuria and other parts of China were under Japanese occupation:

"The strategic goal of the Soviet leadership was to avert war on two fronts, in the Far East and in Europe, at any cost. This pattern of diplomatic relations not governed by ideological considerations had already been established in the 1920s, when the Soviet Union carried on economic cooperation and normal relations with Italy after the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini came to power in 1922. The Kremlin leadership was ready for a compromise with any regime, provided it guaranteed stability for the Soviet Union." (Special Tasks, p. 96) sudoplat.html .

Stalin's pact with Hitler broke up the Anti-Comintern Pact. Japan, in consequence of the Soviet-German Pact, decided to Strike South rather than Strike North (ie attack the US rather than the USSR). But for the Soviet-German Pact, Japan, already entrenched in Manchuria, would probably have joined in a German attack on the USSR: world-war-II.html.

However, the Soviet-German Pact did give Hitler a free hand to attack Western Europe. Stalin knew that Hitler would not attack Russia, because that would give Germany a war on two fronts.

(2) Background information on Krivitsky - Spartacus

Walter Krivitsky (real name Samuel Ginsberg) was born into a Jewish family living in Podwoloczyska, on 28th June, 1899. At the age of thirteen he joined the radical youth movement. He later recalled "the plaintive melodies of my suffering race mingled with new songs of freedom." ...

After the Russian Revolution he worked briefly as a journalist before he joined the Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage (Cheka). During the Russian Civil War he operated behind the lines of the White Army. "In 1920... I was attached to the Soviet military intelligence for the Western Front ... As the Red Armies of General Tukhachevsky moved toward Warsaw it was the function of our department to operate secretly behind the Polish lines, to create diversions, to sabotage the shipment of munitions, to shatter the morale of the Polish army by propaganda and to furnish the general staff of the Red Army with military and political information." ...

In 1925 Krivitsky met Paul Wohl in Berlin. It was the beginning of a long friendship. According to Gary Kern: "Paul Wohl was a Jewish intellectual specializing in political, economic and historical affairs... He grew up in a family with long-established international ties and studied history, economics and law at several universities... Politically, he considered himself a conservative, even a militant conservative, guided by the Lutheran Protestant faith."

Wohl later revealed that "all I knew of him then was that he was an important emissary of the Bolsheviks". He was in fact a NKVD agent. Although he considered himself to be a conservative, he freely associated with people on the left like Krivitsky. This partly due to their shared hatred of fascism. As a German Jew he had every reason to be concerned about the growth in support for anti-Semitic politicians such as Adolf Hitler and Eric Ludendorff.

Gary Kern believes that Krivitsky used Wohl in his spying activities ...

As well as working for Military Intelligence, Krivitsky also did work for NKVD. According to Viktor Suvorov, of the two intelligence agencies, the military was the most secretive, being virtually unknown to the public both inside and outside the country. Each of the agencies considered itself the more elite of the two. ...

In July 1933 Kritvitsky was transferred to Rotterdam as director of intelligence with liaison responsibilities for other European countries. According to Krivitsky he was now "Chief of the Soviet Military Intelligence for Western Europe". ...

Krivitsky's main objective was to build spy networks in Europe. His agents organized groups of dedicated Communists prepared to assist the Soviet Union if war broke out. The plan was for these units to disrupt communications, wreck machinery and blow up munitions depots. Krivitsky also recruited journalists, politicians, artists and government officials. Some he paid with money, others were willing to work for free as they believed in communism. Probably his most important agent was Pierre Cot, the Air Minister, in the government of Léon Blum.

Krivitsky later claimed that Military Intelligence never stole classified documents outright, but borrowed them long enough to photograph them and then returned them to their original places. All its officers and most of its agents were trained in the use of a Lecia camera. According to Gary Kern, the author of A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror (2004): "For remote locations, they used a little suitcase containing all the necessary equipment. Krivitsky wrote his reports by hand, photographed them and sent the undeveloped film to Moscow through the embassy. The rolls of film containing the purloined material went the same way. The service had mailing canisters for film that would self-destruct if opened improperly, but these were used only in emergency or war situations." ...

(3) Foreword to Krivitsky Memoirs, by Sam Tanenbaus

In Stalin's Secret Service

Memoirs of the First Soviet Master Spy to Defect

W. G. Krivitsky

Enigma Books, New York, 2000.

{p. ix} FOREWORD

by Sam Tanenbaus

Walter Krivitsky is best remembered today for the unsolved mystery surrounding his death in a Washington, DC hotel room in February 1941, a front-page story at the time. The police found a bullet in the victim's temple, a pistol at his side, and no fewer than three farewell notes. A suicide, by all appearances. But those familiar with Krivitsky's history were skeptical. They were aware that operatives of the NKVD (or the KGB, as it was later called) had been pursuing him since 1937, the year he defected from his high position within Soviet Military Intelligence (GRU) and issued a public denunciation of Stalin. Krivitsky's lawyer, Louis Waldman, recalled some ominous words from his client: "One day you walk along a street and there is a dead man, run over by a car. And you see it is Krivitsky. You say, 'Poor man, he should have been more careful.' You never think it is they who killed me so. They are too clever!"

Krivitsky had already eluded assassins in France before (in December 1937) he fled to the United States where his life took

{p. x} on a strange duality. He was a public figure, who testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) on Moscow's intelligence services and also wrote (with the help of the anti-Communist journalist Isaac Don Levine) several articles exposing Stalin's "secret policies." Published first in The Saturday Evening Post, they were reissued in book form as In Stalin's Secret Service. This literary work brought Krivitsky a touch of celebrity and a measure of financial security. Yet he remained a kind of desperado, less an emigre than a fugitive, never at home in America, never free of the past. He took out a large life insurance policy and moved his wife and young son from one residence to another in the attempt to elude his Soviet pursuers.

A strain of melancholy fatalism haunts In Stalin's Secret Service, counterpoint to its more emphatic tone of prophetic warning. The book was written as Europe inched closer to war. Krivitsky predicted, shockingly, that Stalin would desert his ostensible allies, the democratic nations leagued in what the Communists termed a "Popular Front" against fascism, and cynically cast his lot with Hitler. Krivitsky was right, of course-and about much else besides, as the reader will discover for himself once he adjusts to the heightened cadences of this book, which repeatedly sounds what Arthur Koestler once called the "Cassandra cry" of the disillusioned ex-revolutionist.

This is a defector's, not a journalist's, book. It is a work of anguished confession, written by a repentant participant in many of the crimes he recounts. In our own age, in which we all are invited to strike the victim's pose, it is disorienting to be addressed by one whose authority derives from his self-proclaimed guilt and who reaches out to grab us with bloodstained hands. At times Krivitsky descends into melodrama, for instance in the last pages, which describe his meeting with "one of the editors of a New York labor paper" (it was David Shub of the Jewish Daily Forward) at a Times Square restaurant. Suddenly, three men enter and seat themselves at the next table. One of the three, Krivitsky tells us, was Sergei Bassoff (or Basov), his onetime GRU colleague who was now in America running an underground Communist

{p. xi} spy ring. Krivitsky writes: "My companion and I rose to leave the restaurant hastily, but Basoff caught up with me at the cashier's desk. He greeted me in a most friendly way. 'Did you come to shoot me?' I said." To modern ears it sounds like a low-budget spy tale: a defector hiding in plain sight while enemy agents track him through the busiest streets in Manhattan. Then we remember the corpse in the hotel room. As one of the first ex-Communist witnesses, Krivitsky saw his purpose clearly. He must demolish every vestigial illusion about the Stalin's Soviet "experiment" and disclose the ugliest facts about a regime whose atrocities included mass murder and slave labor camps.

Today we know all this to have been true. But at the time Krivitsky's revelations were received, widely, as blasphemies. The NKVD petitioned for his deportation to Russia, where-had the U.S. government complied-he would have been imprisoned and almost certainly killed. He was also vilified by American Communists and their allies. The New Masses, the leading literary organ of the Communist Party, U.S.A. (CPUSA), taunted him with his birth name, Samuel Ginsberg-or "Shmelka Ginsberg," as the monthly sneeringly put it. In more elevated circles the attacks were just as fierce. Malcolm Cowley, the longtime literary editor of The New Republic, characterized Krivitsky, who had risked death rather than serve Stalin, as "an opportunist and a coward," "a gangster and traitor"-a traitor, that is, to the Communist vision. "Nothing is left him but anguish and hate," Cowley concluded. But at least Cowley had the candor, superb critic that he was, to concede that In Stalin's Secret Service "belongs to a series of writings and events that have caused me to change my judgment of Soviet Russia." Others, who had stood closer to Stalin's flames and been seared by them, accepted Krivitsky's message less grudgingly.

Consider the case of the most important American ex-Communist, Whittaker Chambers, who in 1938 quit his job as courier for a Soviet spy ring based in Washington, DC. After a year on the run, Chambers had landed, improbably, on the staff of Time magazine, where he was building a new career as a journalist. He

{p. xii} was finished with the revolution but unsure what his next step should be. It was during this period that Isaac Don Levine invited Chambers to his Manhattan apartment one evening to meet Krivitsky, whose articles had just begun appearing in the Post. The two defectors eyed one another warily but soon were conversing excitedly, exchanging reminiscences, each filling in gaps in the other's knowledge. "It was like fitting a jigsaw puzzle together," Levine later said, "and it was astonishing." At midnight, when Levine went to bed, the two were still at it. When he awoke the next morning, his guests were talking over coffee. They had stayed up all night. In the months ahead the two became fast friends, fellow outcasts in purgatory, paired by their common plight. Krivitsky helped Chambers understand it was not possible simply to walk away from the Communist movement and invent a new life, erasing the past. The ex-Communist must instead remake himself into an anti-Communist and join the battle against Stalin. Chambers agreed. His book and film reviews for Time were models of forceful polemic. But he was not yet ready to go further and denounce his former comrades, some of whom were embarked on brilliant careers in Washington and still spying for Moscow.

Then, on August 23, 1939, Hitler and Stalin signed their infamous pact, just as Krivitsky had predicted. He now feared intelligence being harvested by the Washington spy ring would reach the Nazis. The ring must be smashed. He gave this message to Don Levine, who ferried it to Chambers at his office in the Time-Life building and also pleaded with him to go to Washington and make a full confession. And so on September 2, the day after the Nazis invaded Poland, Chambers met with Adolf Berle, the intelligence liaison to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and for the first time laid out the skeletal facts of the espionage ring he had helped assemble. He named several accomplices placed in sensitive government positions, including Alger Hiss, who would not be prosecuted until 1949, at the peak of the cold war.

A year after his historic confession to Berle, Chambers, whose repudiation of Communism had coincided with a rediscovery of

{p. xiii} his boyhood Christianity, was baptized at St. John the Divine, the vast Episcopal cathedral in uptown Manhattan. On a long rambling walk with Krivitsky he described the solace he had found in the church. The Russian was so moved that he contemplated making a conversion, too. Chambers arranged for him to talk with his spiritual adviser, the cleric William Dudley Foulke Hughes. Alas, the conversation never took place, because soon afterward Krivitsky was found dead in the Bellevue Hotel, a few blocks from the Capitol dome, the long-awaited death warrant delivered at last.

{end of Foreword; the remainder is by Krivitsky}

(4) In Stalin's Secret Service - Memoirs of the First Soviet Master Spy to Defect

W. G. Krivitsky

Enigma Books, New York, 2000.


THE evening of May 22,1937, I boarded a train in Moscow to return to my post in The Hague as Chief of the Soviet Military Intelligence in Western Europe. I little realized then that I was seeing my last of Russia so long as Stalin is her master. For nearly twenty years I had served the Soviet government. For nearly twenty years I had been a Bolshevik. As the train sped toward the Finnish border I sat alone in my compartment, thinking of the fate of my colleagues, my comrades, my friends-arrested, shot, or in concentration camps, almost all of them. They had given their entire lives to build a better world, and had died at their posts, not under the bullets of an enemy but because Stalin willed it.

Who is there left to respect or admire? What hero or heroine of our revolution has not been broken and destroyed? I could think of but few. All those whose personal integrity was absolutely above question had gone down as "traitors," "spies," or com-

{p. xvi} mon criminals. Pictures flashed through my mind-pictures of the Civil War when these same "traitors" and "spies" faced death a thousand times without flinching; of the arduous days that followed, of industrialization and the superhuman demands it made upon all of us, of collectivization and famine when we barely had the rations to keep us alive. And then the great purge-sweeping all before it, destroying those who had labored hardest to build a state in which man should no longer exploit his fellow man.

Through the long years of struggle we had learned to repeat to ourselves that a victory over injustices of the old society can only be attained with moral as well as physical sacrifice, that a new world can not come into being until the last vestige of the habits of the old has been destroyed. But could it be necessary for a Bolshevik Revolution to destroy all Bolsheviks? Wlas it the Bolshevik Revolution that was destroying them, or had that revolution itself long since perished? I did not answer these questions then, but I asked them . . .

At the age of thirteen I had entered the working-class movement. It was a half-mature, half-childish act. I heard the plaintive melodies of my suffering race mingled with new songs of freedom. But in 1917 I was a youngster of eighteen, and the Bolshevik Revolution came to me as an absolute solution of all problems of poverty, inequality and injustice. I joined the Bolshevik Party with my whole soul. I seized the Marxist and Leninist faith as a weapon with which to assault the wrongs against which I had instinctively rebelled.

During all the years that I served the Soviet government I never expected anything more than the right to continue my work. I never received anything more. Long after the Soviet power had been stabilized, I was sent abroad on assignments that exposed me to the danger of death, and that twice landed me in prison. I worked from sixteen to eighteen hours a day, and never earned enough to cover the most ordinary living expenses. I myself, when traveling abroad, would live in moderate comfort, but I did not earn enough, even as late as 1935, to keep my apartment in Moscow heated properly or pay the price of milk for my two-year-old

{p. xvii} son. I was not in a strategic position, and I had no desire-I was too much absorbed in my work-to become one of the new privileged bureaucrats with a material stake in defending the Soviet order. I defended it because I believed it was leading the way to a new and better society.

The very fact that my work was concerned with the defense of the country against foreign enemies prevented me from thinking much of what was happening within its borders and especially in the small inner world of power politics. As an Intelligence officer I saw the external enemies of the Soviet Union much more closely than its internal conspirators. I knew of separatist and Fascist plots that were being hatched on foreign soil, but I was out of contact with the intrigues inside the Kremlin. I saw Stalin rise to undivided power while Lenin's closer comrades perished at the hands of the state they had created. But like many others, I reassured myself with the thought that whatever might be the mistakes of the leadership, the Soviet Union was still sound and was the hope of mankind.

There were occasions when even this faith was badly shaken, occasions when, if I could have seen any hope elsewhere, I might have chosen a new course. But always events in some other part of the world would conspire to keep me in the service of Stalin. In 1933, when the Russian people. were dying by the millions of starvation, and I knew that Stalin's ruthless policies had caused it, and that Stalin was deliberately withholding the state's help, I saw Hitler take power in Germany and there destroy everything that meant life for the human spirit. Stalin was an enemy of Hitler and I remained in the service of Stalin.

In February, 1934, a similar dilemma confronted me and I made the same choice. I was then taking my annual month's rest at the Marino Sanatorium in the province of Kursk, Central Russia. Marino was once the palace of Prince Buryatin, the conqueror of the Caucasus. The palace was in the resplendent style of Versailles, surrounded by beautiful English parks and artificial lakes. The sanatorium had an excellent staff of physicians, athletic instructors, nurses and servants. Within walking distance of its enclosed

{p. xviii} grounds was the state farm where peasants labored to provide its guests with food. A sentry at the gate kept the peasants from trespassing on the enclosure.

One morning soon after my arrival I walked with a companion to the village where these peasants lived. The spectacle I beheld was appalling. Half-naked little brats ran out of dilapidated huts to beg us for a piece of bread. In the peasants' cooperative store was neither food nor fuel-nothing to be had. Everywhere the most abject poverty dismayed my eyes and depressed my spirits.

That evening seated in the brilliantly lighted dining hall of Marino, everyone was chatting gaily after an excellent supper. Outside, it was bitterly cold, but within, a roaring fireplace gave us cozy warmth. By some chance I turned suddenly and looked toward the window. I saw the feverish eyes of hungry peasant children-the bezprizornii-their little faces glued like pictures to the cold panes. Soon others followed my glance, and gave orders to a servant that the intruders be driven off. Almost every night a few of these children would succeed in eluding the sentry and sneak up to the palace in search of something to eat. I sometimes slipped out of the dining hall with bread for them, but I did this secretly because the practice was frowned upon among us. Soviet officials have developed a stereotyped defense against human suffering:

"We are on the hard road to socialism. Many must fall by the wayside. We must be well fed and must recuperate from our labors, enjoying, for a few weeks each year, comforts still denied to others, because we are the builders of a Joyous Life in the future. We are the builders of socialism. We must keep in shape to continue on the hard road. Any unfortunates who cross our path will be taken care of in due time. In the meanwhile, out of our way! Don't pester us with your suffering! If we stop to drop you a crumb, the goal itself may never be reached."

So it runs. And it is obvious that people protecting their peace of mind in that way are not going to be too squeamish about the turns in the road, or inquire too critically whether it is really leading to the joyous Ufe or not.

{p. xix} It was an icy morning when I reached Kursk on my way home from Marino. I entered the railway station to await the arrival of the Moscow express. After eating a hearty breakfast in the lunchroom, I still had time to spare, and I wandered into the third-class waiting room. I shall never be able to obliterate from my mind what I saw. The waiting room was jammed full of men, women, and children, peasants-about six hundred of them-on their way like a herd of cattle from one prison camp to another. The scene was so frightful that for a fleeting instant I thought I saw bats flying over these tortured beings. Many of them lay almost naked in the cold room. Others were manifestly dying of typhus fever. Hunger, pain, desolation, or just dumb half-dead submissive suffering, were on every face. While I stood there, hard-faced militiamen of the OGPU undertook to rouse and herd them out like a drove of cattle, pushing and kicking the stragglers and those almost too weak to walk. One old man, I saw as I turned away, would never rise from the floor. This was but one mournful detachment, I knew, of the horde of millions of honest peasant families whom Stalin, calling them "kulaks," a name which no longer means much more than victim, had rooted up and transported and destroyed.

I also knew, however, that at that very moment-it was February, 1934-Fascist field pieces in the streets of Vienna were shelling the model workers' apartment houses which the socialists had built. Fascist machine guns were mowing down the Austrian workers in their last desperate stand for socialism. Everywhere Fascism was on the march. Everywhere the forces of reaction were gaining ground. The Soviet Union still seemed the sole hope of mankind. I remained in the service of the Soviet Union-that is, of Stalin, its master.

Two years later came the Spanish tragedy, and I saw Mussolini and Hitler pour their men and munitions to the aid of Franco, while Premier Leon Blum of France, a Socialist, was drawn in on the hypocritical game of "non-intervention" which doomed the Spanish Republic. I saw Stalin-belatedly to be sure, and timidly, and not enough-come to the aid of the beleaguered republic. [...]


THE Communist International was born in Moscow on March 2, 1919. It received its death blow in Moscow on August 23,1939, with the signing of the Nazi-Soviet pact by Premier Molotov and German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop. But its decay was apparent in many things that happened years before. ...

{p. 26} I was in a position from the very beginning until 1937 to observe closely the workings of the Comintern. I took a direct political and military part in its revolutionary actions abroad for eighteen years. I was one of the executive arms of Stalin's intervention in Spain, during which the Comintern sent its forces into battle for the last time.

My work with the Comintern began in 1920 during the Russo-Polish war. I was then attached to the Soviet Military Intelligence for the Western Front which had its headquarters in Smolensk. As the Red Armies of Tukhachevsky moved toward Warsaw it was the function of our department to operate secretly behind the Polish lines, to create diversions, to sabotage the shipment of munitions, to shatter the morale of the Polish army by propaganda, and to furnish the general staff of the Red Army with military and political information.

As there was no clear line separating our work from that of the Comintern agents in Poland, we cooperated in every possible way with the recently formed Polish Communist Party, and we published a revolutionary newspaper Stit (Dawn) which we distributed, among the soldiers of the Polish army. ...

{p. 27} During the Russo-Polish war the Polish Communist Party worked hand in hand with our department, and we prepared that party for action in cooperation with the Red Army. The Polish Communist Party obeyed all the commands of the advancing army of Tukhachevsky.

Members of the Polish Communist Party aided us in organizing sabotage, in creating diversions, and in impeding the arrival of munitions from France. We organized a strike in Danzig to prevent the landing of French munitions for the Polish army. I traveled to Warsaw, Cracow, Lemberg, German, and Czech Silesia and to Vienna, organizing strikes to stop arms shipments. I organized a successful railroad strike in the Czech railroad junction of Oderberg, persuading the Czech trainmen to walk out, rather than handle Skoda munitions for the Poland of Pilsudski.

"Railroad workers!" I wrote in a leaflet. "'You are transporting on your line guns to slaughter your Russian working-class brothers."

At the same time, a Polish Soviet government, organized in anticipation of the capture of Warsaw, was moving with Tukhachevsky's staff toward the Polish capital. Felix Dzerzhinsky, veteran Polish revolutionist and head of the Russian Cheka (the earlier name for the OGPU) had been appointed by Moscow to head this government.

The Russo-Polish war was the one serious attempt made by Moscow to carry Bolshevism into Western Europe on the points of bayonets. It failed, despite all our efforts, military and political, despite the victories of the Red Army, and although we had a Polish section of the Comintern working with our political agita-

{p. 28} tors and intelligence men behind the Polish front. In the end the exhausted Red Army was forced to fall back. Pilsudski remained master of Poland. Lenin's hope of joining hands through Poland, with the revolutionary workers of Germany and helping them extend the revolution to the Rhine, was lost.

The idea of hastening Bolshevist Revolution through military invasion had been entertained earlier, in 1919, during the existence of the short-lived Hungarian and Bavarian Soviet republics. Detachments of Red Guards were then only about a hundred miles from Hungarian territory. But the Bolsheviks were then too weak, and were moreover fighting against the Whites for their very existence.

By the beginning of 1921, when the treaty of Riga was signed between Russia and Poland, the Bolsheviks, and especially Lenin himself, realized that to bring successful revolutions to Western Europe was a serious and long-time task. There was no such hope of quick triumph on an international scale as had existed at the first and second Congresses of the Comintern when Zinoviev, its President, proclaimed that within one year all Europe would be Communist. Even after 1921, however, and as late as 1927, Moscow launched a series of revolutionary adventures and putsches.

In this series of irresponsible attempts, thousands of workers in Germany, in the Baltic and Balkan countries, and in China, were needlessly sacrificed. They were sent to slaughter by the Comintern on a gamble, with cooked-up schemes of military coups d'etat, general strikes and rebellions, none of which had any substantial chance of success.

Early in 1921 the situation in Russia was particularly threatening to the Soviet regime. Hunger, peasant uprisings, the revolt of the sailors in Kronstadt, and a general strike of the Petrograd workers, brought the government to the brink of disaster. All the victories of the Civil War seemed to have been in vain, as the Bolsheviks groped blindly in the face of opposition from those workers, peasants and sailors who had been their chief support. The Comintern, caught in this desperate situation, decided that the only way of saving Bolshevism was through a revolution in

{p. 29} Germany. Zinoviev sent his trusted lieutenant, Bela Kun, former head of the Hungarian Soviet republic, to Berlin.

Bela Kun appears in Berhn in March, 1921, with an order to the Central Committee of the German Communist Party from Zinoviev and the executive committee of the Comintern: There is a revolufionaty situalion in Germany. The Communist Party must seize power. The Central Committee of the German Communist Party is incredulous. The members can scarcely believe their ears. They know that they cannot hope to overthrow the Berhn government. But Bela Kun's orders are clear: an immediate uprising, the abolition of the Weimar republic, and the establishment of a Communist dictatorship in Germany. The Central Committee of the German Communist Party obeys the instructions from Moscow. As a loyal subordinate of the Executive Committee of the Communist International headed by Zinoviev and directed by Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Radek, and Stalin, the German Communist Party cannot disobey.

On March 22, a general strike was declared in the industrial districts of Mansfeld and Merseburg, central Germany,'On March 24, the Communists seized the city administration buildings at Hamburg. In Leipzig, Dresden, Chemnitz, and other cities of central Germany the Communists directed their attack upon court houses, city halls, pubhc banks and police headquarters. The official German Communist newspaper, Die Rote Fabne, openly calIed for a revolution.

In the Mansfeld copper mining district, Max Hoe1z, the Communist Robin Hood, who had a year before single-handedly waged guerrilla warfare against the Berlin government throughout the Vogdand area of Saxony, arrived to announce that he was in charge of operations. About the same time a series of bombing outrages took place throughout Germany, including attempts to blow up public buildings and monuments in Berlin. In this the government recognized Hoe1z's expert hand.

On March 24, the Communist workers in the huge nitrogen plant at Leuna, armed with rifles and hand grenades, barricaded themselves within the factory.

{p. 30} But the Communist effort to co-ordinate these localized actions broke down completely. Their loyal, trained party regulars responded to the call, and were sent to their death by the party, battalion after battalion, more ruthlessly than Ludendorff had sent his troops into battle. The great mass of workers neither responded to the call for a general strike, nor joined in the scattered outbreaks. By early April, the uprising had been put down everywhere.

The leader of the German Communist Party, Dr. Paul Levi, who had opposed the adventure as madness from the very start, was expelled from the party for putting the blame in no uncertain language where it belonged.

He informed Moscow that it understood nothing of the conditions in Western Europe, that it had sacrificed the lives of thousands of workers upon an insane gamble. He referred to the Bolshevik leaders, and the emissaries of the Comintern as "scoundrels" and "cheap politicians."

Within a short time after this March uprising, the Communist Party of Germany had lost half of its members. As for Max Hoelz, the Communist firebrand who expected to seize power by dynamite, he was tried on charges of "murder, arson, highway-robbery and fifty other counts" and sentenced to life imprisonment. ...

{p. 31} The defeat of the March uprising in Germany sobered Moscow considerably. Even Zinoviev toned down his proclamations and manifestoes. Europe was quite evidently not done with capitalism. Nor was Russia itself-for after the suppression of the peasant rebellions and the Kronstadt revolt, Lenin made important economic concessions to peasants and business men. Russia

{p. 32} settled down to a period of internal reconstruction, and the world revolution went decidedly into the background.

{p. 50} Practically all matters regarding the manufacture and doctoring of passports and other documents are entrusted to native Russians. Pre-war conditions in Czarist Russia gave them exceptional training in this art. The elaborate passport regulations which have become prevalent in most European countries since 1918, found the Bolsheviks well prepared. In the offices of the OGPU and the Fourth Department of the Red Army there are experts who can forge consular signatures and government seals wholly indistinguishable from the genuine article.

The Foreign Liaison Section has still another function of great importance. It co-ordinates all the educational and propaganda functions of the Comintern on an international scale. It conducts training schools in and about Moscow for carefully selected Communists from every country, teaching them all the angles of civil warfare, from propaganda to the operation of machine guns.

These schools had their beginning during the first months of the Bolshevik revolution when brief training courses were given to German and Austrian war prisoners in the hope that these "cadres" would use their knowledge on the barricades of Berlin and Vienna. Later these courses became organized institutions. The most promising students would receive military instruction under the immediate tutelage of the Intelligence Department of the General Staff of the Red Army.

In 1926, a university was established in Moscow to instruct Western European and American Communists in the technique of Bolshevism. This university, the so-called Lenin School, is subsidized by the O.M.S., which also Provides living quarters for the students. Its dean is the wife of Yaroslavsky, Chief of the Soviet "League of the Godless." The students, now laraely British, French and American Communists, live an entirely secluded life, and have little contact with either Russians or foreigners in the Soviet Union. Graduates of this Bolshevik academy are expected to return to their native countries to work for the Comintern in labor unions, government offices and other non-

{p. 51} Communist positions. Secrecy is maintained because their value to Moscow in the United States, France, and Great Britain is destroyed if it becomes known that they have studied methods of civil warfare under the Intelligence Officers of the Red Army.

Another training course, for very small groups of carefully sifted foreign Communists, is conducted in complete secrecy outside Moscow in the suburb of Kuntsevo. Here European and American Communists are taught intelligence work, including wiretapping, the operation of secret radio stations, passport forgery, etc.

When the Comintern began to turn its attention to China, it created a university of the east, the so-called Sun Yat Sen University, with Karl Radek at the head. Moscow was then in a frenzy of optimism over the prospects of a Soviet revolution in China. Sons of generals and of high Chinese officials were invited to attend this special training school. Among them was the son of Chiang Kai-shek. The Kuomintang, the Chinese Nationalist Party, and the Comintern were then working hand in hand, and Moscow felt that at last a big victory was at hand.

{p. 124} The story of the OGPU goes back to December 1917, one month after the Bolshevik Revolution, when Lenin sent a memorandum to Dzerzhinsky, the veteran Polish revolutionist, containing the draft of a decree to combat "counter-revolution, speculation, and sabotage." This memorandum signalized the creation of an Extraordinary Commission with summary powers to combat the enemies of the Bolshevik government. The Extraordinary Commission became known by the combination of its Russian initials as the Cheka. It developed into an instrument of terror and mass execution in the summer of 1918, following the attempt on Lenin's life and the assassination of the Bolshevik leader, Uritsky.

The first chief of the Cheka, Felix Dzerzhinsky, was a ruthless yet utterly incorruptible revolutionist. He sent countless numbers to their deaths during the civil war, in the burning conviction that there was no other way to safeguard the Soviet regime against its "class enemies." Notwithstanding all the horrors associated with the name Cheka during the first years of the Bolshevik Revolution, neither Dzerzhinsky himself nor the majority of his trusted assistants were motivated by anything except fanatical zeal to serve as the sword of the Revolution. Feared by the people, the Secret Police were not then feared by those who worked loyally for the Soviet State.

As the Soviet State became progressively more totalitarian, as the Bolshevik Party itself became the victim of what it had created in 1917, the Secret Police gained greater and greater power, terror became an end in itself, and fearless revolutionists were slowly replaced by hardened, dissolute, and demoralized executioners.

In 1923 the name of the Secret Police was changed from Cheka to OGPU, from the Russian initials of "United Governmental Po-

{p. 125} litical Administration." The change in name was intended to get rid of unpleasant associations, but the new name soon inspired a far more dreadful terror than the old.

The OGPU remained in the same home the Cheka had occupied, a building called the Lubianka, which had housed an insurance company before the revolution. The original green structure facing the Lubianka Square was about five stories high. But beginning in 1930 additions were made, including three new stories of yellow brick, and a luxurious new eleven-story building with a black marble base.

The main approach to the Lubianka is stiff through the old building, at the entrance to which there is a large bas relief of Karl Marx. There are other entrances from the side streets, and virtually all the buildings in the immediate neighborhood belong to the OGPU and house its people.

Standing on an elevation, the group of old and new OGPU buildings on Lubianka Square are one of the most prominent and beautiful features of the city. Through the main entrance from the Square pass only the highest officials of the OGPU. Ordinary citizens must obtain passes in the OGPU's Bureau of Permits on the street called Kouznetski Most, facing the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. Long lines of relatives, wives, and friends begging for permission to visit prisoners, to send letters or packages of food and clothing, always crowd the Bureau of Permits. From the character of these waiting lines one may read at a glance the Soviet policy of the period. In the first years of Bolshevik rule they were filled with the wives of officers and merchants. Later the relatives of arrested engineers, professors, and technicians predominated. In 1937, I saw long queues composed of the next of kin of our own Soviet people, the wives and relatives of my friends, comrades and colleagues.

In the long dark corridors of the Lubianka guards are stationed at every twenty paces. Permits are verified at least three times before an outsider is permitted to enter any office of the OGPU.

In what had been the courtyard of the old building, the Cheka erected a special prison for important political prisoners. Most of

{p. 126} them are kept in solitary confinement, and the prison itself is now called the "Isolator." The cell windows are so obstructed, not only by iron bars but by a slatted iron blind, that they permit only a small ray of light to enter. The prisoner is cut off entirely from any view of the courtyard or the sky.

When an OGPU investigating prosecutor wishes to crossexamine a prisoner in his office, he calls up the commandant of the prison, who sends the man under guard across the courtyard, up a narrow dark stairway, and into the office building. There is an elevator to take prisoners to the upper stories.

In the autumn of 1935 I saw one of the most notable of the Lubianka prisoners, Lenin's close colleague and collaborator, the first president of the Communist International and onetime boss of the Leningrad Party and Soviet. Once he had been stout. Now, as he shuffled through the corridor clad in white and blue pyjamas, he was haggard and wasted. That was the last I saw of the man who had been Gregory Zinoviev. He was being led to his inquisitors. Several months later he was taken to the cellars of the Lubianka and shot....

In the office of every prosecuting investigator the most important article of furniture is his couch. For the character of his work is such that it often keeps him going at consecutive stretches of twenty to forty hours. He is himself almost as much a captive as the prisoner. His duties know no limits. They may extend from grilling prisoners to shooting them.

For it is one of the peculiarities of the Soviet judicial process that despite the tremendous numbers of executions, there are no regular executioners. Sometimes the men who go down to the cellar to carry out the death decrees of the collegium of the OGPU are officers and sentries of the building. Sometimes they are the investigators and prosecutors themselves. For an analogy to this, one must try to imagine a New York District Attorney obtaining a first degree murder conviction and then rushing up to Sing Sing to throw the switch in the death chamber.

{p. 127} The OGPU executioners took their greatest toll during 1937 and 1938, when the great purge engulfed everything. Earlier, in 1934, Stalin loosed the OGPU upon the rank and file of the Bolshevik Party. The periodical "cleansing" of party ranks, properly a function of the Party Control Commission, was then turned over to the Secret Police. Then, for the first time, every member of the Bolshevik Party was subjected to an individual police investig.tion. In March, 1937, however, Stalin decided that all these cleansings and purges had not gone deep enough. He had retained power from 1933 to 1936, largely because Yagoda and his secret agents worked hand in hand with him in fervent loyalty to smash the old Bolshevik Party and the leadership of the Red Army. But because Yagoda had become too intimate with Stalin's purge methods, and too close to the reins of power, Stalin decided to change executioners in midstream. The man chosen as Yagoda's successor was Nikolai Yezhov, whom Stalin had "planted" several years before as secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, and head of the bureau of appointments, chief dispenser of patronage. In these positions, Yezhov had been silently building a parallel OGPU, responsible only to Stalin personally. When he stepped into Yagoda's shoes, he imported into the State Secret Police about two hundred of his own reliable "boys" from this personal OGPU of Stalin's. Stalin's slogan in March 1937 was: Intensify the purge! Yezhov translated that slogan into bloody action. His first job was to inform the old OGPU Officials that they had been lax, that they had been corruptly led, that the new intensified purge must begin at home in the OGPU itself

On March 18,1937, Yezhov addressed a meeting of the leaders of the OGPU in the club room of the annex to the Lubianka Building. All of Yagoda's immediate assistants and, with one exception, all the chiefs of the OGPU divisions were already under arrest. The blow was now about to fall upon the high command. The spacious quarters of the club were crowded with veteran Chekists, some of whom had served in the Secret Police for nearly twenty years. Yezhov was about to make his first declaration as the new chief of the OGPU, as "People's Commissar for Internal

{p. 128} Affairs" for again in an attempt to get rid of ghastly associations the title had been changed. The new supreme commander took his job seriously. This was a big day for him. He was going to prove that he was indispensable to Stalin. He was going to expose the grand chief Yagoda himself to the surviving OGPU officials.

Yezhov began by declaring that it was not his task to prove Yagoda's mistakes. If Yagoda had been a firm and honest Bolshevik he could not have lost Stalin's trust. The root of Yagoda's mistakes lay buried deep. Yezhov paused, and all those present held their breath, sensing that a decisive moment was approaching. Yezhov then declared dramatically that Yagoda had served the Czarist Secret Police, the Okhrana, since 1907. The assembled police dignitaries took this information without batting an eye. In 1907 Yagoda had been ten years old! But that is not all, Yezhov shouted. The Germans at once ferreted out Yagoda's true character and planted him in the Cheka under Dzerzhinsky in the very first days of the revolution. "Throughout the entire life of the Soviet State," cried Yezhov, "Yagoda has served as a spy for the Germans." Yezhov proceeded to tell his terror-stricken audience that Yagoda had his spies in every key position. Yes, even the chiefs of the OGPU divisions, Molchanov, Gorb, Gai, Pauker, Volovitch-all are spies!

Yezhov would prove this, he shouted-prove that Yagoda and his appointees were common thieves and prove it beyond any doubt. "Did not Yagoda appoint Lurye superintendent of the construction division of the OGPU? And who is Lurye, if not the connecting link between Yagoda and the foreign espionage service?" That was his proof.

For many years, he said, these two thieves, Yagoda and Lurye, have been deceiving the country and the party. They built canals, laid out roads and constructed buildings at extravagant cost, but kept the recorded expenditures very low.

"But how, I ask you, comrades, how did these scoundrels manage to do this? How, I ask you?"

Yezhov looked hard into the faces of his petrified audience, and said:

{p. 129} "Very simply, The budget of the Commissariat for Internal Affairs is not subject to control. It was from this budget, the budget of his own institution, that Yagoda took the sums enabling him to construct expensive buildings at extremely 'low' prices.

"And why did Yagoda and Lurye construct buildings? Why did they build roads? They did this in a race for popularity, for notoriety, for decorations! But how can a traitor be satisfied with these things? Why did Yagoda yearn for popularity? He needed it because in reality he was pursuing the policy of Fouch6."

Yezhov's rapid fire of contradictory accusations were stupefying to his audience. Yagoda had served the Okhrana at the age of ten. Yagoda was a thief. Yagoda was a thief who sought notoriety. Now it appeared that common spy, stool pigeon, and thief that he was, he also wished to emulate Napoleon's rivalrous Minister of Police!

"This is a very serious question, comrades," continued Yezhov. "The Party has been compelled throughout all these years to guard carefully against the rise of Foucheism among us. That has not been simple. Yes, comrades, I must say to you, and every one of you must keep it firmly in mind-even Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky weakened in his defense of the revolution."

Yezhov came to his peroration, which was in effect: We need purges, purges and more purges. I, Yezhov, will have no doubts, no vaciffations, no weakness. If it is possible to question the late Felix Dzerzhinsky, why should we respect the reputation of even the oldest, most tried of Chekists?

The older members of the OGPU command, veterans of the Bolshevik Revolution, slated as the next victims, sat pale and impassive. They applauded Yezhov. They applauded as if the matter did not concern them at all. They applauded to demonstrate their devotion. Who knows? A timely confession might yet save them from a bullet through the base of the brain. Perhaps they might once more buy the right to live by betraying their closest friends.

As the meeting continued, Artusov took the floor-the Russified Swiss I have spoken of before-a Bolshevik since 1914. Artusov knew what was at stake. An old Chekist with a flair for

{p. 130} acting, his little gray beard trembled as he rose to speak. "Comrades," he began, "in the most difficult days of the revolution Lenin placed the very best of Bolsheviks, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky at the head of the Cheka. In an even more difficult time our great Stalin has appointed as chief of the Commissariat for Internal Affairs, Nikolai Ivanovitch Yezhov, his best disciple. Comrades! We Bolsheviks have learned to be merciless not only toward our enemies, but toward ourselves. Yes, Yagoda did want to play the role of Fouch6. He did try to set the OGPU against the party. And because of our blindness we unwittingly articipated in this scheme."

Artusov's voice grew firmer, more confident. He continued.

"In 1930, comrades, when the party first perceived this tendency, and to put a stop to it, appointed the old Bolshevik Akulov to the OGPU, what did we do to help Akulov? We met Akulov with violent hostility! -Yagoda did everything he could to make Akulov's work more difficult. And we, comrades, not only supported Yagoda's sabotage, but went further. I must say frankly the entire party organization in the OGPU was devoted to sabotaging Akulov."

Artusov's nervous gaze sought some token of approval in Yezhov'§ angular little face. He felt that the moment had come to take the offensive in his maneuver to deflect suspicion from himself.

"I ask you who was the head of the party organization in the OGPU at that time?" He paused for a moment, and then shouted: "Sloutski!"

Having thrown his comrade to the lions, Artusov descended triumphantly from the platform.

Sloutski, then Chief of the Foreign Division of the OGPU, rose to defend himself He too was an old experienced Bolshevik. He too knew what was at stake. Sloutski began rather poorly, sensing that the cards were stacked against him.

'Artusov has sought to picture me as Yagoda's closest associate. I reply, comrades: Of course, I was the secretary of the party organization in the OGPU. But was it Artusov or I who was a member of the collegium of the OGPU? I ask you, could anyone at that

{p. 131} time have been a member of the collegium, the highest organ of the OGPU, without having the full confidence and approval of Yagoda? Artusov asserts that by my 'good work' in the service of Yagoda as secretary of the party organization, I obtained an assignment abroad, that I received this in recognition of my sabotage of Akulov. I utilized this assignment, according to Artusov, for the purpose of establishing contact between Yagoda's espionage organization and his masters abroad. But I assert that my assignment abroad was given upon Artusov's own determined insistence. For many years Artusov has maintained the friendliest relations with Yagoda."

And now Sloutski struck his main blow.

"I ask you, Artusov, where did you live? Who lived opposite you?-Bulanov. And is he not now among the first batch arrested? And who lived just above you, Artusov?-Ostrovsky, He too is arrested. And who lived just beneath you, Artusov?-Yagoda! And now I ask you, comrades, who, under prevailing conditions, could have lived in the same house with Yagoda without en)oying his absolute confidence?"

Stalin and Yezhov chose to believe both Artusov and Sloutski, and in due course destroyed them both.

Such was the character of the intensified, or great purge, that began in March 1937. The Soviet government became one gigantic madhouse. Discussions like that I have described took place in every department of the OGPU, in every unit of the Bolshevik Party, in every factory, in every army regiment, on every collective farm. Everyone was a traitor, until he proved the contrary by exposing someone else as a traitor. Men of prudence sought obscurity, demotion to a clerical position if possible-anything to avoid importance and get out of the limelight.

Long years of devotion to the party meant nothing. Even protestations of loyalty to Stalin were of little avail. Stalin himself had given the slogan: "A whole generation must be sacrificed."

We had grown reconciled to that-to the idea that the old must go. But now the purge was attacking the new. [...]


LENIN, the founder of the Soviet government, had warned his followers against applying the death penalty to members of the ruling Bolshevik Party. He invoked the fatal example of the French Revolution, which had devoured its own children, the Jacobins. For fifteen years the Soviet power maintained inviolate this exhortation of Lenin. Bolshevist heretics were subject to expulsion from the party, to imprisonment, to exile, to loss of job, or livelihood. But the unwritten law was that no party member could be put to death for political offenses.

In the spring of 1931 at a special meeting of the supreme Political Bureau, Stalin came out in favor of capital punishment for Bolshevik party members. The meeting had been called to consider the case of a new opposition group formed by one of the leaders of the Moscow party machine, Riutin.

By this time the consequences of Stalin's drive to collectivize the peasants had begun to assume the aspects of a national catas-

{p. 158} trophe. Hunger was stalking the most productive areas of the land. There were peasant uprisings. There was disaffection in the army. Economic disaster stared the nation in the face. Stalin's party machine was beginning to crack. More and more, new Bolshevik opposition groups raised their heads and voices, reflecting the unrest. They clamored for a change of policy and of the leadership in the Kremlin.

The Riutin group was arrested by the OGPU and the inner circle in Moscow was buzzing with the case. The secretary of the party unit in the Military Intelligence Department, to which I belonged, asked me to attend a secret meeting at which our chief, General Berzin, was to report on the Riutin affair. The secretary informed me that not all the members of the unit were invited to this meeting, as the matter was exceptionally confidential.

Berzin read to us excerpts from Riutin's clandestine program, in which Stalin was described as the "great agent provocateur, the destroyer of the party," and as "the gravedigger of the revolution and of Russia." The Riutin group undertook to fight for the, overthrow of Stalin as the leader of the party and the government.

This was the occasion for Stalin's attempt to reverse Lenin's policy of exempting Bolsheviks from the death penalty. Stalin wanted to deal summarily with Riutin and his adherents. Only one member of the Politbureau mustered enough courage to oppose Stalin on this crucial question. Everybody on the inside understood that that one man was Sergei Kirov, the secretary of the Leningrad party machine. As boss of the former capital, Kirov held a commanding position. He was supported, of course, by Bukharin and other oppositionists who still had influence. And Stalin yielded this time. Riutin and his associates were jailed and exiled, but not shot.

For the next five years Stalin managed by such means to maintain his power. But during those years discontent and rebellion in the country were spreading like wildfire. Bewildered and enraged by his campaign for "complete collectivization," armed peasants were fighting the OGPU troops. In this struggle whole provinces were laid waste, millions of peasants were deported, hundreds of

{p. 159} thousands were conscripted to forced labor. Only the noise of party propaganda drowned the shots of the firing squads. The misery and hunger of the masses were so great that their resentment against Stalin infected the rank and file of the party. By the end of 1933, Stalin was compelled to institute a "cleansing" of the party. During the next two years, approximately a million Bolshevik oppositionists were expelled. But that did not solve the problem, for these oppositionists were still at large, and they had the sympathy of the masses of the population. Given leaders and a program, they could, at this time, have overthrown Stalin. There were no such leaders except among the Bolshevik Old Guard, the colleagues of Lenin, whom Stalin had been breaking down for years by compelling them to capitulate, "confess their mistakes," and acknowledge him as the "infallible leader." Notwithstanding these capitulations, which had been repeated until nobody believed in them, and notwithstanding their own reluctance, these old Bolsheviks became, almost against their will, the spokesmen and figureheads, even if not the leaders, of this inchoate opposition from outside the party. Stalin could not be certain that these forces, former party members who knew the workings of the machine, might not coalesce in the near future. Capitulations were no good any longer. Stalin realized that other means must be found. He must find a way not only to destroy the authority of the Old Guard, but to stop the activities of all the key men in this menacing opposition.

Just in the nick of time occurred Hitler's blood purge of the night of June 30, 1934. Stalin was profoundly impressed by the manner in which Hitler exterminated his opposition, and studied minutely every secret report from our agents in Germany relating to the events of that night.

On December 1, 1934, Sergei Kirov was assassinated in Leningrad under mysterious circumstances. That very day Stalin promulgated an extraordinary decree which modified the penal law, making all cases of political assassination subject to trial within ten days by military tribunals, in secret, without counsel, to be

{p. 160} followed by immediate execution, and denying to the President of the Soviet Union the power of pardon.

Hitler had shown the way, and the death of Kirov, the man who had stood in the way of Stalin's introducing the death penalty for Bolsheviks, opened the door for Stalin's great purge. The murder of Kirov was a turning point in Stalin's career. It ushered in the era of public and secret trials of the Bolshevist Old Guard, the era of the confessions. There is hardly another instance in the history of the world where the assassination of one high functionary led to such a massacre as followed Kirov's death.

The mystery surrounding that assassination dated from the previous October when a young Communist by the name of Leonid Nikolaiev had been arrested in Leningrad by Kirov's guards on account of his suspicious behavior. They found a revolver and a diary in the prisoner's brief case. When he was brought before the deputy chief of the Leningrad OGPU, Zaporozhets, the prisoner was set free. Zaporozhets made a special trip to Moscow to report this unusual procedure to Yagoda, then head of the OGPU.

Two months later, on December 1, the same Nikolaiev shot and killed Kirov. That night Stalin himself left for Leningrad to take personal charge of the investigation. He examined Nikolaiev and several of the assassin's associates, Communist youths who had been arrested also. Nothing like this had ever happened in the history of the Soviet Union.

That same evening the chief of the OGPU, Yagoda, also left Moscow for Leningrad to take over the investigation in his line of duty There had already been rumors of a coolness between Stalin and Yagoda, but that night marked the beginning of the open break between them. Stalin endeavored in every way to keep Yagoda from questioning the assassin and his associates.

A mysterious accident befell Yagoda while Stalin was still in Leningrad. While being driven in his automobile at night, bound for a suburb where he expected to interrogate some suspects connected with the Kirov affair, a truck crashed in a suspicious manner into Yagoda's car. The chief of the OGPU had the narrowest of

{p. 161} escapes, but came out alive from the wreck. In the OGPU circles in Moscow there was a lot of talk about the "accident."

Very early in the investigation a suspicion arose that Nikolaiev had committed the crime with the direct complicity of the Leningrad OGPU. The investigation, however, made no effort to clarify this question. Stalin did not give orders for a ruthless examination of the Leningrad OGPU, who two months before had released this man when arrested with a revolver. Twelve of the higher OGPU officials, including the chief, Medved, were arrested for negligence and given prison sentences varying from two to ten years, but this was not serious. Medved received a sentence of three years. That was in the spring of 1935. A little over two years later I saw Medved in Moscow enjoying ffill. freedom. Both he and. his aide, Zaporozhets, had been released by Stalin before the expiration of their terms.

Still., there has never been any explanation of the mystery of Nikolaiev. At the last of the great "treason trials," staged in March, 1938, in which Yagoda figured as one of the main "confessors," the matter of Nikolaiev's first arrest and inexplicable release was brought out in open court. But Prosecutor Vyshinsky cut Yagoda short every time the latter tried to discuss it. "It was not like that," Yagoda observed several times when Vyshinsky purported to quote from the secret confession of Yagoda himself No reference was made to Stalin's part in the investigation. No explanation has ever been given why Stalin was satisfied with the strange action of Medved and Za orozhets in releasing Nikolaiev when seized with a revolver and a political diary.

Nikolaiev's diary was obviously a central factor in the Kirov affair. It was referred to again and again in the Soviet press when Nikolaiev and sixteen of his comrades, all members of the Communist Youth, were executed after a secret trial. It was alluded to on numerous other occasions. But no word of it has ever reached the public.

In the inner circle of the OGPU, the atmosphere surrounding the Kirov affair was one of special mystery and gloom. Even the most intimate comrades at the Lubianka, headquarters avoided

{p. 162} discussing the subject. One day I put the matter up directly to Sloutski, chief of the Foreign Division of the OGPU, and asked him whether in his opinion the Leningrad secret police were implicated in the assassination of Kirov. He replied:

"This case is so shady, you understand, that in general it is best not to pry into it. just keep as far away from it as you can."

The Kirov case proved as useful to Stalin as the Reichstag fire had to Hitler. Both marked the onset of tidal waves of terror. It is not so easy to solve the riddle, "Who killed Kirov?" as to answer the question, "Who set the Reichstag on fire?" Besides Stalin, there are probably no more than three or four people alive who could solve the Kirov murder mystery. One of them is Yezhov, the successor of Yagoda and organizer of the great purge, who himself disappeared from the scene early in 1939. Stalin eventually may become the sole guardian of all the facts in the Kirov affair.

One fact is indisputable: the Kirov assassination gave Stalin his wished-for opportunity to introduce the death penalty for Bolsheviks. Instead of investigating the real mystery in the shooting of Kirov, Stalin made Kirov's death a pretext for arresting the most eminent leaders of the Bolshevik Old Guard, beginning with Kamenev and Zinoviev, and for introducing the death penalty for Bolsheviks. He could now begin on the systematic extermination of all who, sharing with him the mantle of Lenin and the traditions of the October revolution, provided a standard around which the discontented and rebellious masses might rally.

I should say that, at this time, not only the immense mass of the peasants but the majority of the army, including its best generals, a majority of the commissars, 90 percent of the directors of factories, 90 percent of the party machine, were in more or less extreme degree opposed to Stalin's dictatorship. It was not a matter of coughing up a little poison. The entire Soviet structure had to be overhauled. How to do it? Discredit, besmirch, brand with treason, and shoot the Bolshevik Old Guard, and make wholesale arrests of their followers. Call them "Trotskyists, Bukharinists, Zinovievists, saboteurs, wreckers, diversionists, German agents,

{p. 163} Japanese agents, British agents." Call them what you will, but arrest as participants in a gigantic treason plot every key man in the opposition to Stalin's one-man rule--described by its defenders as the "party line." That was what had to be done, and Stalin had now an established method for doing it-the method of show trials with their well-rehearsed confessions. He had staged many such trials before, and the world had wondered at them-but never before with Bolshevik leaders as the actors and victims.

The Western world never quite realized that Soviet show trials were no trials at all, and were nothing but weapons of Political warfare. No one in the inner Soviet circle, since the advent of Stalin, has regarded a show trial with its dramatic confessions as anything but a political device, or thought of it as having any relation whatsoever to the administration of justice. Whenever the Bolshevik political machine faced a crisis, it offered the people a batch of scapegoats at a show trial. These trials had no more to do with justice than with mercy.

True enough, there were those in the Soviet government who cautioned Stalin against stap--ing show trials of the Bolshevik Old Guard-not only because of the effect on the country, but because they might alienate the pro-Soviet forces abroad. Stalin insisted that the country would stand for it, and contemptuously dismissed the latter objection with the remark: "Europe will swallow it all!"

But Stalin did not go about his purge the way Hitler had. Hitler faced an organized and challenging opposition, and struck with lightning speed. Stalin had no such opposition; he was facing a profound and general mood of rebellion. His task was to cut down all potential leaders of any possible movement to unseat him. For that reason Stalin took his time. He moved toward his goal inch by inch, making sure at each step that he had armed forces to rely upon.

Stalin did not trust the old OGPU, nor did he trust the old leadership of the Red Army. With the aid of Yezhov, who as head of the party's Bureau of Appointments, dispensed all patronage from

{p. 164} the Central Committee, Stalin built another OGPU machine, especially for himself, a kind of superterrorist legion. When Yezhov was finally ordered by Stalin to take command of the regular police forces of the country, he shot all except one of the veteran chiefs in the OGPU, and installed this new legion.

The exception was Mikhail Frinovsky, long a special pet of Stalin's, and commander-in-chief of the army of the OGPU. This independent army, not directly under the control of the Red Army, together with the secret police itself, were the two armed forces upon which Stalin relied in his action against the Old Guard. He did not act until he had completed, through Yezhov and Frinovsky, the preparadon of these two indispensable weapons.

When these preparations were made, with the Kirov assassination and the new treason law behind him, Stalin entered upon his task of exterminating the Bolshevik Old Guard, and therewith crushing the opposition to his rule in every corner of the land. Whole batches of political prisoners had already been executed as implicated in the murder of Kirov. Tens of thousands of Communist Youth had been deported and impressed into penal labor brigades. This wholesale retribution exacted by Stalin for the death of Kirov did not prevent him from using the same crime over and over again in his indictments of the Old Guard. In all, some two hundred people have been shot for the murder of Kirov. This crime figured most prominently in the three spectacular show trials for "treason" which opened in August 1936. That these trials had nothing to do with the normal processes of justice, appears from the fact that none of the evidence from the secret trial of the Kirov assassins was produced in court. For the same reason the Bolshevik leaders in all the three "treason trials" renounced the right of counsel. And that is also the reason why it did not matter to Stalin that the "confessions" made by the victims were often in blatant contradiction to known facts. For instance, some of those who confessed to the plotting of Kirov's death bad been in solitag confinementfor several jears before bis assassination.

{p. 165} How were the confessions obtained? Nothing has so tantalized the Western mind as this question. A bewildered world watched the builders of the Soviet government flagellate themselves for crimes which they never could have committed, and which have been proved to be fantastic hes. Ever since, the riddle of the confessions has puzzled the Western world. But the confessions never presented a riddle to those of us who had been on the inside of the Stalin machine.

Although several factors contributed to bringing the men to the point of making these confessions, they made them at the last in the sincere conviction that this was their sole remaining service to the party and the revolution. They sacrificed honor as wen as life to defend the hated regime of Stalin, because it contained the last faint gleam of hope for that better world to which they had consecrated themselves in early youth. Stalin still used the magic words, Sodalist, proletarian, revolutionag, and by some hook or crook socialism might still emerge out of his bloody and monstrous tyranny.

If it seems surprising that idealistic men who hated a leader and opposed his policies could be brought to such a condition, it is because you do not realize what can be done to a man once he falls into the skilled hands of the "examiners" of the OGPU.

In May, 1937, at the crest of the great purge, I had occasion to talk with one of these examining prosecutors, the young Kedrov, then engaged in the extortion of confessions. The conversation was on Nazi police methods, and it soon turned to the fate of the Nobel Prize winner for peace, the renowned German pacifist, Carl von Ossietzky, then a captive of Hitler's, who died in 1938. Kedrov spoke up in a manner which brooked no contradiction:

"Ossietzky may have been a good man before his arrest, but this Gestapo has him in its vise, and he is now one of their agents."

I attempted to argue with Kedrov, and tried to explain to him the nature and qualities of the man under discussion. Kedrov brushed aside my arguments:

"You don't know what can be made of a human being when you have him completely in your hands. We've had dealings here

{p. 166} with all kinds, even with the most dauntless of men, and nevertheless we broke them down and made what we wanted of them!"

The real wonder is that, despite their broken condition and the monstrous forms of pressure exerted by the OGPU on Stalin's political opponents, so few did confess. For every one of the fiftyfour prisoners who figured in the three "treason trials," at least one bundred were shot without being broken down.

Altogether there were six batches of major Bolshevik leaders executed by Stalin; only three of these batches could be hammered into self-accusing exhibitors at show trials. The three other groups wete "tried in secret'~-according to the official announcements. But these announcements gave no word of the indictments or of the records of the alleged trials.

The personal factors which reduced these Old Bolsheviks to such a condition of bewilderment and despair that they could be persuaded it was their duty to make false confessions are four in number. And all these four factors probably had their effect on each one of the victims, although in varying proportions.

First in importance was the operation of the OGPU Mill Of physical and mental torture, which in their already demoralized condition they were not able to endure. This Third Degree, improved by Stalin on the model of the latest American methods of mass production, had actually become known among us as the "conveyor system" of examining prisoners. This system put the victim through a chain of questioners ranging from coarse novices to skilled craftsmen in the art of securing confessions.

A second element which entered into the production of the confessions was drawn from Stalin's secret cabinet. Here were gathered reports from his private espionage service covering the public and personal, the political and domestic doings of all the leading figures over a period of many years. This cabinet became an arsenal of compromising and blackmailing evidence, true and false, against all possible opponents of Stalin's rule.

{p. 167} A third element in the preparation of the show trials was of the conventional frame-up variety. Agentsprovocateurs, equipped with ready-made confessions of alleged conspiracies, were introduced into the prisons for the sordid role of implicating their more conspicuous fellow-actors. These played the parts of incriminating "witnesses" and "accomplices" against the chief men marked by Stalin, making them realize that any attempt to defend themselves would be hopeless.

The fourth and by no means least important factor in producing the confessions came from deals negotiated between Stalin and certain of his pivotal prisoners. It may seem surprising to the Western mind that there should be barters in human lives between a lord high executioner and his trapped victims. We of the inner Bolshevik circle always took such negotiations as a matter of course. Certain of the family, the friends, even the less conspicuous political followers, of the victims would be spared, if they would through their "confessions" help to implicate the key men, and make a general clean-up possible.

Before describing what we called the "conveyor system" for securing confessions, I want to say something about the second factor mentioned above-Stalin's method of terrorizing his political opponents and reducing them to despair through his network of super-espionage. This network had even infiltrated the headquarters of the OWu and the General Staff of the Red Army. The Stalin spies spied upon everybody. Thus, more than five years before the arrests and executions of the top-ranking generals of the Red Army, and long before the rise of Hitler, one of Stalin's "boys" suddenly appeared at the headquarters of the War Department to take charge of the Intelligence Service. His mission was to spy first of all on War Commissar Voroshilov. For several months he opened daily the mail of Voroshilov, a member of the supreme Politbureau, and had a selection of it photostatted for Stalin's private files.

The agents of Stalin's secret cabinet spied upon the former opposition leaders, whether these were in jail or still in high office. They were gathering "evidence" for all eventualities. The entire

{p. 168} Bolshevik Old Guard was constantly watched by a veritable army of informers and stool pigeons. An indiscreet remark was sufficient to make a case of heresy against the speaker. A spell of silence at the wrong occasion when, for instance, everybody was offering praise to Stalin, was enough to justify suspicions of disloyalty.

The crushing effect of this hounding was brought home to me in the case of Alexei Rykov, one of the leading figures in the third show trial. I saw him under circumstances which left no doubt as to his doom. In November, 1932, I was at the Caucasian watering resort of Kislovodsk, stopping at the sanatorium "Desiatilede Oktiabria," reserved for high party and government officials. Rykov was in Kislovodsk with his wife, living apart in a bungalow.

Lenin's successor as president of the Council of Commissars, Rykov was one of the founders of the Bolshevik Party and one of the fathers of the Soviet Revolution. He was the first president, under Lenin and Trotsky, of the Supreme Economic Council of the Soviet Union. As an opponent of Stalin's collectivization drive, he had been reduced in rank. When I met him, however, he was still a member of the Cabinet, holding the office of Commissar of Posts and Communications. What is more important, he was still officially listed as a member of our highest legislative body, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party.

I often saw Rykov while taking walks. When he was not with his wife, he was alone. None of the party and government officials would be seen in his company. Often there would be a waiting line in front of the baths in our sanatorium. It was customary for the younger men to turn over their places to the senior leaders. This was never done for Rykov. Yet nominally he held the highest rank of any of the guests at Kislovodsk at that time. No one spoke to him while he waited for his bath. Everybody tried to keep as far away from him as possible. In the inner party circles, Rykov was already a political corpse.

{p. 169} Came the Soviet anniversary date of November 7. A festival was arranged for that evening at the hall of the sanatorium. There were speeches hailing Stalin as the "leader of nations," the "genius of geniuses of the workers of the world." There was plenty of drinking. The atmosphere became quite gay by midnight. Suddenly one of the comrades at my table exclaimed sneeringly:

"Look, there's Rykov!"

Carelessly dressed as usual, Rykov entered shyly, a forced smile on his handsome face. His clothes were baggy, his necktie awry, his hair disheveled; his large dark eyes looked at the gay crowd as if through a mist. It was as though a ghost had suddenly appeared, a ghost from the heroic period of the revolution which was being commemorated in this hall. But it was a living ghost.

The sneer of my neighbor was soon taken up by others. The festive bureaucrats loudly exchanged mocking remarks at the expense of Rykov. No one invited him to sit down at a table. The master of ceremonies, dashing from one table to another, paid no attention to Rykov. After a while a few of the 100 percent Stalinists came up to him and began to rib him. One of these was the "boss" of the party machine in the Donetz coal basin. He bragged of the coal production figures in his region, and threw it up to Rykov:

"See, we are doing things. We are building socialism. How long will you and your kind continue to stir up trouble in the party?"

Rykov failed to find the proper answer to this stereotyped line from the Kremlin. He said something noncommittal, and tried to lead the conversation on to another subject. It was clear that he was seeking to find a point of contact, to strike some note of understanding between him and the gathering. I joined the little group around him. There were many in the hall who would have liked to have a good talk with Rykov, but dared not. That would have marked one as an Oppositionist, an enemy of Stalin. The conversation did not catch on. Rykov, who had been leaning against the wall, was offered neither a chair nor a drink. He departed as he came, alone. He continued to hover in the shadows for several

{p. 170} years until Stalin needed his blood. Then he came into the limelight with an obviously impossible "confession."

I can speak of the factor of physical torture from a first-hand report. I knew personally one prisoner who was kept standing during his examinations, with brief interruptions for a total of fifty-five hours under glaring and blinding lights. This was perhaps the commonest form of the third degree.

I had occasion to discuss with a high official of the OGPU the rumors current abroad that peculiar forms of torture were being secretly used to extort confessions. He remarked to me, after dismissing the reports as fantastic:

"Wouldn't you confess if you were kept standing on one foot for ten hours at a stretch?"

This method was practiced upon Bela Kun, the head of the short-lived Soviet republic of Hungary, who had sought refuge in Russia and become one of the leaders of the Comintern. This internationally known revolutionary figure was arrested by Stalin in May, 1937, as a "Gestapo spy."

Bela Kun was lodged in the Butirky Prison in Moscow, as there was no available space at the Lubianka headquarters of the OGPU. He shared a cell with 140 other prisoners, among them such outstanding leaders as Muklevitch, the commander of the naval forces of the Soviet Union. Bela Kun , when taken out for examination, would be kept away from the cell for longer periods than any other prisoner. He was given the "standing" test for periods ranging from ten to twenty hours, until he collapsed. When brought back to the cell, his legs would be so swollen that he could not stand. After every examination, his condition grew worse. His face upon his return to the cell would be so black that the other inmates had difficulty in recognizing him. The keepers treated Bela Kun with special brutality.

The cell in itself was a torture chamber. It had two tiers of boards, one above the other, on which the prisoners lay or slept. The space was so overcrowded that the men could not stretch out; they all had to sleep on their sides with their legs doubled up, one body close to the other. Otherwise all the prisoners could not

{p. 171} be accommodated. The starosta, or prisoners' monitor of the cell, had to give orders to the entire group on a tier to change positions whenever one of the men had to turn over or get up. There was no room in the cell for walking.

Bela Kun did not confess. Neither did Muklevitch. Nor did Knorin, another of the inmates, formerly a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party, although the latter was made to stand for twenty hours at a time.

This form of torture was part of the first stage of the "conveyor system" of examination. In charge of this stage were young, rough and ignorant examim*g prosecutors. These were the Yezhov boys. They would begin their examination with a blunt command to the prisoner, after he was told to stand under the lights:

"Confess that you are a spy!"

"But it's not true."

"We know it's true. We have the evidence. Confess, you soand-so!" There would follow a shower of curses, obscene vituperation, and threats. When the prisoner held his ground, the examiner would lie down on his couch, and leave the prisoner standing for hours. When the examiner had to leave the office, the prisoner was watched by a guard who saw to it that he should not sit down or lean against a wall or table or chair.

Whenever the "standing" punishment failed to break down the marked victim, the case would be transferred to a senior and more adroit examiner who employed refined methods. Here there was no toying with loaded guns, no insults, no lights, no physical pressure. Quite the opposite: everything would be done to make the prisoner feel that the first stage had all been a mistake, an unfortunate experience. An atmosphere of ease and informality would be introduced. The examination of Mrachkovsky was characteristic of this stage in the "conveyor system." The record of this examination is perhaps the only document of its kind available outside of the Soviet Union.

Mrachkovsky had been a member of the Bolshevik Party since 1905. He was the son of a revolutionist exiled to Siberia by the Czar. He himself had been arrested many times by the Czarist

{p. 172} police. During the civil war, after the Soviet Revolution, Mrachkovsky organized in the Urals a volunteer corps which performed wonderful feats in defeating the counter-revolutionary armies of Admiral Kolchak. He acquired the reputation of an almost legendary hero in the period of Lenin and Trotsky.

By June 1935, all the preparations for the first show trial had been completed. The confessions of fourteen prisoners had been secured. The leading characters, Zinoviev and Kamenev, had been cast for their roles and had rehearsed their lines. But there were two men in this batch of marked victims who had failed to come across with their confessions. One of these was Mrachkovsky, The other was his colleague, Ivan N. Smirnov, a founder of the Bolshevik Party, leader of the Fifth Army during the civil war.

Stalin did not want to proceed to the trial without these two men. They had been grilled for months, they had been subjected to all the physical third degree practices of the OGPU, but still refused to sign confessions. The chief of the OGPU suddenly called upon my comrade, Sloutski, to take over the interrogation of Mrachkovsky, and to "break down" this man-for whom Sloutski had, as it chanced, a profound respect. Both of us wept when Sloutski told me of his experience as an inquisitor.

"I began the examination cleanly shaven," he said. "When I had finished it, I had grown a beard. The examination lasted ninety hours. Every couple of hours there would be a telephone call from Stalin's office. His secretary's voice would inquire pitilessly: 'Well, have you broken him down?"'

"You don't mean to say that you remained in your office without leaving it during all that time?" I asked.

"No, after the first ten hours I went out for a short spell, but my secretary substituted for me. During the ninety hours of our examination Mrachkovsky was not left alone for a single minute. He was accompanied by a guard even when he went to the lavatory

"When he was first led into my office, I saw that he limped heavily from the effects of a leg wound he had received in the civil

{p. 173} war. I offered him a chair. He sat down. I opened the examination with the words: 'You see, Comrade Mrachkovsky, I have received orders to question you."'

Mrachkovsky replied: "I have nothing to say. In general I do not want to enter into any conversations with you. Your kind are much worse than any gendarmes of the Czar. Suppose you tell, me what right you have to question me. Where were you in the revolution? Somehow I do not recall. ever hearing of you in the days of the revolutionary war."

Mrachkovsky caught sight of two Orders of the Red Banner which, Sloutski was wearing, and continued:

"I never saw your type at the front. As for those decorations, you must have stolen them!"

Sloutski kept silent. He gave his prisoner an opportunity to pour out his bitterness. Mrachkovsky went on:

"You have addressed me as Comrade. Only yesterday I was examined by another one of your stripe. He used different methods. He called me a reptile and a counter-revolutionist. He tried rough stuff on me. Yet I was born in a Czarist prison. My father died in exile in Siberia. My mother there, too. I joined the revolutionary movement and the Bolshevik Party when I was almost a child.."

At this point Mrachkovsky rose, and with one swift motion removed his shirt and exposed the scars of the wounds he had received in battles for the Soviet regime.

"Here are my decorations!" he exclaimed.

Sloutski continued his silence. He had tea brought in, and offered the prisoner a glass and some cigarettes. Mrachkovsky seized the glass and the ashtray which was put before him, threw them on the floor, and shouted:

"So you want to bribe me? You can tell Stalin that I loathe him. He is a traitor. They took me to Molotov [the Soviet Premier] who also wanted to bribe me. I spat in his face."

Sloutski finally spoke up:

"No, Comrade Mrachkovsky, I did not steal the Orders of the Red Banner. I received them in the Red Army, on the Tashkent

{p. 174} front, where I fought under your command. I never considered you a reptile and do not regard you as one even now. But you have opposed and fought against the party? Of course you have. Well, the party has now commanded me to question you. And as for those wounds, look at this." And Sloutski bared part of his body, exhibiting his own war scars.

"These, too, came from the civil war," he added. Mrachkovsky listened., pondered, and then said:

"I don't believe you. Prove it to me."

Sloutski ordered that his official biographical sketch be brought from the files of the OGPU. He gave it to Mrachkovsky to read. Then he said:

"I was connected with the revolutionary tribunal after the civil war. Later the party switched me to the OGPU administration. I am now only doing my assignment, carrying out orders. If the party orders me to die, I shall go to my death." (Sloutski did exactly that when, eighteen months later, it was announced that he had committed suicide.)

"No, you have degenerated into a police hound, into a regular Okhrana agent," broke in Mrachkovsky, Then he stopped, hesitated, and continued: "And yet, apparently, all of the soul has not

yet gone out of you."

' For the first time Sloutski felt that some spark of understanding had been generated between him and Mrachkovsky. He began to talk about the internal and international situations of the Soviet government, of the perils from within and without, of the enemies within the party undermining the Soviet power, of the need to save the party at all costs as the only savior of the revolution.

"I told him," Sloutski reported to me, "that I was personally convinced that he, Mrachkovsky, was not a counter-revolutionist. I took from my desk the confessions of his imprisoned comrades, and showed them to him as evidence of how low they had fallen in their opposition to the Soviet system.

"For three full days and nights we talked and argued. During all this time Mrachkovsky did not sleep a wink. Altogether I

{p. 175} snatched about three to four hours of sleep during this whole period of my wrestling with him."

Mrachkovsky told Sloutski that he had been taken out of prison twice to see Stalin. The first time he was brought to the Kremlin he ran into Premier Molotov in Stalin's reception room. Molotov offered Mrachkovsky this piece of advice:

"You are going to see him. Be frank with him, my dear Sergei. Hide nothing. Otherwise you will end before the firing squad."

Stalin kept Mrachkovsky the greater part of the night, urging his prisoner to disavow all opposition views. Stalin argued that the country was fall of disrupting elements which threatened the life of the Bolshevist dictatorship. It was necessary for all the party leaders to show the country that there was only one course open, the course of Stalin. Mrachkovsky did not yield, and was taken back to his cell.

The second time Mrachkovsky was taken to the Kremlin, Stalin held out inducements to him if he would toe the line.

"If you cooperate to the limit," Stalin promised, "I will send you to the Urals to take charge of our industry there. You will become a director. You will be doing big things, yet."

Mrachkovsky again refused to do Stalin's bidding. It was then that Sloutski was given the task of breaking him down in preparation for a show trial.

There followed days and nights of argument which brought Mrachkovsky to the realization that nobody else but Stalin could guide the Bolshevik Party. Mrachkovsky was a firm believer in the one-party system of government, and he had to admit that there was no Bolshevik group strong enough to reform the party machine from within, or to overthrow Stalin's leadership. True, there was deep discontent in the country, but to deal with it outside of the Bolshevist ranks would mean the end of the proletarian dictatorship to which Mrachkovsky was loyal.

Both the prosecuting examiner and his prisoner agreed that all Bolsheviks must submit their will and their ideas to the will and ideas of the party. They agreed that one had to remain within the party even unto death, or dishonor, or death with dishonor, if it

{p. 176} became necessary for the sake of consolidating the Soviet power. It was for the party to show the confessors consideration for their acts of self-sacrifice, if it chose.

"I brought him to the point where he began to weep," Sloutski reported to me. "I wept with him when we arrived at the conclusion that all. was lost, that there was nothing left in the way of hope or faith, that the only thing to do was to make a desperate effort to forestall. a futile struggle on the part of the discontented masses. For this the government must have public 'confessions' by the opposition leaders."

Mrachkovsky asked that he be allowed to have an audience with Ivan Smirnov, his intimate colleague. Sloutski had Smirnov brought from his ceff, and the meeting of the two men took place in his office. Let Sloutski describe it:

"It was a painfully disturbing scene. The two heroes of the revolution fell on each other's necks. They cried. Mrachkovsky said to Smirnov: 'Ivan Nikitich, let us give them what they want. It has to be done.' Smirnov disagreed, and answered: 'I have nothing to confess to. I never fought against the Soviet power. I never fought against the party. I was never a terrorist. And I never tried to murder anyone."'

Mrachkovsky attempted to persuade Smirnov, but the latter would not yield. All the while the two men kept embracing each other and weeping. Finally Smirnov was led away.

"Mrachkovsky once more became recalcitrant and irritable," said Sloutski. "He began to curse Stalin again as a traitor. But by the end of the fourth day, he signed the whole confession made by him at the public trial.

"I went home. For a whole week I was unfit for any work. I was unfit to live."

It remains to be added here that after Mrachkovsky had turned in his confession to the OGPU, it broke the resistance of Ivan Smirnov, who followed in the footsteps of his comrade. Yet Smirnov in the first public trial did make several attempts to repudiate his confession. He was cut short each time by the prosecutor.

{p. 177} When these methods failed to break down a prisoner-or "split" him, to use the term commonly employed in the OGPU

resort would frequently be made to a personal interview with Stalin, in which some bargain would be struck. I know that Kamenev and Zinoviev, Lenin's closest collaborators, had such audiences with Stalin some months before they were put on trial. Zinoviev bowed to Stalin's demand. As a member of his family later put it, two reasons guided Zinoviev in agreeing to the confession: "First, there was no other way out politically; second, he hoped to save his family from persecution." Kamenev, too, feared reprisals on his wife and three children, as his plea in court revealed. It is an established practice of Stalin's to punish the family of a man accused of a political crime. Indeed, they are held guilty according to the present Soviet criminal code.

Karl Radek, one of the leading figures in the second show trial, refused to answer the young examiner, Kedrov, assigned to put him through the "conveyor system." When Kedrov failed by his insults to get anywhere with his prisoner, a brilliant publicist, they took him to Stalin. When he returned from the Kremlin, Radek was in an altogether different mood. He and Stalin had reached an understanding. Radek knew what the "big boss" wanted. It was the prisoner who now took over the job of drafting his own confession.

'Tou can go to sleep, Kedrov. I'll do the rest."

And from then on Radek conducted the'investigation against himself

A light is shed on the "confessions" made by three of Stalin's most eminent victims by the parts they played at a meeting in the Kremlin just one year before. The occasion was a plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, numbering seventy members. The purge was then reaching its peak. The country was demoralized. The government was in a state of paralysis. No one knew what the "big boss" was thinking. Not even Stalin's own lieutenants were sure that their heads would still. be on their shoulders tomorrow.

{p. 178} The seventy high functionaries, haunted by fear and suspicion, assembled in the great hall of the Kremlin. They were ready, at Stalin's order, to fall upon one another to show their loyalty to the master. The three characters in this historic drama were Yagoda, Bukharin, and Rykov. The deposed chief of the OGPU, Yagoda, hailed so long as the "avenging sword of the revolution" was still a free man then. He was Rykov's successor as Commissar of Posts and Communications. He knew, however-everybody knew-that he was a doomed man.

Stalin spoke. He laid down the policy to be followed. The purge had not gone far enough. Heresy and treason had not been sufficiently rooted out. More trials were needed. More victims had to be found. There would be advancement for those who caught the hint. Fear and cunning was written on the faces of the seventy men. Who amongst them will win in the scramble for the master's favor, the scramble for life?

Yagoda listened silently. Many a hateful eye turned upon him, inspired by Stalin's squinting and malicious look. Soon a stream of questions and accusations was poured upon Yagoda from all over the hall. Why did he coddle the Trotskyite reptiles? Why did he harbor traitors on his staff? One tongue vied with another in lashing out at Yagoda's political corpse. All wanted to be heard by Stalin, so as to convince him of their devotion and perhaps escape his fearful vengeance.

Suddenly, with a sepulchral calm, Yagoda turned his head in the direction of the pack attacking him. He spoke but a few words, quietly, as if saying them to himself:

"What a pity that I didn't arrest all of you before, when I had the power."

That was all Yagoda said. A hurricane of mocking words swept the hall. The seventy howling party chieftains knew that Yagoda might have had their confessions, had he arrested them six months earlier. Yagoda resumed his mask.

Two prisoners were led into the hall by uniformed OGPU agents. One of them was Nikolai Bukharin, former president of the Communist International. The other was Alexei Rykov, Lenin's succes

{p. 179} sor as Soviet Premier. Shabbily dressed, wan and exhausted, they took their seats among the well-clothed and well-fed Stalinist henchmen, who edged away from them in confusion and astonishment.

Stalin had staged this appearance before the Central Committee to prove his "democratic" treatment of these two great figures in Soviet history, these founders of the Bolshevik Party. But the meeting was now in Stalin's complete control. Bukharin rose to speak. In a broken voice he assured his comrades that he had never taken part in a conspiracy against Stalin or the Soviet government. Resolutely, he repudiated the very suspicion of such acts on his part. He wept. He pleaded. It was clear that he and Rykov had hoped to arouse a spark of the old comradeship in the Central Committee of the party which they had helped to create. But the comrades remained prudently silent. They preferred to wait for Stalin's word. And Stalin spoke, interrupting Bukharin:

"That is not the way revolutionists defend themselves," he exclaimed. "If you are innocent you can prove it in a prison cell!"

The assembly burst into wild shouts: "Shoot the traitor! Back to jail with him!"

Stalin was given an ovation, as Bukharin and Rykov, broken and weeping, were taken back to the prison by the OGPU agents in trim military uniforms.

The two prisoners had misunderstood the occasion. In Stalin's view, this was their opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to the party by confessing their past errors and glorifying his leadership. Instead of doing this, they had appealed over his head to the assembly, attempting to justify themselves before their former comrades who were now nothing but puppets of Stalin.

The behavior of the Central Committee proved to the prisoners how absolute was the power of Stalin. It strengthened their conviction that against Stalin there was no "way out." Bukharin and Rykov had failed to deal with the dictator on his own terms, and there were no others. Like Louis XIV, who said, "The stateit is I," Stalin had assumed the position, "The party-it is I." They had consecrated their lives to the service of the party, and they

{p. 180} saw that there was no way left to serve it-and so keep up the illusion that they were serving the revolution--except to do the bidding of Stalin.

That is the basic explanation of the confessions. But all the other factors I have mentioned played their parts in bringing fiftyfour of these Old Bolsheviks to the point of so humiliating a service. There is one other factor which I have not mentioned, because I think it played only a small role. With most of them it played no role at all. That is the faint hope that not only their families and their political followers, but even they themselves might be spared if they "confessed." On the eve of the first trial, the Kamenev-Zinoviev case, Stalin had a government decree enacted which restored the power of pardon and commutation to the President of the Soviet Union. This decree was no doubt designed to suggest to the sixteen men who were about to confess in public that clemency awaited them. Yet during the trial one prisoner after another made the statement: "It is not for me to beg for mercy," "I do not ask for a mitigation of my punishment," "I do not consider it possible to beg for clemency."

In the early hours of the morning of August 24 the sixteen men were sentenced to be shot. They immediately appealed for clemency. The evening of that same day the Soviet government announced that it had "rejected the appeal for mercy of those condemned" and that "the verdict has been executed." Had they made a bargain with Stalin which he did not keep? More probably they cherished a faint and wavering hope and that was all.

In the second show trial, that of the Radek-PiatakovSokolnikov group, Stalin acted as though he were trying to make sure of more confessions for future trials. He had four of the seventeen men in this group spared by commutation of sentence. Two of these were leading figures, Radek and Sokolnikov; the other two were obscure agents of the OGPU, planted as "witnesses" for the purpose of framing the others.

A year later in June, 1937, eight ranking generals of the Red Army, led by Tukhachevsky, were executed without any confes-

{p. 181} sions, after an alleged secret trial. On July 9, 1937, in Tiflis, the capital of Stalin's native land, seven outstanding Caucasian Bolsheviks, led by Stalin's former fellow revolutionist, Budu Mdivani, were executed without confessions, after another alleged secret trial. On December 19,1937, still another batch of eight outstanding Bolshevik leaders, headed by Yenukidze, who bad been one of Stalin's mentors in his youth, and who had held high office in the Soviet government for eighteen years, were executed without confessions, after a third alleged secret trial.

The last "treason trial" to date, the Bukharin-Rykov-Yagoda case, was staged in March, 1939, and comprised twenty-one men. It took a year to wrest confessions from them. Three of this batch received commutation of sentence. The charges in this show trial ranged from plotting the assassination of Kirov and the poisoning of Maxim Gorky to being Hitler spies. The self-vilification of the confessors reached depths hitherto unplumbed. The world was dumbfounded by the rivalry between the confessors and the prosecution in asserting the guilt of the accused.

In each trial there was competition among the defendants in self-vilification, in confessing to more sins and crimes. Each successive trial increased this seemingly insane procedure.

A great many people imagine that the victims were trying, by the fantastic extremes to which they went, to get themselves picked for that small group on which Stalin would confer clemency. It may be that, as they outdid the incomparable Prosecutor Vyshinsky in the make-believe, some of them had that faint hope. But I doubt it, because they all knew Stalin. They all knew Stalin's scornful words to his old colleague Bukharin in that fateful meeting at the Kremlin: "That is not the way revolutionists defend themselves."

As an old member of the Bolshevik Party, I believe that, weakened and tortured into confessions though they had been, they nevertheless hoped by the very fantastic vehemence of their confessions to make it obvious that these were, like everything else in the show trials, political acts. They wanted to make known to the world and to history that, up to the hour of their death, they were

{p. 182} still engaged in a political struggle, that they were "confessing" to crimes against the party in a last desperate effort to be of service to it.

Persons to whom I have confided this belief say that it is incomprehensible to the Western mind. Nevertheless, I am firmly certain of its truth. I knew the quality of the Old Bolsheviks, their devotion to the cause, their recognition of the blind alley at which Bolshevism had arrived, their knowledge of Stalin.

{p. 183} VII


EARLY in the month of December, 1936, while I was at my headquarters in The Hague, I accidentally came into possession of the key to a master conspiracy, which resulted six months later in the execution by Stalin of Marshal Tukhachevsky and nearly the entire high command of the Red Army.

There are conspiracies plotted by men lusting for power or vengeance, and there are conspiracies Plotted by the course of events. Sometimes the paths of two such conspiracies cross and interlace. Then the historian finds himself confronted by tangled skeins which challenge his utmost powers. To this category belongs the mystery of the annihilation by Stalin of the flower of the Red Army as spies in the service of the German government. It is a mystery which continues to baffle the mind of the world. Everywhere people still ask these questions:

{p. 184} Why did Stalin behead the Red Army at a time when Hitler was generally believed to be feverishly preparing for war? Was there any connection between the Red Army purge and Stalin's efforts to come to an agreement with Germany? Was there really a conspiracy on the part of the Red Army command against Stalin?

It was on June 11, 1937, that the Kremlin announced the sudden discovery of a conspiracy by the great General Tukhachevsky and eight of the high commanders of the Red Army acting in concert with an unfriendly foreign power.

The next day the world was staggered by the execution of Marshal Tukhachevsky, Chief of Staff of the Red Army; General Yakir, Commander of the Ukrainian Military District; General Uborevich, Commander of the White Russian Military District; General Kork, Head of the Soviet Military Academy; and Generals Putna, Eidemann, Feldmann, and Primakov, after an alleged secret court martial. Marshal Gamarnik, Assistant Commissar of War and Chief of the Political Department of the Red Army, was reported to have committed suicide. Of these nine commanding generals suddenly exposed as spies -of Hitler and the Gestapo, three-Gamarnik, Yakir, and Feldmann - were Jews.

Long before Stalin "suddenly" discovered a Red Army plot against his power, I was in possession, without knowing it, of the principal link in a singular chain of events proving Stalin himself the conspirator, proving that he plotted for at least seven months this extermination of the high command of the Red Army.

When all the pieces of the puzzle of the great Red Army purge are fitted together, the finished pattern reveals the following facts:

1. Stalin's scheme to frame Tukhachevsky and the other generals had been set in motion at least six months before the alleged discovery of a Red Army conspiracy.

2. Stalin executed Marshal Tukhachevsky and his associates as German spies at the very moment when he himself, after months of secret negotiation, was on the verge of closing a deal with Hitler.

{p. 185} 3. Stalin used fake "evidence" imported from Germany and manufactured by the Nazi Gestapo in his frame-up of the most loyal generals of the Red Army.

4. This "evidence" was fed to the OGPU through Czarist military organizations abroad.

5. Stalin had the chief of the Federation of Czarist Army Veterans, Gen. Eugene Miller, kidnapped in Paris on September 22, 1937. This bold crime was perpetrated in order to destroy the one uncontrolled source of information, aside from the Ge- stapo itself, as the source of Stalin's "evidence" against the Red Army chiefs, and the channels through which it traveled.

It was in the first week of December 1936, that a courier arrived at The Hague, bringing me an urgent message from Sloutski, the chief of the Foreign Division of the OGPU, who had just reached Paris from Barcelona. I was then in charge of the Soviet Military Intelligence in Western Europe.

As usual, the message brought by our courier was conveyed on a small roll of film taken by a special camera. When the film was developed, it revealed substantially this message:

"Select from your personnel two men who can impersonate German officers. They must be impressive enough in appearance to pass for military attach6s, must be accustomed to talk like army men, and must be exceptionally trustworthy and bold. Assign them to me without delay. This is of extraordinary importance. Expect to see you in Paris in a few days."

This call by the OGPU upon my department annoyed me. My answer to Sloutski, dispatched through the courier by return plane, did not conceal my resentment at having to disrupt my staff within Germany by detaching pivotal men from their posts. I did, however, send to Germany for two suitable agents.

Two days later I left for Paris, where I put up at the Palace Hotel. Through my local secretary, I arranged to meet Sloutski at the Caf6 Viel on the Boulevard des Capucies. We proceeded to a Persian restaurant near the Place de l'Opera. On the way, I asked him for the latest news about our general policy.

{p. 186} "We have set our course toward an early understanding with Hitler," said Sloutski, "and have started negotiations. They are progressing favorably."

"In spite of everything in Spain!" I exclaimed. For althouph the persistence of Stalin's idea of an accord with Germany did not surpnse me, I thought that Spanish events had pushed it far into the background.

When we sat down at the table, Sloutski opened the conversa- tion by reporting to me an appreciation of my services that had been expressed by Yezhov. As Commissar for Internal Affairs- official title for the head of the OGPU-Yezhov spoke with the voice of Stalin himself, and I was perso I nally aratified.

"What you have done is fine," Sloutski went on. "But from now on you'll have to throttle down your operations in Germany.'"

"You don't mean - that things have already gone that far!" I exclaimed.

"I certainly do," he said.

"You mean that you have instructions for me to stop all work in Germany?"

I said this regretfully, for I foresaw another reversal in policy later on., which would find my organization disrupted just when its help was most needed. Such things had happened before.

Sloutski evidently caught the train of my thought, for he said emphatically: "This time it's the real thing. It will be only a matter of three or four months before we come to terms with Hitler. You don't have to stop everything, but don't push your work. There"s nothing for us in this rotting corpse of France here, with her Front Populaire! Put some of your men in Germany on ice. Save them. Transfer them to other countries. Put them in training. But get ready for a complete change of policy." And to dispel any possible doubts, he added significantly: "This is now the course of the Politbureau."

The Politbureau had by this time become a synonym for Stalin. Everyone in Russia knows that a decision of the Politbureau is as fi.nal as a general's order on the battlefield.

{p. 187} "Matters have gone so far," Sloutski continued, "that I can give you Stalin's own view in his own words. He recently said to Yezhov: 'In the immediate future we shall consummate an agreement with Germany."'

There was no more to be said on that subject. After a moment of silence, I took up Sloutski's unusual request for two of my men from Germany.

"What the devil are you up to?" I asked. "Don't you people realize what you're doing?.

"Of course we do," he said. "But this is no routine affair. It involves a case of such colossal importance that I have had to drop all my other work and come here to put it through."

My agents, then, were not to be assigned to Spain, as I had assumed. Evidently they were needed for some desperate work in France. Still I continued to protest against turning them over to the OGPU, and Sloutski finally said:

"If you must have it, the order is from Yezhov himself. We've got to have two men who can play the part of thoroughbred German officers. And we've got to have them at once. This job is so important that nothing else matters!"

I told him that I had already sent for two of my best agents in Germany, and that they would be in Paris any day. We conversed on other matters until the early hours of the morning. Within a few days I returned to my headquarters in Holland, planning to adjust my organization in Germany to the new policy.

In January, 1937, the world rocked with astonishment at a new series of "confessions" in Moscow, where the second great treason trial was in progress. A galaxy of Soviet leaders on the prisoner's bench, designated by the prosecution as "the Trotskyite Center," confessed, one by one, to a huge conspiracy involving espionage in behalf of Germany.

At this time I was engaged in demobilizing large sections of our intelligence service in Germany. The Moscow newspapers were bringing day-by-day reports of the trial proceedings. I was sitting at home, with my wife and child, reading the testimony given on the evening of January 24, when my eye was startled by a line

{p. 188} quoted in court from Radek's secret confession. Radek had stated that General Putna, lately Soviet military attach6 in Great Britain and a prisoner of the OGPU for several months, had come to him "with a request from Tukhachevsky." After quoting this line from his secret confession, Prosecutor Vyshinsky questioned Radek:

Vyshinsky: I want to know in what connection you mention Tukhachevsky's name.

Radek: Tukhachevsky had been commissioned by the government with some task for which he could not find the necessary material ... Tukhachevsky had no idea either of Putna's activities or of my criminal activities ...

Vyshinsky: So Putna came to you, having been sent by Tukhachevsky on official business having no bearing whatever on your affairs, since he, Tukhachevsky, had no relation with them whatever?

Radek: Tukhachevsky never had any relation whatever with them.

Vyshinsky: Do I understand you correctly, that Putna had dealings with the members of your Trotskyite underground organization, and that your reference to Tukhachevsky was made in connection with the fact that Putna came on official business on Tukhachevsky's orders?

Radek: I confirm that, and I say that I never had and could not have had any dealings with Tukhachevsky connected with counter-revolutionary activities, because I knew Tukhachevsky's attitude to the party and the government to be that of an absolutely devoted man.

When I read this, I was so profoundly shocked that mywife asked me what had happened. I handed her the paper, saying:

"Tukhachevsky is doomed!"

She read the report, but remained calm.

"But Radek again and again absolved Tukhachevsky from any connection with the conspiracy," she said.

{p. 189} "Exactly," I said. "Does Tukhachevsky need absolution from Radek? Do you think for a moment that Radek would dare of his own accord drag Tukhachevsky's name into that trial? No, Vyshinsky put Tukhachevsky's name in Radek's mouth. And Stalin prompted Vyshinsky. Don't you understand that Radek speaks for Vyshinsky, and Vyshinsky for Stalin? I tell you Tukhachevsky is doomed."

Tukhachevsky's name was mentioned eleven times by Radek and Vyshinsky in that brief passage, and to those versed in the OGPU technique, this could have but one meaning. To me, Stalin and Yezhov had forged a ring round Tukhachevsky and perhaps other ranking generals of the high command. It was certain to me that all secret preparations had been made, and that the process of closing in upon them in the open had begun.

I turned to the indictment and noted that Radek's secret "confession" had been made during December. That was the month when I had received the call from Sloutski for two "German officers." These men had by now reported back to me, telling me that they had been kept idle for some weeks in Paris, and then been suddenly dismissed with the laconic explanation that the "job"' had been postponed. We concluded that some hitch had developed, or that the plans had been changed.

Radek's "confession," in which he dragged in Tukhachevsky's name, also coincided roughly with Stalin's switch in foreign policy. It came just after Sloutski's warning to me of the imminence of an agreement with Germany, and his order to throttle down my work in the Reich.

But why, I thought, should Stalin wish at such a time to destroy the generalship of the Red Army? Having exterminated the Kamenev-Zinoviev group, having destroyed another bloc of his political opponents in the Radek-Piatakov case, what motive could possibly impel him to proceed against the high command of our system of national defense?

It is one thing to consign batches of politicians to the firing squad, men like Zinoviev or Kamenev, whom Stalin has beaten down and demoralized over a long period of years. To wipe out

{p. 190} the helmsmen of a nation's war machine is another matter. Would Stalin dare to shoot a commanding figure like Marshal Tukhachevsky, a leader, say, like Gamarnik, the Vice Commissar of War, at such a critical international moment? Would he dare to leave the country defenseless before its enemies by decapitating the Red Army? . . .

Let me give you the background of my reflections on this question. Marshal Tukhachevsky was the most brilliant n-fflitary figure of the Soviet Revolution. Early in the Civil War, at the age of twenty-five, he had been appointed commander of the First Red Army. On September 12,1918, when Soviet fortunes were at their lowest, he won a decisive victory over the combined Czech and White Forces at Simbirsk. The following spring, when Admiral Kolchal<~ advancing from the east, had reached the Volga basin, and only one-sixth of Russian territory remained in Bolshevik hands, Tukhachevsky counter-attacked at Busuluk and broke through the enemy lines. Following this initial success, he launched a sensational drive which forced Kolchak back over the Ural Mountains and deep into Siberia. On January 6, 1920, he crushed Kolchak at Krasnoyarsk, halfway across the Asiatic continent. Lenin in an exultant telegram acclaimed Tukhachevsky and his army.

Having smashed the VA-lite armies in Siberia, Tukhachevsky was sent Straight to the command of the central Russian front against Denikine. In a little more than three months, Denikine had been driven back to the Black Sea and forced to flee by ship to the Crimea, the last stronghold of the VA-iites. Tukhachevsky had vanquished the two most dangerous foes of the Soviet government, Kolchak and Denikine.

In the meantime, the Poles began a surprise offensive into the Ukraine, advancing almost unopposed upon Kiev, which they captured on May 7, 1920. The Soviet forces, however, released by the defeat of Denikine, soon drove the Poles out of the Ukraine, and the Red Army began its spectacular advance on Warsaw. Tukhachevsky, in command of the main Russian forces, was within artillery range of Warsaw and ready by early August to throw his

{p. 191} entire army against the Polish capital. He awaited the arrival of the Cavalry Army, which under the command of Budyenny and Voroshilov had been moving steadily on the southwest front toward Lwow, and of the Twelfth Army under Yegorov. The political commissar of these armies was Joseph Stalin. The Revolutionary War Council, the supreme political authority over the Red Army, had decided that from August 1, the commanders of the Southwest front were to be subordinate to Tukhachevsky.

Tukhachevsky ordered the commanders on the southwest front to turn north toward Lublin and protect the left flank of the main Russian forces for the decisive battle on the Vistula. On August 11, the order was repeated by Moscow. On Stalin's instructions, Budyenny and Voroshilov, and also the commander of the Twelfth Army, disobeyed these military orders. The Cavalry Army continued its advance toward Lwow. On August 15, the Poles, whose army had been reorganized by General Weygand and equipped with French artillery, struck back at Tukhachevsky from the Lublin area. From August 15 to August 20, while the Poles were driving through the Lublin gap, Budyenny's army hammered vainly at Lwow.

Marshal Pilsudski declares in his memoirs that the failure of Budyenny to join Tukhachevsky was the decisive factor in the war. 'Their (the Cavalry's and Twelfth Army's) correct line of march was the one which would have brought them closer to the main Russian armies commanded by Tukhachevsky, and this would have meant the greatest danger to us. Everything seemed black and hopeless to me, the only bright spots on the horizon being the failure of Budyenny's cavalry to attack my rear and the weakness displayed by the 12th Army."

Neither Tukhachevsky nor Stalin ever forgot the Polish campaign. In a series of lectures delivered at the War Academy and published in book form in 1923, Tukhachevsky compared the behavior of Stalin at Lwow with that of Czarist General Rennenkampf in the disastrous Battle of Tannenberg in 1914.

"Our victorious Cavalry Army," declared Tukhachevsky, "became involved in severe fighting at Lwow in those days, wasting

{p. 192} time and frittering away its strength in engagements with the infantry strongly entrenched before the town and supported by cavalry and strong air squadrons."

Stalin never forgave Takhachevsky for that contribution to his biography. Biding his time, this man has taken revenge sooner or later upon everyone who ever criticized him vitally. Tukhachevsky was not fated to be the sole exception.

Years later, there were grave differences between Stalin and the Red Army on major matters of policy. These differences ended, however, in a compromise, and the old wounds, personal as wen as political, seemed on the surface to have healed. None of us doubted the absolute loyalty to the Soviet government of a single one of the Red Army critics of the Stalin policy.

The full detail of these differences between Stalin and the Red Army belongs to another story. (The Trotskyist opposition in the army had, of course, been liquidated years before the great purge.) It is vital, however, to trace here the main features of the major difference. The forcible collectivization of the peasant holdings, with its deportations and other punitive measures resulting in famine and the extermination of millions of peasants, was immediately reflected in the Red Army. For despite the great increase in the number of industrial workers during Soviet rule, the overwhelming majority of the population was still peasant, and the roots of the army were deeply planted in the villages.

The letters received by the soldiers and recruits describing the fate suffered by their relatives back home filled them with resentment, bitterness, and even a spirit of revolt. The villages were being pillaged and destroyed by OGPU troops with orders to do a quick and thorough job of "liquidating the kulaks." Peasant rebellions broke out in the Ukraine, the richest agricultural section of the Soviet Union, and in the Northern Caucasus. They were ruthlessly suppressed by special OGPU detachments, since the Red Army could not be trusted to shoot down Russian peasants.

In these circumstances the morale of the Red Army was, from a military standpoint, rapidly deteriorating. The Political Department of the Army, headed by General Gamarnik, was one of the

{p. 193} most valuable auxiliaries of our national defense, a delicate nervous organism which picked up every tremor that passed through the quivering ranks. Through this Political Department, the general staff and the entire officers' corps possessed firsthand knowledge of the explosive condition of both the soldiers in the barracks and the peasants in the villages.

In 1933, Marshal Bluecher, then commander of the Far-Eastern Military District, dispatched an ultimatum to Stalin that unless the peasants of Eastern Siberia were exempted from the existing harsh decrees, he could not be responsible for the defense of the Maritime Provinces and the Amur against Japan. Stalin's power at that time hung so delicately in the balance that he was forced to capitulate. Sweeping concessions were granted to the peasants in Marshal Bluecher's district. Several years later Stalin was forced to modify the general collectivization program to permit all peasants on the collective farms to own and cultivate small individual plots.

The war between the Soviet government and the peasants has not yet ended. It came to a head once more this summer (1939) with the promulgation of decrees compelling the peasants to do a certain quota of work on the collective farm before touching their own plots. To the Red Army commander of today, this means that a decade after the drive to "solve" the problem of agricultural production, OGPU agents must stand guard over every peasant in order to assure a food supply in the event of war.

Another dissatisfaction arose about the same time in the officers' corps in connection with Stalin's policy of appeasement toward Japanese aggression, beginning with the sale of the strategic Chinese Eastern Railway. War Commissar Voroshilov was at that time completely on the side of the Red Army command, and together with Gamarnik and Tukhachevsky pressed the viewpoint of the military upon Stalin's Politbureau. Stalin contended that collectivization would create a solid economic base for development of future power, that everything must be sacrificed to that policy, and that in order to complete it Russia must have peace at any price.

{p. 194} Tukhachevsky had for years vainly pleaded with Stalin for funds to motorize and mechanize the Red Army, and in this he had the backing of all the young officers from the Soviet military academies. Stalin knew of this yearning of Tukhachevsky's, and decided to appease him with the falfillment of his dream. A political bargain was struck. Stalin had his way in general policy at home and abroad, and the Red Army command had its way with respect to funds for modernization. The army has succeeded in large measure with its part of the bargain, but how far collective farming has fallen short of creating the anticipated "solid base," is revealed in the decrees of this past summer.

Such was the origin of what became commonly known as the Red Army opposition to Stalin. It was one of many disagreements on policy which have cropped up at various stages in the creation of a Soviet system of national defense. But this time the clash led to wild rumors abroad of a struggle for power between Voroshilov and Stalin. Nothing of the kind occurred. The difference was not unlike those of earlier years between Stalin and the various pohtical opposition groups ...

It was clear to me that Stalin had now determined to settle accounts with the Red Army opposition in the same bloody way that he had settled them with his other opponents. The moment was opportune. The crisis of collectivization had passed from an acute to a numbed chronic stage.

The Red Army generals had escaped the ordeal through which the political opposition had been passing for more than a dozen years. They lived outside that special party world in which people were forever "deviating" from the correct Stalinist course, "recanting," "deviating," again and again "recanting" each time with increasing penalties and with a progressive breakdown of the will. The job of the generals, the building of a powerful army and sys-. tem of national defense, had preserved their morale.

Stalin knew that Tukhachevsky, Gamarnik, Yakir, Uborevich, and the other ranking generals could never be broken into the state of unquestioning obedience which he now required of all

{p. 195} those about him. They were men of great personal courage, and he remembered during the days when his own prestige was at its lowest point, these generals, especially Tukhachevsky, had enjoyed enormous popularity not only with the officers' corps and the rank and file of the army, but with the people. He remembered too that at every critical stage of his rule-forcible collectivization, hunger, rebellion-the generals had supported him reluctantly, had put difficulties into his path, had forced deals upon hi.m. He felt no certainty that now-confronted with his abrupt change of international policy-they would continue to recognize his totalitarian authority.

These were my reflections, and I wondered how Stalin would engineer the "liquidation""of his generals.

Reports soon began to reach me from Moscow indicating the progressive isolation, not only of Tukhachevsky, but of several other generals. Many of their closest aides were being arrested. The circle of Stalin men around Tukhachevsky was being narrowed inch by inch. It began to be clear that even his unique record and position could not save him.

In March 1937, I went to Moscow, ostensibly to confer with Yezhov on an exceptionally confidential matter. The effect of the two treason trials of Old Bolsheviks had been to shake the faith of pro-Soviet elements abroad. The sweep of Stalin's purge was increasing daily, and it was working havoc in Western Europe.

When I reached Moscow I found an atmosphere of terror even in the highest offices of the government. The extent of the purge was greater, not less, than had been reported abroad. One by one, men who had been my friends and associates since the Civil War, hardened and trusted and loyal officers of the general staff and other departments of the Red Army, were disappearing. No one knew whether he would be at his desk the next day. There was not a shadow of doubt that Stalin was drawing his nets around the entire high command of the Red Army.

In this growing tension a bombshell burst upon me. It was the strictly secret news conveyed to me by Sloutski, who had returned to his 0GPu headquarters in Moscow, that an agreement between

{p. 196} Stalin and Hitler had been drafted, and had been brought home by David Kandelaki.

Kandelaki, a native of the Caucasus and a countryman of Stalin's, was officially the Soviet trade envoy to Germany. Actually, he was Stalin's confidential emissary to the Nazi government. Accompanied by "Rudolf," the pseudonym of the secret Berlin representative of the OGPU, Kandelaki had just arrived from Germany, and both had been whisked straight to the Kremlin for a conference with Stalin. "Rudolf " was Sloutski's subordinate in the foreign service, but his aid to Kandelaki was evidently regarded as so important that he was permitted to report directly to Stalin over the head of his superior. Kandelaki had succeeded where other envoys had failed. He had not only initiated negotiations with the highest Nazi leaders, but had had a private audience with Hitler himself.

The full nature of the Kandelaki mission was known only to half a dozen men. To Stalin it was a triumph of his personal diplomacy. Only a few of his closest lieutenants knew anything about it. The Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, the Council of People's Commissars-the Soviet Cabinet-and the Central Executive Committee, headed by President Kalinin, had no part in it whatever. Since Stalin was executing his old Bolshevik comrades as Nazi spies at the same time that he was himself conducting these secret negotiations with Hitler, they obviously could not be made widely known.

It was, of course, no secret in any high Soviet circle that Stalin had long striven for an understanding with Hitler. Almost three years had passed since the night of the blood purge in Germany which had convinced him-even while it was going on-that the Nazi regime was firmly established, and that he must come to terms with this powerful dictator.

Now in April, 1937, on receiving Kandelaki's report, Stalin felt sure that the deal with Hitler would go through. He need no. longer fear an attack from Germany. The road was clear for the purge of the Red Army.

By the end of April it became an open secret that Marshal Tukhachevsky, Vice-Commissar of War Gamarnik, and a number

{p. 197} of other high ranking generals were caught in the rapidly tightening net woven by Stalin's special agents. These leaders were still at liberty, but they were marked men. They were shunned at social affairs. It was considered dangerous to be seen speaking to them. They walked alone. Silence surrounded them.

The last time I saw my old chief, Marshal Tukhachevsky, was on May 1, 1937, at the celebration on Red Square. This May Day celebration is one of the rare occasions when Stalin appears in public. The precautions taken by the OGPU for the celebration of 1937 exceeded anything in the history of our secret policy. Shortly before, I happened to be in the Special Section, in the office of Kamieliev, who was in charge of the passes permitting government officials to enter the enclosure around Lenin's Tomb (the reviewing stand).

"I'm having a hell of a time," he said to me. "For fourteen days we have been doing nothing in the Special Section but taking precautions for May Day."

I did not receive my own pass until the evening of April 30, when it was delivered by a courier from the OGM

May Day morning was brilliandy sunny. I started early for the Red Square, and was stopped at least ten times by patrols who examined not only my ticket, but my papers. I reached Lenin's Tomb at fifteen minutes before ten o'clock, the opening hour of the celebration.

Already the reviewing stand was almost packed. The entire personnel of several sections of the OGPU had been mobilized there in civilian clothes as "observers" of the parade. They had been there occupying every alternate row, since six o'clock in the morning. Behind and in front of each row of officials and guests, there was a row of secret agents! Such were the precautions taken at this time to ensure the safety of Stalin.

A few moments after I arrived, an acquaintance nudged me and whispered: "Here comes Tukhachevsky!"

The marshal was walking across the square. He was alone. His hands were in his pockets. Who could guess the thoughts of this man who took care almost to saunter in the May Day sunshine,

{p. 198} knowing he was doomed? He paused for a moment, glanced round the Red Square, massed with humanity and adorned with banners, and then proceeded to the space in front of the Tomb, where the Red Army generals were accustomed to review parades.

Tukhachevsky was the first to arrive there. He took his place and stood motionless, his hands still in his pockets. Some minutes later Marshal Yegorov came up. He did not salute Tukhachevsky nor glance at him, but took the place beside him as if he were alone. A moment passed, and Vice-Commissar of War Gamarnik walked up. He again did not salute either of his comrades, but took the next place as though he did not see them.

Presently the line was complete. I gazed at these men, whom I knew to be loyal and devoted servants of the revolution and of the Soviet government. It was quite apparent that they knew their fate. That was why they refrained from greeting one another. Each knew he was a prisoner, destined for death, enjoying a reprieve by the grace of a despotic master-enjoying a little of the sunshine and the freedom which the crowds and the foreign guests and delegates mistook for real freedom.

The political leaders of the government,, Stalin at their head, occupied the platform-like flat roof of the tomb. The military parade flowed by. It is customary for the army generals to remain in their places for the civilian parade which follows. But this time Tukhachevsky did not stay. During the intermission between the two parades, he stepped out of line and walked away. His hands still in his pockets, he passed through the cleared lanes out of the Red Square, out of sight.

On May 4, Tukhachevsky's commission to attend the Coronation of George VI, as he had the funeral of George V, was canceled. Admiral Orlov, Commissar of the Navy, was appointed in his stead. But Orlov's appointment was canceled, too, and he was subsequently executed.

By this time I had conferred several times with Commissar Yezhov on the special business which had enabled me to come to Moscow. One of these conferences was called at midnight, Yezhov had wished to see me alone, and I remained closeted with him

{p. 199} until early morning. When I left his office, I was surprised to find Sloutski, the chief of the Foreign Division of the OGPU, and his assistant Spiegelglass, waiting for me. They were visibly mystified by my all-night session with Yezhov.

I had asked for my passport and was making all preparations for departure. My intimate friends laughed at these preparations.

"They won't let you out," I was told again and again.

This was indeed a time when responsible officials were being recalled from all over the world, and not sent back.

On May 11, Tukhachevsky was demoted to the rank of a provincial commander on the Volga. He never took the office. Less than a week later Vice-Commissar of War Gamarnik,'than whom there never was a more loyal Bolshevik, was arrested.

The following days brought such a succession of arrests and executions of those with whom I had had lifelong associations, that it seemed as if the Russian roof were falling, and the whole Soviet edifice tumbling about me.

I had stiff not received permission to leave, and now acted on the assumption that it would not be granted. I sent a wire to my wife in The Hague to prepare to return to Moscow with the child.

Then suddenly I was called into the office of the head of the department. He was sitting at his desk with my passport in front of him.

"What are you waiting around here for?" he said. "Why aren't you at your post?"

"I was waiting for my passport," I said.

"Well, here it is," he said. "Your train goes at ten o'clock."

On my last day in Moscow the state of alarm reached an unbearable pitch. Something like a panic seized the entire corps of officers of the Red Army. Hourly reports came in of fresh arrests.

I went directly to Mikhail Frinovsky, Vice-Commissar of the OGPU, who, together with Yezhov, was conducting the great purge for Stalin.

"Tell me, what's going on? What's going on in the country?" I demanded of Frinovsky. "How can I leave in these circumstances?

{p. 200} How can I do my work without knowing what it's all about? What shall I say to my comrades abroad?"

"It's a conspiracy" replied Frinovsky, "We've just uncovered a gigantic conspiracy in the army, such a conspiracy as history has never known. And we've just now learned of a plot to kill Nikolai Ivanovitch (Yezhov) himself! But we've got them all. We've got everything under control."

Frinovsky did not.volunteer any evidence of the gigantic conspiracy so suddenly discovered by the OGPU. But I learned something in the corridors of the Lubianka, where I bumped into Furmanov, the chief of the counter-espionage section operating among White Russians abroad.

"Say, those were a couple of first-rate men you sent us," he said.

"What men?" I asked.

"The 'German officers,' you know!" and he began jokingly to reproach me for being so reluctant to assign my agents for his work.

The matter had completely slipped my mind, and I asked Furmanov how he happened to know about it.

"Why, that was our case," Furmanov boasted.

I knew that Furmanov handled for the OGPU foreign anti-Soviet organizations like the Federation of Czarist Army Veterans, a world-wide body headed by General Miller in Paris. His words meant to me that my two men had been commandeered for an undertaking connected with this White Russian group in France. I recalled Sloutski's remark that the matter was of colossal importance. Furmanov had given me a final clue to the real conspiracy behind the Red Army purge. But I did not realize it then.

I left Moscow in the evening of May 22. It was like leaving a city in the midst of a series of earthquakes. Marshal Tukhachevsky had been arrested. OGPU circles were already buzzing with the rumor that Marshal Gamarnik had also been arrested, although Pravda announced that he had been elected to the Moscow Committee of the Communist Party, an important honor bestowed only with the approval of Stalin himself. I was soon to understand the

{p. 201} meaning of these seemingly contradictory reports. Stalin had seized Gamarnik and at the same time was offering him an eleventh-hour reprieve on condition that he would permit his name to be used in destroying Tukhachevsky, Gamarnik had rejected the offer.

By the end of the month I was back in The Hague. An official bulletin from the Soviet capital announced to the world that ViceCommissar of War Gamarnik had committed suicide while under investigation. I learned afterward that Gamarnik did not commit suicide, but was slain in prison by Stalin's men.

On June 11, Moscow first published the news of the arrest of Tukhachevsky and seven other top-ranking generals as Nazi spies and fellow conspirators of the dead Gamarnik. On June 12 came the announcement of the execution of the eight chiefs, following an alleged secret trial by a court martial composed of eight other high officers.

At least one of these eight judges, General Alksnis, was already, to my knowledge, a prisoner of the OGPU at the time when he was supposed to be sitting in judgment on his former Chief.

Of the eight alleged judges, six have since been destroyed. Marshal Bluecher and Generals Alksnis, Bielov, Dybenko, Kashirin and Gorbachev. Almost all of the eighty members of the Council of War were quickly liquidated. The army purge did not stop until the OGPU had swept clean the entire officers' corps, sacrificing in all about 35,000 army men.

In point of fact, there was no court martial at all of the Tukhachevsky group. There was not even the pretense of a joint case against its victims. The eight generals were not even executed together. They were shot separately, and on different days. The false report that a trial had taken place was issued by Stalin to make the rank and file of the army swallow the tale of the OGPU'S "sudden" discovery of a conspiracy in the Red Army.

How sudden the discovery was, what the real plot was, and what was the evidence of this "'conspiracy such as history has never known"-all of these questions solved themselves when I returned to Paris.

{p. 202} The assistant to the chief of the Foreign Division of the OGPU, Spiegelglas s. had come to Paris early in July. I met him by appointment at the Closerie-des-Lilas Caf6, on the Boulevard Montparnasse, and he told me that he was on an "especially important mission." Our conversation lasted several hours. It soon turned to the Tukhachevsky case.

An opening was provided by an article which had appeared, shortly after the execution, in Pravda, the mouthpiece of Stalin, entitled "The Crisis in the Foreign Intelligence Service."

"What a stupid piece, and whom will it fool?" I said. "Here is Moscow telling the world that the German Intelligence Service had in its employ at least nine marshals and generals of the Red Army. The point of the article, supposedly, is that there is in consequence a crisis in the German service. What nonsense! The writer should have made a greater effort in such a serious case. It just makes us a laughingstock abroad."

"But the article was not written for you or for the people in the know," retorted Spiegelglass. "It was meant for the general public, for home consumption."

"It is a terrible thing for us Soviet people," I said, "to have it announced to the world that the German Intelligence Service was able to,-enlist as spies virtually the entire general staff of the Red Army. You ought to know, Spiegelglass, that when our Military Intelligence succeeds in enlisting the services of a single colonel in some foreign army, it is an event of the first magnitude. It is brought immediately to the attention of Stalin himself, and treated by him as a great triumph. Why, if Hitler had succeeded in recruiting as spies nine of our highest-ranking generals, how many hundreds of minor officers would he still have as spies in our Red Army?"

"Nonsense," replied Spiegelglass hotly. "We got them all. We rooted them all out."

I gave him the contents of a brief confidential dispatch from one of my chief agents in Germany. At a formal reception tendered by high Nazi officials, at which my informant was present, the question of the Tukhachevsky affair came up. Capt. Fritz

{p. 203} Wiedemann, personal political aide to Hitler-appointed subsequently to the post of Consul General at San Francisco-was asked if there was any truth in Stalin's charges of espionage against the Red Army generals. My agent's report reproduced Wiedemann's boastful reply:

"We hadn't nine spies in the Red Army, but many more. The OGPU IS still far from on the trail of all our men in Russia."

I knew only too well the character of such talk. So would any Military Intelligence officer of any nation. It was designed for wide circulation, with a view to under the morale of the enemy. In Military Intelligence parlance it is known as "disinformation."

During the World War, the German General Staff even had a Bureau known as the "Disinformation Service." Here experts worked out seemingly plausible secret military plans and orders, which were then "planted" as authentic documents in the enemy's hands. Sometimes even war prisoners would be found in possession of secret plans so cleverly concocted by the Bureau of Disinformation as to convince the captors that they were inside plans.

Spiegelglass, a veteran of the Cheka and its successor, the OGPU was perfectly familiar with the practice. He brushed aside the intimation that there were other Nazi spies in the Red Army.

"I'm telling you," he said, "there's nothing more to it. We cleared it all up before proceeding against Tukhachevsky and Gamarnik. We have information from Germany too-from inside sources. Ours doesn't come from salon conversations, but from within the Gestapo itself"

He pulled a paper out of his pocket to show me. It was a report from one of his operatives which confirmed his arguments in convincing style.

"You don't regard such stuff as evidence, do you?" I said.

"That is only one small item," Spiegelglass insisted. "As a matter of fact, we've been receiving material from Germany on Tukhachevsky, Gamarnik, and all of their clique for a long time."

{p. 204} "For a long time?" I repeated, remembering the "sudden" discovery of the Red Army conspiracy by Stalin.

"Yes, for the past several years," he continued. "We've got plenty, not only on the military but on many others, even on Krestinsky." (Krestinsky had been Soviet ambassador to Germany for ten years, and later Vice-Commissar for Foreign Affairs.)

It was no news to me that the OGPU watches every step taken by Soviet officials, however high their rank, and especially when they go abroad. Every Soviet ambassador, minister, or trade envoy is subject to such surveillance. When an officer like Tukhachevsky went out of Russia on a government commission to attend. the funeral of George V; when an officer like Marshal Yegorov was sent on a goodwill trip to the Baltic countries; when an officer like General Putna was assigned to the post of military attach6 in London, all their comings and goings, and their conversations, were the subject of a deluge of reports by OGPU agents.

Normally, a government trusts its servants, especially those in responsible positions, and would take no stock in their denunciation by spies. I had had occasion, for instance, while attached to the General Staff in Moscow, to read reports about my own doings inGermany, based on facts, yet so maliciously twisted and elaborated as to compromise me if believed in. Even in the Soviet government in years gone by, it was customary to pass such material on to the person involved.

Stalin gradually changed all this. As he gathered the control of the OGPU into his own hands, he began to accumulate in a special secret cabinet a set of such reports on all the responsible officials of the Soviet government. These files grew and bulged with material which came to him through the far-flung network of the OGPU. It did not matter how spurious, how fantastic the denunciations of the leading Soviet figures were. The servile staff of the OGPU filed them all. Stalin thought it useful to have a case of some kind against every leader.

This most secret cabinet got filled up, of course, with matter planted by the various foreign Bureaus of Disinformation, includ-

{p. 205} ing that of the Gestapo. I reminded Spiegelglass of the worthless character of such evidence.

"You certainly seem to be sure of your German sources," I observed.

Spiegelglass could not help bragging.

"We've been getting our information through the Goutchkov Circle," he said. "We have our man at its very center."

When Spiegelglass made this statement I could hardly refrain from gasping.

The Goutchkov Circle was a very active group of White Russians, having intimate links with the German Military Intelligence on the one hand; on the other, closer ties the Federation of Czarist Army Veterans, headed by General Eugene Miller in Paris.'

The founder of the Circle was Alexander Goutchkov, a prominent member of the Duma and head of the War In ustries Committee under the Czar. In his youth, Goutchkov had led a volunteer Russian brigade into the Boer War against Great Britain. lmmediately after the abdication of the Czar, he had served as War Minister. After the Bolshevik Revolution, he had organized abroad this L-Yroup which maintained relations with those elements in Germany primarily interested in German expansion toward the East.

The Goutchkov Circle had long worked with General Bredow, chief of Military Intelligence of the German Army. And when General Bredow was executed in the Hitler purge of 1934, his department and all its foreign network came under the control of the Gestapo.

According to Spiegelglass, now the OGPU link with the Goutchkov Circle was equally close. Goutchkov's own daughter, I learned later, had been an agent of the OGPU and a spy for the Soviet government. But Spiegelglass only now told me that the OGPU had a man in the very center of the Circle, and that it was from this man that they had obtained the evidence of Tukhachevsky's, treason. If that was true, then somebody in the Goutchkov clique, and doubtless also the head of the Czarist Army Veterans, had knowledge of this "evidence," and were quite possibly still in possession of the originals.

{p. 206} The final key to the "conspiracy such as history has never known" was thrust into my hands in Paris in the morning of September 23, 1937. I picked up a batch of newspapers with screaming headlines, telling of the kidnapping at midday, Wednesday, September 22, of General Evgenyi Miller, head of the Federation of Czarist Army Veterans. It appeared that before leaving his office at 12:10, General Miller had given to his aide a sealed envelope, with the remark: "Do not think that I have lost my mind, but this time I am leaving with you a sealed message which I ask you to open only in case I do not return."

When Miller did not return that afternoon, some of his colleagues were summoned to open the envelope. It contained the following note:

I have an appointment at 12:30 today with General Skobline at the corner of Jasmin and Raffet streets. He is to take me to a rendezvous with two German officers, one a military attach6 in a neighboring country, Strohman, a colonel, the other, Herr Werner, who is attached to the local German Embassy. Both of these men speak Russian well. The meeting has been arranged at the initiative of Skobline. It is possible that this is a trap, and that is why I am leaving you this note.

I was thunderstruck by the reference in Miller's note to the "'two German officers." So this was the "colossal" job for which Sloutski had commandeered two of my best agents as far back as December, 1936. This was the "case" which Furmanov, OGPU specialist on V~Mte Russian counter-espionage, had in mind when he joked with me in Moscow about my "German officers."

General Skobline was the right-hand man of General Miller in the White Russian military organization. The wife of Skobline was the famous Russian folk singer, Nadezhda Plevitskaya. Miller's colleagues repaired that night to the hotel where Skobline and his.. wife lived. Skobline at first denied knowing anything about Miller's luncheon date, claiming an alibi for himsel£ When confronted by Miller's note and threatened with a trip to the police

{p. 207} headquarters, Skobline took advantage of a momentary lapse of vigilance, slipped out and dashed away in a waiting automobile.

No trace was ever found of Miller. Skobline, too, vanished into thin air. His wife, Plevitskaya, was arrested as an accessory to the crime. Papers found in their apartment established beyond doubt that Skobline had been an agent of the OGPU. Plevitskaya remained in jail pending an investigation until her trial in Paris in December, 1938. She was charged with being a Soviet spy, and received a sentence of twenty year's imprisonment, an unusually severe verdict for a French court to pass upon a woman.

So General Skobline was the man at the center of the OGPU conspiracy against Tukhachevsky and the other generals of the Red Army! Skobline played a triple role in this super-MachiavelHan tragedy, and a pivotal one in all three directions. As secretary of the Goutchkov Circle, he was an agent of the Gestapo. As member of General Miller's inner council, he was a leader of the Czarist forces abroad. These two roles he falfilled with the knowledge of his third and chief employer, the OGPU.

The note left by General Miller proved to be Skobline's undoing. At the trial of his wife, which lasted from December 5 to December 14, 1938, and attracted wide attention in Europe, it was shown that Skobline also had a hand in the mysterious kidnapping, early in 1930, of General Koutiepov, the predecessor of General Miller as leader of the Czarist veterans.

It was the Czarist general, Skobline, then, who purveyed to Stalin the "evidence" which he used against the chiefs and builders of the Red Army. This "evidence" had been faked up in the Gestapo, had passed through the feed line of the Goutchkov Circle to General Miller's organizations, and thence flowed into Stalin's most secret cabinet.

When Stalin decided that his rapprochement with Hitler warranted a move against the Red Army, he reached for the secret files of the OGPU. Stalin, of course, knew the value of "evidence" from such sources. He knew that it was "disinformation" of the rawest kind. Outside the Gestapo, whose silence could be relied on, and Skobline, who as an OGPU man was also safe, there was

{p. 208} only one man in the world capable of making these sources known. That was General Eugene Miller. If Miller chose to, he could expose to the whole world the source of Stalin's "evidence" against the Red generals, and the channel through which it had been fed to the OGPU. He could link up Stalin's conspiracy against the Red Army generals with the Red Army's two chief enemies, Hitler's Gestapo and the remnants of the Czarist White Army in Paris. Miller must obviously be put out of the way. The OGPU Must go into action. No less a man than Sloutski himself, head of the Foreign Division, can handle so "colossal" an undertaking. Sloutski drops all his other work and comes to Paris to "put it across." He sends a courier to me by plane to The Hague . . . "Select from your personnel two men who can impersonate German officers. They must be impressive ... accustomed to talk like army men ... exceptionally trustworthy and bold.... This is of extraordinary importance."

It all became perfectly clear and obvious to me as I sat there in the Caf6 des Deux Magots in Paris on a September morning in 1937, reading the sensational story of the kidnapping of General Eugene Miller. I am not sure that I have made it equally clear and obvious---or that it can be made so-to a reader unacquainted with the world of secret service, or the complicated moods and tangled activities of the groups involved. I must be satisfied to state that, to me-and I believe to any mind familiar with the whole situation-the chain of evidence I have adduced is conclusive. It leaves no place for doubt that the alleged conspiracy of the Red Army generals and the Gestapo against Stalin, was a conspiracy of Stalin against the Red Army generals, and that to frame his generals, Stalin employed "disinformation" manufactured by the Gestapo, and fed to the OGPU through the Czarist forces.

Once more Stalin demonstrated that he never forgets or forgives. The old differences of opinion with the high command of the Red Army remained in his memory as "opposition." This "opposition," when dragged into the meshes of his OGPU machine,

{p. 209} became a "conspiracy." Such "conspiracies" are the rungs in the ladder on which Stalin climbed to absolute power. In the Process, critics became "enemies," sincere opponents "traitors," an honest and zealous oppositional opinion-with the expert aid of the OGPU-"organized plots." On the corpses of his former comrades and fellow revolutionists, creators and builders of the Soviet State, Stalin has mounted step by step to solitary control over the peoples of Russia.

The reader will remember that it was in December, 1936 that Karl Radek, siong a secret confession dictated by Stalin through Vyshinsky, first dragged in the name of Tukhachevsky, It was also in December, 1936 that I was called on to supply the two "German officers." The conspiracy against Tukhachevsky went back at least as far as that. But some difficulty developed; my men were kept waiting and then returned to me; the kidnapping of General Miller had to be postponed. The nature of this difficulty was indicated a year later in some evidence introduced into the trial of Plevitskaya. On December 11, 1938, Attorney Ribet read to the court from Miller's confidential correspondence a letter he had received from General Dobrovolsky in Finland, warning him against Skobline. Dobrovolsky did not state in so many words that Skobline was an agent of the OGPU; he merely said that among some of his colleagues Skobline's position was becoming a little dubious.

"Alas!" said Attorney Ribet, "the warning did not shake General Miller's trust in Skobline!"

It did not shake his trust completely, and not permanentlyonly enough so that the kidnapping scheme worked out by the OGPU, with Skobline as a decoy, had to be postponed. Skobline undertook to reestablish himself in Miller's confidence.

Six months passed, and on June 2, 1937, Tukhachevsky and his colleagues were executed in Moscow. Three weeks later, Spiegelglass, Sloutski's first assistant, was in Paris again, as he told me, on an "especially important mission." He stayed in Paris, to my personal knowledge, well into September. On September 23, General Miller was kidnapped, with Skobline (whom he still some

{p. 210} what distrusted) acting as a decoy. At about the same time Spiegelglass disappeared.

It remains to say that Spiegelglass disappeared not only from Paris, but also, according to reliable reports, from this world. Perhaps it did not occur to him that if General Miller knew too much about the source of the Tukhachevsky "evidence," Spiegelglass similarly knew too much about the end of General Miller. Sloutski also knew too much, and he "died" in Moscow with surprising suddenness some months later.

Stalin's execution of the high commanders of the Red Army as Nazi spies was now a chapter of history. He had liquidated General Miller, who might have exposed the link between his "evidence" and the Gestapo. And he had liquidated the liquidators of General Miller. But for a series of pure accidents which gave the key to the whole mystery into my hands, there was now no one outside the German Gestapo who could show him up. And the Gestapo, having achieved their aim, the decapitation of the Red Army and the destruction of Russia's greatest general, would obviously have no motive to speak. Still it is rarely that anybody in possession of a momentous inside stor keeps it absolutely secret. On October 27,1938, the official Nazi military organ, Deutscbe Wlebr-The German Army-in a special article dealing with the Red Army purge, disclosed that the man who had betrayed Tukhachevsky and his colleagues to Stalin was "the traitor, the well-known General Skobline, living in Paris, the man who had betrayed to the Bolsheviks the two generals, Koutiepov and Miller-a man who was outside the ranks of the Red Army."

Aside from that, there has been no published hint anywhere, so far as I am aware, of a connection between the execution of the Red generals in Moscow and the kidnapping of General Miller in Paris. I do not at present understand the motives of this partial revelation-not by the Gestapo, but by the German Army men.Their well-informed article increases my confidence, however, that with the key I have supplied, the full details of this mystery will.someday be unlocked, and the conspiracy of Stalin against his generals become an open page of history.

{p. 211} 11


IN MAY, 1937, Stalin bestowed upon me the highest testimonial within his power. Within six months I became the object of an intensive man hunt by Stalin's OGPU agents.

How did it happen?

In the course of these six months my most intimate friend in the Soviet service abroad broke with the Stalin regime. The OGPU organized a special expedition of assassins who trapped and machine-gunned him near Lausanne, Switzerland.

My experience is a case history of a loyal Soviet officer transformed overnight into state prey to be shot down wherever the shooting is good. It is typical of thousands in the Soviet Union who are glorified as heroes today and tomorrow denounced as traitors. Look in your encyclopedia or almanac for the names of the distinguished members of the Soviet government recently eulogized by Stalin himself, and you will find practically all of them proscribed today as "spies" and "reptiles."

{p. 212} It was a high badge of confidence which Stalin and the Central Committee of the party conferred on me when at the climax of the great purge, they sent me back to my post as Chief of the Soviet Military Intelligence in Western Europe. Those were the days when ambassadors and ministers, to say nothing of special a-aents, were being recalled from all over the world to be shot or imprisoned in Moscow, when even the leading generals of the Red Army were bound for the firing squad.

Early in March I had left my headquarters in The Hague on my own initiative to go back home and report to my superiors, but I was also driven by a consuming desire to find out at firsthand what was going on in the Soviet Union. As I expected to be gone but a short time, my wife and child remained in Holland.

On March 16 I landed by plane at Helsingfors, Finland, and proceeded the same night by train to Leningrad. This had been in recent years my standard route to and from the Soviet Union.

The reason for avoiding the direct route through Germany went back to 1923. I was, as I have already described, one of a number of Soviet officers engaged in organizing the skeleton of a Red Army in Germany. This got me into exciting difficulties with the police authorities of Berlin, and for two months in 1926 I stayed in hiding in our Soviet Embassy there. Although subsequently I did pass surreptitiously through Germany several times, it became particularly dangerous after the rise of Hitler in 1933. Moscow did not wish me to take any chances of falling into the hands of Hitler's Gestapo.

That is why I returned home in March, 1937, through the Scandinavian countries. At that time on account of the purge, the OGPU was granting few visas for entry into the Soviet Union, and there was little traffic across its borders. The only other passengers on my train were three Americans, obviously traveling on diplomatic passports as their baggage was not examined. The party consisted of a couple and a blond fellow in his thirties, wearing a high black fur hat. He spoke Russian and was, to all appearances, a member. of the United States Embassy in Moscow. There was quite a bit of conversation with the customs officials concerning the diplomatic

{p. 213} baggage, which comprised a number of enormous packages, the contents of which were the subject of amusing guesswork among the Soviet customs men.

At the railway ticket office in Leningrad I ran into an old friend and comrade.

"Well, how are things?" I asked him.

He glanced about, and answered in a subdued voice: "Arrests, nothing but arrests. In the Leningrad district alone they have arrested more than seventy percent of all the directors of factories, including the munitions plants. This is official information given us by the party committee. No one is secure. No one trusts anyone else."

In Moscow I put up at the Hotel Savoy, as we had surrendered our apartment to some fellow officials. The Purge was in full swing. Many of my comrades had disappeared. It was risky to inquire into the fate of the victims. Many of my telephone calls to friends went unanswered. Those who were still about wore masks on their faces.

One of my closest friends, Max Maximov-Unschhcht, a nephew of the former Vice-Commissar of War, occupied with his wife the room next to me. For nearly three years Max had served as chief of our Military Intelligence in Nazi Germany, one of the most perilous assignments in the service. He had recently married a girl from the provinces, a gifted painter, who had come to Moscow to study art. As she was at home most of the time, I used to keep my personal papers in their room.

I was in the habit of dropping in on the Unschlichts in the evening, and we usually stayed up and talked until the early hours of the morning. I was eager for news. Max's uncle was already in disfavor. He had been demoted from his powerful army post to the impotent office of secretary of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union. Friends, associates and relatives of the Unschlichts were vanishing daily. Among these were many ranking generals and commissars.

"Why have they arrested General Yakir? Why have they seized General Eidemann?" I would ask Max.

{p. 214} But Max was a rock-ribbed Stalinist. Without answering my specific questions, he would defend the purge wholesale.

"These are dangerous times for the Soviet Union," he would say. "He who is against Stalin is against the revolution."

One night I returned to my room very late. I went to bed without knocking at the Unschlichts' door. In the dead of night I was awakened by a noise in the corridor outside. It must be the OGPU coming for me, I thought. But they did not come to my door. At seven in the morning there was a knock at my door. As I opened it I faced Max's wife, Regina, tears streaming down her cheeks, terror in her eyes.

"They took Max away! They took Max!" was all she could say.

It appeared that Max had been arrested the evening before, just as he reached the lobby of the hotel upon returning from his office. During the night the OGPU agents had raided his room, searched it, and incidentally taken my personal papers along with the rest of the seized material. Early in the morning the manager of the hotel told Mrs. Maximov-Unschlicht that she must vacate the room within an hour. Regina had no relatives in Moscow. She had no money. Even with money it is impossible to secure living quarters in Moscow on short notice.

I endeavored to dissuade the hotel manager, but he remained adamant. His attitude toward me also had changed. Was I not a close friend of Max? The expression on his face seemed to say that he did not regard my own position as any too firm.

I telephoned to a mutual friend of ours, a high officer of the Military Intelligence, whom I had met but two evenings earlier in Max's room. I asked him if he could do something to save Regina from being thrown out on the street. His manner was curt.

"The OGPU arrested Max. Therefore he is an enemy. I can do nothing for his wife."

I tried to argue with him, but he made it clear that it would be, best for me, too, not to meddle in the affair. He hung up the receiver.

I then telephoned the OGPU officer in charge of the arrest of Max, and demanded the immediate return of my personal docu-.

{p. 215} ments. I had decided to act resolutely in the matter. Surprisingly enough, the OGPU officer was most courteous.

When I explained to him the reason for my keeping the papers in Max's room and expressed my readiness to come over and get them, he replied: "I'll send the package over to you by courier at once, Comrade Krivitsky."

Within a half hour I had my papers. During the day I helped arrange matters so that Regina could return to her native town that night. I gave her, surreptitiously, the necessary funds. We had learned that it would be useless for her to remain in Moscow, as she could not visit her husband or help him in any way. It was even forbidden at this time to send food or clothing parcels to political prisoners.

My first task upon reaching the office that day was to prepare two reports on my relations with Max. One of these was addressed to my superiors in the War Department, the other to my party unit. This was in accordance with an unwritten law requiring every member of the Communist Party to fde a faJ1 history of his or her relationship to anyone charged with political misdeeds. To fail to submit such a report would have been tantamount to an admission of guflt.

The spy hunt was sweeping the country. According to Stalinit was the first duty of every Soviet citizen to look for traitors. It was he who had warned that "the enemies of the people, the Trotskyites, and Gestapo agents," lurked everywhere, pervaded every field. Yezhov's machine of terror interpreted Stalin's call of vigilance thus:

"Accuse one another, denounce one another, if you wish to remain among the living."

The espionage mania made people denounce their friends and even their nearest relatives. Crazed by fear, people became obsessed with the hunt, and, to save themselves, offered victims, and more and more victims, to the OGPU.

Within the first five months of 1937, 350,000 political arrests were made by the OGPU, according to official figures disclosed to me by the chief of the special section in charge of the purge. The

{p. 216} prisoners ranged from marshals and founders of the Soviet government to minor Communist officeholders.

In the midst of this tidal wave of arrests and executions, I went about my business, reporting to Yezhov on matters abroad which required settlement before my return to Holland. There were those among my associates who doubted that I would be allowed to leave the country, but nevertheless, I applied for half a dozen additional and highly trained agents, whom I needed to augment my staff abroad. A number of graduates of our secret schools were sent to me to be interviewed. One of them was an American woman by the name of Kitty Harris, originally Katharine Harrison. She had been described to me as the former wife of Earl Browder, Communist leader in the United States, and, therefore, as exceptionally reliable. At that time I needed a woman agent in Switzerland, and the holder of an American ass ort was particularly welcome.

When Kitty Harris called on me, presenting her papers in a sealed envelope, I learned that she too was stopping at the Hotel Savoy. She was about forty, dark-haired, of good appearance, and had been connected with our secret service for some years. Kitty Harris spoke well of Browder, and particularly of Browder's sister, who was then in our service in Central Europe.

I approved the assignment of Miss Harris to a foreign post, and she left on April 29. Others whom I selected were similarly dispatched with orders to report to my assistants in Western Europe. It became clear that the purge, and even the arrest of Max, had not affected my standing. Surely Yezhov would not have letme pick and send agents abroad if he had any intention of purging me.

Yet the purge was sweeping people away like an avalanche. One of my veteran translators, a woman who had served in my department for many years, was seized by the OGPU. It was almost impossible to replace her, as the work required a person of exceptional reliability, with a perfect knowledge of many languages. When I inquired the cause of her arrest, I was told that her husband, a Communist employed as director of a Moscow factory,

{p. 217} had been taken, and his wife was rounded up as a precautionary measure.

"But what's the use of my keeping a dozen men abroad to gather information for the Politbureau when I haven't got a secretary to translate and compile it?"

I appealed thus to Sloutski, but he only shrugged his shoulders.

About the middle of May I ran into an old acquaintance who had served as Soviet military attach6 in Romania. He was a towering and jolly fellow whose sense of humor did not desert him even now.

He stopped in his tracks when he saw me on the street.

"Am I seeing things, or is this Walter? What, they haven't arrested you yet? Never mind, don't feel hurt. They'll get around to you soon enough," and he roared with laughter.

We had quite a chat. He reeled off by dozens the names of army officers under arrest-for at this time Marshal Tukhachevsky and his associates were already in the net. He had no doubt that his own turn would soon come.

I had come to the Soviet Union for a brief stay, but two months had elapsed without my being ordered back. It began to seem so unlikely that I would be allowed to leave the country at the crest of the Red Army purge that I finally wired my wife in Holland to get ready to return with our child to Moscow.

On May 22, the day when the fate of War Commissar Voroshilov himself was hanging in the balance and his fall momentarily expected, I received my passport and was told that my train would leave at 10:00 P.M. I went to Mikhail Frinovsky, the right-hand man of Yezhov, and he confirmed the news that I was to leave that evening.

My associates interpreted this as a token of the implicit confidence which the Kremlin had in me. But when I reached BieloOstrov, on the Finnish border, and caught sight of the familiar figure of the local commander rushing toward my compartment waving a telegram, my thought was: "He has orders for my arrest!"

{p. 218} Many had been arrested in this way, just as they were ready to cross the border. "But why?" I asked myself "Why was I not arrested before this?"

The train came to a stop. The commander extended a hearty greeting. The telegram was a routine message telling him of my coming so as to assure me of the assistance due officers of our secret service going through on false passports. I still carried the passport with which I had left the Soviet Union in 1935. I was Eduard Miller, Austrian engineer. This passport was kept for me in the Soviet Embassy at Stockholm, for my journeys from Sweden to Soviet Russia only. Upon my arrival in Stockholm, I picked up the passport on which I resided in Holland. There I would once more become Dr. Martin Lessner, Austrian art dealer, of Celebesstraat, 32, The Hague.

Although shaken by my experience in Moscow, I was returning to my post, determined to give the Soviet government the same unflinching loyalty with which I had served it during the preceding eighteen years.

I arrived in The Hague on May 27. Two days later my old friend and comrade, 1gnace Reiss, came to visit me. He had worked for years in our secret service abroad. He was known under the pseudonym of Ludwig. At this time he was using the passport of a Czech named Hans Eberhardt.

Reiss had been deeply shocked by the purge of the Old Bolsheviks and the "treason trials" and was already determined to break away from Moscow. He had awaited with impatience my return from Soviet Russia, and came straight to Holland to get first-hand information from me on the events back home. My answers to his numerous and probing questions made a shattering impression upon him. Reiss was a thorough idealist who had enlisted heart and soul in the cause of Communism and world revolution, and Stalin's policy appeared to him more and more obviously an evolution toward Fascism.

Reiss and I were bound together by many years of perilous underground service, and there were few confidences which we did not share. He spoke to me of his crushin disillusionment, of

{p. 219} his desire to drop everything and go off to some remote corner where he could be forgotten. I mustered all the familiar arguments and sang the old song that we must not run away from the battle.

"The Soviet Union," I insisted, "is still the sole hope of the workers of the world. Stalin may be wrong. Stalins will come and go, but the Soviet Union will remain. It is our duty to stick to our post."

Although Reiss was convinced that Stalin was following a counter-revolutionary course to catastrophe, he left me with the understanding that he would bide his time and watch further developments in Moscow before making his contemplated break with the Soviet government.

That was in May. I saw Reiss again in July in Paris, where I had gone to confer with some of my agents. At seven in the evening of Saturday, July 17, I met him for a few minutes at the Cafe Weber. He was eager to have a long talk with me, evidently on a matter of supreme importance to him. We agreed that he should call me up at eleven the next morning to arrange for a meeting. I was stopping at the Hotel Napoleon.

Two hours later I received an urgent message from my Paris secretary, Madeleine, to meet Spiegelglass, assistant to the chief of the Foreign Division of the OGPU, whom Yezhov had sent to Western Europe on a mission of the highest secrecy.

I met Spiegelglass at the Paris Exposition grounds, and I could see at once that something extraordinary must have happened. He produced two letters which Reiss had that day turned over for dispatch to Moscow to Lydia Grozovskaya, an OGPU agent attached to our trade mission in Paris. Reiss had felt sure that his letters would not be opened in France. He did not know that he had been under suspicion, and that Spiegelglass had been sent with plenipotentiary powers to purge the foreign services. Yezhov had given him complete authority and orders to stop at nothing, not even kidnapping or assassinating suspected agents.

"Yes," said Spiegelglass, pointing to the letters in his hand, "we even suspected you in the beginning. For we were told only that some high Soviet agent had appeared in Holland and estab-

{p. 220} lished contact with the Trotskyites. We found out that Ludwig, and not you, was the traitor."

On June 11, the day Moscow announced the purge of Tukhachevsky and the eight ranking generals of the Red Army, my friend Reiss had gone to Amsterdam, according to information in the hands of the OGPU. There he had had a secret conference with H. Sneevhet, member of parliament and leader of the Amsterdam Transport Workers Union, a man of Trotskyite leanings. The OGPU had eyes and ears everywhere.

At first Spiegelglass was not inclined to let me read the letters of resignation handed in by Reiss, but he finally yielded. My friend's principal message was addressed to the Central Committee of the Communist Party-that is, to Stalin, its General Secretary. This letter was datedJuly 17, and must have been penned but a few hours before my brief meeting with Reiss. He had evidently intended to discuss his decision with me at our rendezvous the following day. Reiss wrote:

The letter which I am addressing to you today I should have written a long time ago, on the day when the Sixteen (referring to the Kamenev-Zinoviev group, executed in August, 1936) were murdered in the cellars of the Lubianka at the command of the Father of Nations. (A Soviet appellation for Stalin) I kept silent then. I raised no voice of protest at the subsequent murders, and for this I bear a large responsibility. My guilt is great,

but I shall try to make up for it, to make up for it quickly, and to ease my conscience.

Up to now I have followed you. From now on, not a step further. Our ways part! He who keeps silent at this hour becomes an accomplice of Stalin, and a traitor to the cause of the working class and of Socialism.

From the age of twenty I have battled for Socialism. I do not want now, on the eve of my fifth decade, to live by the favors of Yezhov. Behind me are sixteen years of underground service-this is no trifle, but I still have enough strength to make a new start ...

{p. 221} The fanfare which has been raised around the polar fliers was designed to drown the noise of the cries of victims tortured in the cellars of the Lubianka, in Minsk and Kiev, in Leningrad and Tiflis. But this will not suc'ceed. The voice of truth is still louder than the noise of a maximum horsepower engine.

Yes, the record-breaking fliers will find it easier to win over American ladies and the sport-crazed youth of both continents, than we shall to win world opinion and stir the conscience of the world. But let no one be deceived. Truth will find its way. The day of judgment is nearer, much nearer, than the gentlemen in the Kremlin think ...

No, I cannot continue any longer. I am returning to freedom-back to Lenin, to his teachings, and his cause.

P. S.: In 1928 I was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for my service to the proletarian revolution. I am returning it herewith. To wear it simultaneously with the hangmen of the best representatives of the Russian workers is beneath my dignity.

To Spiegelglass, the message of Reiss spelled but one thing: treason. From now on, Reiss was a spy, a dangerous enemy to be "liquidated," for Stalin does not permit Soviet agents to leave his service.

"You know, you are responsible for Reiss," Spiegelglass remarked significantly. "You introduced him into the Communist Party and you sponsored his joining our organization." He went on to tell me that he had information that Reiss intended to leave France the following morning, and that action must be taken that very night or it might be too late. At first he was cautious in throwing out hints that I might take a hand in the "liquidation" of Reiss. I pretended not to understand what he was driving at, and tried to divert the conversation to other channels.

Spiegelglass suggested that we telephone a close friend of Reiss, then in Paris, a former Hungarian pastor who went, in our

{p. 222} secret service, by the name of "Mann," and ask him to join our conference. We reached Mann and he agreed to come over.

In the meantime, Spiegelglass became very explicit. His words left little doubt in my mind that my own fate depended upon my conduct that night. To his insistent suggestion that I take a hand in organizing the "solution" of the Reiss case, so as to establish my own loyalty in the eyes of Yezhov and Stalin, I finally replied that I would have nothing to do with any such undertaking.

At that moment I realized that my lifelong senice to the Soviet government was ended. I would be unable to meet the demands of Stalin's new era. I did not have within me the faculties required by the Spiegelglasses and the Yezhovs. I could not pass the criminal test now put to those who wished to serve Stalin. I had taken an oath to serve the Soviet Union; I had lived by that oath; but to take an active hand in these wholesale murders was beyond my powers.

I asked Spiegelglass if he had the authority to take over my network, as the situation clearly demanded that I return to Moscow. He answered that this was outside his jurisdiction, and that I had better put the thing up to my superiors directly.

Presently Mann joined us. While we were discussing the Reiss defection all over again Spiegelglass would occasionally absent himself and go to another pavilion, apparently to confer with some other agent. During one of these absences-now after midnightI went to the telephone and put through a call to Reiss at his hotel. As soon as Reiss responded with a "Hello" at the other end, I dropped the receiver. Between one and three o'clock on that morning of July 18, Mann and I made four such telephone calls. They were intended as a warning to Reiss that he was in imminent danger.

Back at my hotel, I expected at eleven the next morning a call from Reiss to arrange for our meeting. My telephone rang at ten. It was Mann. He asked me to come over at once. I told him that I had an appointment within an hour with Reiss.

"You can come over. He won't show up," he said.

Sickened by the idea that Reiss was already murdered , I made a dash by cab to Mann's quarters. Spiegelglass was there.

{p. 223} "He's got away!" he cried. "He left his hotel at seven this morning."

Mann and I exchanged glances. We breathed more easily.

The next morning, Monday, July 19, I received a letter from Reiss bidding me farewell and explaining his action. I put the letter in my pocket after reading it. My friendship for Reiss was well known, and I took it for granted that I would have to go home and face the consequences. I sent a report to Moscow on the whole affair. It is a grave matter in Stalin's service to be an intimate of one who breaks with him, and I knew my refusal to assist in my friend's murder would be regarded by Yezhov and Stalin with no kindly eye. I proposed to return home, and asked for instructions.

At three o'clock in the morning of Tuesday, July 20, I was awakened by a telephone call. It was Spiegelglass.

"Did you receive a letter?" he asked.

I answered sincerely that I did not know what he was talking about, for in my sleepy condition I did not instantly recall the letter that had come from Reiss.

Spiegelglass asked me to meet him at once. I demurred. He insisted it was urgent, and I finally yielded. I dressed hastily and met him at a near-by caf6. Here Spiegelglass asked me specifically if I had received a letter from Reiss. Astonished at his omniscience, I pulled it out of my pocket. He demanded that I let him read it, and asked me to have it photographed right away, which was quite impossible. He wanted a photostat of the letter and I decided to let him have the original.

My situation had grown more complicated. I had received a letter from the "traitor" Reiss, and had failed to notify Spiegelglass immediately. Moreover, I had denied, when first awakened by his telephone call, that I possessed such a letter. This clearly marked me in the eyes of Spiegelglass as an accomplice of Reiss.

I wrote my wife to pack up and come to Paris with the child, in preparation for our return to Moscow. She arrived in Paris at the end of the month, and we established ourselves, under the name of Lessner, at a pension on the Rue des Maronniers, Passy, a wealthy residential district.

{p. 224} On August 10, my recall to Moscow came through. As my Austrian passport under the name of Eduard Miller had expired, a special passport was sent me in the name of a Czechoslovak merchant, Schoenborn. I was to take passage from Le Havre to Leningrad by the French steamer, Bretagne, plying regularly in summer between the two ports.

Sometime before my recall, Spiegelglass had learned from me that a sister of Earl Browder, named Margaret, was one of my operatives. He asked me to assign her to him as he had an "important job" in France, for which he needed especially reliable people. While I do not mean to implicate Miss Browder in the "important jobs" of Spiegelglass which I have described, I think Americans should realize the kind of situation in which they may arrive when they enlist in the service of Stalin.

Now that I was instructed to turn my organization over to Spiegelglass, he asked to meet my leading agents personally, and made a special point of meeting Miss Browder, who was operating on an American passport issued in the name of jean Montgomery.

Miss Browder, a woman in the late thirties, small in stature and of the school-teacher type, had been in the service of the Soviet Military Intelligence for some time. During 1936-37 she worked in Central Europe where she laid the ground for the establishment of our secret radio station. Miss Browder had graduated from our special school in Moscow as a radio operator and she lived abroad in the disguise of a student.

Upon my return from the Soviet Union late in May, I had called her to the Netherlands. We met in the beginning of June in Amsterdam, where she stopped at the Hotel Pays-Bas. As my headquarters were in The Hague, which was too far for frequent meetings, I suggested that she move over to the Scheveningen. She did so., and lived there in June and July, 1937, at the Hotel Zeerest. At the end of July I called her to Paris, where she put up at the Hotel Lutetia, Boulevard Raspail.

An agent of exceptional talent whom I introduced to Spiegelglass, was a young Dutchman, Hans Bruesse, the son of a promi-

{p. 225} nent labor leader. Hans was to play a fateful role in the weeks to come. He had been my most trusted aide in many unusual assignments, and had become an intimate of my family. I was very fond of the youth, and also of his wife, Norah.

I was now preparing to leave for Moscow on August 21, by the steamship Bretagne. From the moment the Reiss affair broke and while I was still at the Hotel Napoleon, I had observed that I was being shadowed. When my wife and child arrived and we moved to the Passy pension, the shadowing became even more assiduous. My wife would notice it even when she took the child for a walk in the park. It was, of course, the work of Spiegelglass. My wife, who was not well, was made worse by these worries, and moreover my child got the whooping cough. When the date of my departure arrived it was clear that I should have to leave my family behind. I made arrangements for them to follow me to Moscow several weeks later.

Bearing a passport under the name of Schoenborn, I arrived around seven P.m. at the Gare St. Lazare to take the eight o'clock train for Le Havre, where I was to board the boat for Leningrad. About ten minutes before parting time, after I had attended to my baggage and already seated myself in the railway coach, the assistant to the Paris agent of the 0GPu rushed in. He told me that a telegram had just come from Moscow with instructions that I remain in Paris. I was incredulous, but a moment later one of my own men, all out of breath, came dashing in with the news of another coded message, similar in content. I asked to see the telegrams, but was told that Spiegelglass had them. I had my baggage removed and got off the train just as it pulled out of the station.

It flashed through my mind that the whole business of my recall had been staged to test me, to see if I really would return to the Soviet Union. In that event, I had passed the test. But I resented that bit of chicanery deeply. A feeling came over me right there that I not only would end my service, but I would never go back to Stalin's Russia.

I registered now at the Hotel Terminus, St. Lazare, as Schoenborn, the Czech merchant whose name I bore. My wife was still

{p. 226} at the pension as Mrs. Lessner. I sent word to her that I had not left after all. That night I walked the length and breadth of Paris, all alone, wrestling with the question whether to go back or not.

During the next days I kept trying to figure out why my departure had been postponed at the last minute. Did Stalin want to give me another chance to show my loyalty? Yet the spying on me was palpably intensified. The evening of August 26 I went with Hans and Norah to the theater to see a farewell performance of Gorki's Enemies, given by a Soviet troupe visiting Paris. We sat in the second row. During the first intermission, a hand touched my shoulder. I turned around. There was Spiegelglass with some companions.

"You can leave tomorrow with these artists on one of our own boats," he counseled me.

I turned upon him angrily and told him not to bother "I'll go when I get ready," I said.

I noticed that Spiegelglass and his associates shortly thereafter disappeared from the theater. I cabled Moscow that I would return with my family as soon as the child recovered.

On August 27 I moved to Breteuil, a couple of hours from Paris, and we lived there quietly for about a week while the child convalesced. On the morning of September 5, opening the Paris Ma,6n, I saw a dispatch from Lausanne, Switzerland, reporting the mysterious murder of a Czechoslovak, Hans Eberhardt. So they got Ignace Reiss! The assassination of Reiss became a celebrated case in Europe and reverberated in the press of America and throughout the world. The Swiss police, assisted by Deputy Sneevliet and the widow of Reiss, did a remarkable piece of investigation lasting many months. The record of the case has been published by Pierre Tesne in Paris in a book entitled LAssassinat d7gnace Reiss. The following facts were established by the police investigations.

On the night of September 4, off the Chamblandes road running from Lausanne, the body of an unknown man about forty years of age was found riddled by machine-gun bullets. There were five bullets in his head and seven in his body. A strand of

{p. 227} gray hair was found clutched in the hand of the dead man. In his pockets were a passport in the name of Hans Eberhardt and a railway ticket for France.

An automobile of American make abandoned on September 6 at Geneva, led to the identification of two mysterious guests, a man and a woman, who had registered on September 4 at the Hotel de la Paix in Lausanne, and had fled without their baggage and without paying their bill. The woman was Gertrude Schildbach, of German nationality, a resident of Rome. She was an OGPU agent in Italy. The man was Roland Abbiat, alias "Francois Rossi,," alias 'Ty,," a native of Monaco,, and one of the Paris agents of the OGPU.

Among the effects left by Gertrude Schildbach at the hotel was a box of chocolate candy containing strychnine-now in the hands of the Swiss police as one of the exhibits in the case. Gertrude Schildbach had been an intimate friend of the Reiss family accustomed to play with Reiss's child. She had lacked the force to give this poisoned candy, as Spiegelglass directed, to the family she was accustomed to visit as a friend.

Gertrude Schildbach herself had been wavering politically since the beginning of the purge, and she could plausibly play the part of one ready to join Reiss in breaking with Moscow. Reiss had known of her waverings and trusted her. He went out with her to dine in a restaurant near Chamblandes to discuss the whole situation. So he thought. After dinner they took a little walk. Somehow they wandered off into an obscure road. An automobile appeared and came to a sudden stop. Several men jumped out of it and attacked Reiss. He fought the attacking band, but with the aid of Schildbach, whose strand of hair was found in his clutch, they forced him into the car. Here one of them, Abbiat-Rossi, as sisted by another, Etienne Martignat, both Paris agents of the OGPU, fired a submachine gun point-blank at Reiss. His body was thrown out of the car a short distance away.

Renata Steiner, born at Saint-Gall, Switzerland, in 1908, was identified as the person who had hired the American-made car employed by the assassins of Reiss. Miss Steiner had been in the OGPU service since 1935, and had been assigned previously to

{p. 228} shadow Sedov, the son of Trotsky. She was one of three accomplices in the assassination of Reiss apprehended by the police. She confessed to her share in the crime, and helped the authorities to solve it.

There was an expensive sequel to the murder. The Swiss authorities demanded the interrogation of Lydia Grozovskaya, and in spite of the terrific pressure from the Soviet Embassy, the French authorities had her examined on December 15. It will be recalled that it was Grozovskaya who had received the letters of Reiss on July 17, and turned them over to Spiegelglass. Two days after her examination she was arrested. The Swiss government demanded her extradition. But once more Stalin's diplomatic hand went to the assistance of his other hand, the hand engaged in secret murder. The French courts gave Grozovskaya her freedom on bail to the amount of 50,000 francs, and upon her signing a pledge not to leave France. Needless to say, she disappeared without a trace. The last sight of Grozovskaya by the French police agents was when she shook them off in a high-powered limousine of the Soviet Embassy.

When I read of Reiss's death on September 5, I realized that my own situation was desperate. Stalin and Yezhov would neyer forgive my refusal to participate in this crime. To them it would mean that I shared Reiss's doubts. I had before me now the choice between a bullet in the Lubianka from Stalin's formal executioners and outside Russia a rain of bullets from a submachine gun in the hands of his informal assassins.

This terrifying dilemma was slowly beginning to dawn upon my wife too. We decided to return to Paris. I was stiff going through the motions of preparing to depart for Moscow. My secretary, Madeleine, found a suitable hotel for us at St. Germain. We registered at the Henri-Quatre.

Here, about the middle of September, my young aide, Hans Bruesse, showed up. He was in great distress. He had received instructions to go to Holland, where Mrs. Reiss was stopping with the Sneevhets, and filch the notes and papers left by Reiss. He had gone, but returned with empty hands. He was urged to go back

{p. 229} and stop at nothing, not even murder, in going after the papers. In despair and with tears in his eyes, he came to me for advice.

I told him that Reiss had been an idealist, a true Communist, and that the future history of the revolutionary and labor movements would condemn the murders of the OGPU. I advised him to sabotage the dangerous errand with which Spiegelglass had entrusted him, and I told him how to do it. But I still spoke of my imminent return to Moscow, and Hans knew that Madeleine was trying to secure tickets for me and my family on the Bretagne.

We moved over from St. Germain to the Hotel Metropolitain, Rue Cambon, in Paris, where we stayed from the seventeenth of September to the sixth of October. Here Madeleine came to report that the French liner had made her last trip of the season. We discussed other ways of getting back home. I was still. a high officer of the Soviet Military Intelligence. I had to cable Moscow for special permission to leave by a Soviet boat, since Soviet boats are carefally scrutinized by the secret services of other nations. I noticed that every step of my own or of my wife's was being dogged by spies, although their master, Spiegelglass, had disappeared.

I received permission from Moscow to take a Soviet boat, and information that the next vessel to leave Le Havre was the Zbdanov, sailing October 6. New passports had to be prepared for me in the name of a Soviet citizen passing through France on the way from Spain. My wife and child were to go back through Germany on a different passport.

One day toward the end of September, my wife asked me what my chances were of escaping death on my return to Moscow.

I told her what I thought: "None."

And I added: "There is no reason why you should be punished on account of me. When you get back, they will. make you sign a paper repudiating me and denouncing me as a traitor. As a reward for this, you and our child will be spared. As for me, it's sure death over there."

My wife began to cry. She hardly stopped crying for weeks after. The chances of escaping with my life from Stalin's assassins

{p. 230} in France were very shm, but I decided to take them. I saw the ray of a new life., and I decided to grope my way toward it. The decision was simple in the abstract, but the concrete difficulties were enormous.

I had no legal papers. My movements were being watched day and night. I had no confidant, no person in whom I could put' absolute trust. I decided to go to an old friend of mine who had been living in Paris many years and take the risk of telling him the whole truth. He listened sympathetically and agreed to help me. He went to the south of France and rented a little villa for us in the small town of Hy&res, near Toulon, returning on October 3. The following day I was called to the Soviet Embassy to complete arrangements for my return to Russia on the Zhdanov, 'sailing October 6. I went over and made all the arrangements.

Early in the morning of the sixth I checked out of my hotel and took a taxi to the Gare dAusterlitz, where I left my baggage. After passing an hour in the Bois de Vincennes, I met my friend in a cafe near the Bastille and gave him the check for my baggage. He had meanwhile engaged a car and chauffeur which was to meet us at the Hotel Bohy-Lafayette. I went directly there, and he went by way of the Gare d'Austerlitz where he picked up my baggage. Our chauffeur turned out to be an American, a World War veteran who had settled in France. He was under the impression that he was taking a family for a vacation trip.

All these movements were precautionary measures designed to throw the OGPU agents off our track. We were expected to leave that day for Le Havre, to board the Soviet ship. Instead , we were headed by motor for Dijon. On the outskirts of Paris I stopped to telephone Madeleine, informing her of my break with the Soviet government. She made no reply when I told her the news. I learned later that she had fainted at the telephone.

We reached Dijon at nine that evening, dismissed the car at the station, and took the train for the C6te dAzur. At seven the following morning we arrived at our hide-out in Hy6res. The same evening our friend returned to Paris to take up the task of getting me the protection of the authorities.

{p. 231} Early in November I came back to Paris. Through the attorney for Mrs. Reiss, I established connections with Leon Sedov, Trotsky's son, who was editing the "Bulletin of the Opposition" and with the leaders of the Russian Menshevik Socialists exiled in Paris. Uon Blum was then in power and they were on the best of terms with his government. I had written to Mrs. Reiss, and also to Hans and Norah, in whom I had implicit confidence, asking them to insert an advertisement in the Paris Oeuvre if they wished to meet me. I believed that Hans would follow me in breaking with Stalin.

When I saw Sedov I told him frankly that I did not come to join the Trotskyites, but for advice and comradeship. He received me cordially, and I saw him thereafter almost daily. I learned to admire this son of Leon Trotsky as a personality in his own right. I shall never forget the disinterested help and comfort he gave me in those days when the Stalin agents were after me. He was still very young, but was exceptionally gifted-charming, well informed, efficient. In the treason trials in Moscow it was said that he received vast sums of money from Hitler and the Mikado. I found him living the life of a revolutionist, toiling all day in the cause of the opposition, in actual need of better food and clothing. Three months later, healthy and in the prime of life, he died suddenly in a Paris hospital. Many people, including his father, thought that the OGPU had a hand in his death.

It was Theodore Dan, the leader of the Russian Socialists, and his associates who arranged with Uon Blum's government to furnish me identification papers and police protection. Before that, however, the OGPU had made its first attempt upon my life.

I had written to Hans that only in case he decided to break with Stalin should he get in touch with me. I received word from him that he was stopping as usual at the Hotel Breton, Rue Duphot, and would be glad to see me. I telephoned, and we made an appointment to meet at a caf6 near the Place de la Bastille. I was at a table in the caf6 when he entered.

"I come in the name of the organization," were almost his first words. I realized instantly that Hans had been cast in the role

{p. 232} of Gertrude Schildbach and that my life was in danger. Although

grievously shocked, for I had deep faith in this youth, I collected my wits quickly and became aware of an unusual group of men at the table next to us. They were smoking Austrian cigarettes-it was a smallpefit boutgeois French caf6-1 felt -very sure they were in the OGPU service.

Hans told me that he had come to Paris intent upon breaking with the service, but that for two days a special commissioner from Moscow had argued with him.5 and had finally convinced him that I was wrong, that everything Stalin did was for the good of the cause.

Hans then began to propagandize me, using all the old arguments so familiar in my own mind. In the circumstances I thought best to pretend that he was making a deep impression on me.

"They know in Moscow that you are not a traitor, not a spy," he said. "You are a good revolutionist, but you are tired. You're breaking under the strain. Perhaps they'll just let you go away and take a good rest. Anyway you are one of us."

So the youth argued.

"Weren't you on the train, all set to go home on August twenty first? You will go back yet. We will take you there. Anyhow, the comnussioner from Moscow understands your problem, and wants to have a good talk with you. You know the man, of course, but I have no right to give you his name."

While Hans talked I watched his hands to see if he were making any signal to the group at the adjoining table. I was in a trap and I was thinking fast. Having but recently abandoned his point of view it was easy for me to say exactly the words Hans wanted me to. I expressed to him my gratification that they had sent such an intelligent man over from Moscow. I displayed great eagerness to meet this man and straighten things out.

"Spiegelglass was just an idiot and a plain thug," I said. "This man you are talking about seems to understand my case perfectly."

Hans and I discussed the proposed conference with the special commissioner. He suggested that I might meet the man in Holland, at the home of his wife's parents, whom I knew very well. I readily agreed, perceiving that the plan was to lure me away

{p. 233} from France which was still seething with the Miller and Reiss cases. Hans seemed happy at his success, and I was sure that I saw him signal to the unpleasant neighbors that all was going well. We fixed a tentative date for the meeting, and I felt that I had outwitted, at least for the first time, the assassins of the OGPU.

Pleading hunger, I invited Hans to go to a good restaurant with me and hailed a passing cab. I noticed that we were not followed, and was well satisfied with my escape. Our lunch was not enjoyable, and it took quite a few cab rides to shake off Hans after we parted. It was even harder to shake off the bitter thought of his betrayal.

I After that happened I appealed to M. Dormoy, the French Socialist Minister of the Interior, revealing my identity and soliciting the protection of his government. I surrendered all my false passports and those of my wife to Theodore Dan for delivery to M. Dormoy, In my appeal to him I referred to my Soviet service from 1919 to 1937, and continued:

"Recent political events in the Soviet Union have completely changed the situation.... Confronted with the choice of going to my death together with all my old comrades or trying to save my life and my family, I have decided not to deliver myself in silence to the Stalin terror....

"I know that a price has been put on my head. The assassins are after me, and they will not spare even my wife or child. I have often risked my life for my cause, but I do not wish to die now for nothing.

"I seek your protection for myself and my family, and your permission to remain in France until I am able to go to another country to earn a living and find independence and security."

In response to my appeal, the Minister of the Interior ordered the Paris police to issue- me a carte Xiden&~, on the basis of which I later secured passports to the United States.

An inspector of police, Maurice Maupin, was assigned to guard me and accompany me to Hy&res, where he would make arrangements for the protection of my family. The Minister of the Interior gave his assurance that his government demanded

{p. 234} nothing of me, and was only interested in seeing to it that no harm should befall me on French territory, since he wished to avoid any further injury to Franco-Soviet relations.

Accompanied by Inspector Maupin, I returned to Hy6res for a brief visit, my destination being known only to half a dozen people in all Paris. We reached Marseilles late Monday evening. The train stopped at the station for half an hour. Another train obstructed my view of the platform. As it pulled out a few minutes after our arrival, I caught sight of Hans Bruesse, wearing a rain coat and walking rapidly toward another man, motioning with his hand.

I cried out to Inspector Maupin: "There are the assassins!" I had recognized in the companion of Hans the familiar figure of Kral, senior lieutenant of the Soviet OGPU. The inspector and I made a dash out of our compartment. On the opposite side of the train., across the tracks, two other men were standing. Hans had either seen my agitation, or heard my cry of alarm, and as Inspector Maupin and I jumped from the train the four men fled with their hands in their pockets. The inspector had pulled out his gun and we gave chase. But when we reached the end of the platform he stopped and commanded me to stand against the wall. Standing guard in front of me, he said:

"My orders are to bring you safely back to Paris. I am not prepared to capture four armed assassins single-handed."

He expressed the belief that they carried hand grenades.

It was midnight, and there were no gendarmes in sight. Hans and his companions got away, and we returned to our compartment. To this day I do not know how the OGPU found out my route and schedule.

Notwithstanding the inspector's opinion, I judge that the plan was to abduct me from the train and take me to a safe place in Marseilles, an ideal city for such an operation, where I could either be kept until the arrival of a Soviet boat, or disposed of more simply.

In December I moved my family from the hide-out in Hy&res, and we took up quarters at the Hotel des Academies, Rue des

{p. 235} Saints Peres, Paris, next door to a police station. The authorities assigned three policemen to guard us. They occupied a room ad)oining ours, working on eight-hour shifts. Day and night, an officer stood guard at the hotel entrance.

During the last treason trial, held in Moscow in March, 1938, French labor journalists urged me to speak out. I gave an interview to Boris Souvarine, formerly on the Executive Committee of the Communist International, now a contributing editor to the Paris Figaro, and to Gaston Bergery, member of the Chamber of Deputies, son-in-law of Leonid Krassin, late Soviet ambassador to Great Britain. M. Bergery, who now edits an independent weekly in Paris, had been one of the first Frenchmen to sponsor the Franco-Soviet alliance, but had been disillusioned by the purge.

I also wrote some articles, interpreting the news from Moscow, for the Sodalist Courier, a magazine published in Paris by the exiled Russian Social Democrats. These articles were reprinted by arrangement in the Sodal Democrat of Stockholm and a paper of the same name in Copenhagen, both official organs of the Socialist parties then in power in Sweden and Denmark. Their publication caused Moscow to file diplomatic protests with the Swedish and Danish governments. These governments replied that in their countries the press was free.

Even in the United States Stalin's long arm of vengeance has tried to reach me. On Tuesday, March 7, 1939, about four in the afternoon, in company with one of the editors of a New York labor paper, I went to a restaurant on 42nd Street, in the vicinity of Times Square. Fifteen minutes after our arrival, three men sat down at a table next to us. I recognized one of them. In our secret service he was known by the nickname of "Jim," but his real name was Sergei Basoff Originally a sailor in the Crimea, a veteran agent of the Soviet Military Intelligence, Basoff had been sent to the United States years ago to serve as a permanent agent here, and for this purpose had become an American citizen.

Knowing the ways of Stalin, I had no doubt that he had entrusted the job of organizing a hunt for me on this side of the

{p. 236} Atlantic to Colonel Boris Bykov. I knew that Bykov was in charge of the Soviet Military Intelligence in the United States, having been assigned to America in the summer of 1936.

My companion and I rose to leave the restaurant hastily, but Basoff caught up with me at the cashier's desk. He greeted me in a most friendly way.

"Did you come to shoot me?" I said.

"No, indeed, this is unofficial. I just want to have a friendly chat with you."

I knew that Gertrude Schildbach and Hans Bruesse had begun their work with these same friendly chats. However, I let Basoff walk with me to a near-by publishing house, where I had a friend. My companion fell behind, and was accosted by the other two men. But they did not dare to enter the building occupied by the publishing house.

My chat with Basoff was about mutual friends in Moscow and in the foreign service. Arrived in my friend's office, I told Basoff that I did not want to see him again, and thought it might be best for him to clear out of the country.

I stayed at the publishing house long after he had left. I stayed until nine in the evening when a group of additional friends, informed by telephone of my predicament, arrived. It was now the theater hour, with plenty of police in the block and no cars parked. I got away safely once more.


(5) Whittaker Chambers describes his meeting with Krivitsky

Whittaker Chambers, Witness, 1952

Witness - 50th Anniversary Edition

Forewords by William F. Buckley Jr.and Robert D. Novak

Regnery Publishing, Washington, 2001

{p. 459} I met Krivitsky with extreme reluctance. Long after my break with the Communist Party, I could not think of Communists or Communism without revulsion. I did not wish to meet even ex-Communists. Toward Russians, especially, I felt an organic antipathy.

But one night, when I was at Levine's apartment in New York, Krivitsky telephoned that he was coming over. There presently walked into the room a tidy little man about five feet six with a somewhat lined gray face out of which peered pale blue eyes. They were professionally distrustful eyes, but oddly appealing and wistful, like a child whom life has forced to find out about the world, but who has never made his peace with it. By way of handshake, Krivitsky touched my hand. Then he sat down at the far end of the couch on which I also was sitting. His feet barely reached the floor. I turned to look at him. He did not look at me. He stared straight ahead. Then he asked in German (the only language that we ever spoke): "Ist die Sowjetregierung eine faschistische Regierung? - Is the Soviet Government a fascist government?"

Communists dearly love to begin a conversation with a key question the answer to which will also answer everything else of importance about the answerer. I recognized that this was one of those questions. On the political side, I had broken with the Communist Party in large part because I had become convinced that the Soviet Government was fascist. Yet when I had to give that answer out loud, instead of in the unspoken quiet of my own mind, all the emotions that had ever bound me to Communism rose in a final spasm to stop my mouth. I sat silent for some moments. Then I said: "Ja, die Sowjehegierung ist eine faschistische Regierung - the Soviet Government is a fascist government." Later on that night, Krivitsky told me that if I had answered yes at once, he would have distrusted me. Because I hesitated, and he felt the force of my struggle, he was convinced that I was sincere.

When I answered slowly, and a little somberly, as later on I sometimes answered questions during the Hiss Case, Krivitsky

{p. 460} turned for the first time and looked at me directly. "Da hast recht, " he said, "und Kronstadt war der Wendepunkt - You are right, and Kronstadt was the turning point." I knew what he meant. But who else for a thousand miles around could know what we were talking about? Here and there, some fugitive in a dingy room would know. But, as Krivitsky and I looked each other over, it seemed to me that we were like two survivors from another age of the earth, like two dated dinosaurs, the last relics of the revolutionary world that had vanished in the Purge. Even in that vanished world, we had been a special breed - the underground activists. There were not many of our kind left alive who still spoke the language that had also gone down in the submergence. I said, yes, Kronstadt had been the turning point.

Kronstadt is a naval base a few miles west of Leningrad in the Gulf of Finland. From Kronstadt during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the sailors of the Baltic Fleet had steamed their cruisers to aid the Communists in capturing Petrograd. Their aid had been decisive. They were the sons of peasants. They embodied the primitive revolutionary upheaval of the Russian people. They were the symbol of its instinctive surge for freedom. And they were the first Communists to realize their mistake and the first to try to correct it. When they saw that Communism meant terror and tyranny, they called for the overthrow of the Communist Government and for a time imperiled it. They were bloodily destroyed or sent into Siberian slavery by Communist troops led in person by the Commissar of War, Leon Trotsky, and by Marshal Tukhachevsky, one of whom was later assassinated, the other executed, by the regime they then saved.

Krivitsky meant that by the decision to destroy the Kronstadt sailors, and by its cold-blooded action in doing so, Communism had made the choice that changed it from benevolent socialism to malignant fascism. Today, I could not answer, yes, to Krivitsky's challenge. The fascist character of Communism was inherent in it from the beginning. Kronstadt changed the fate of millions of Russians. It changed nothing about Communism. It merely disclosed its character.

{endquote} (downoad the full text of Witness at) Whittaker-Chambers-Witness.pdf

(6) Afterword - Who is Vindicated?

- by Peter Myers, August 17, 2019

Is Trotsky vindicated? No, because both Krivitsky and Chambers admitted that the Kronstadt massacre was no different in kind from Stalin's purges. Krivitsky thought that Communism was good up to that point, but Chambers said that Kronstadt "changed nothing about Communism. It merely disclosed its character."

Trotsky and the United Opposition had called for Collectivisation in 1927:

Platform of the Joint Opposition 1927
transcribed in the winter of 2000-2001 by David Walters

But Trotsky condemned Stalin over its implementation; and on eve of World War II, called for an independent Ukraine:

Here is Trotsky's feeling about the soldiers he commanded, from his own autobiography, My Life:

"An army cannot be built without reprisals. Masses of men cannot be led to death unless the army-command has the death-penalty in its arsenal. So long as those malicious tailless apes that are so proud of their technical achievements - the animals that we call men - will build armies and wage wars, the command will always be obliged to place the soldiers between the possible death in the front and the inevitable one in the rear." (hardback p. 351, paperback p. 427) worst.html

Trotsky positioned special troops in the rear, behind his front-line troops, to shoot deserters and stop the front line retreating from battle; that's how the Civil War was won. See Volkogonov on "blocking units": worst.html.

"The weaker the trio {the triumvirate which succeeded Lenin: Kamenev, Zinoviev and Stalin} felt in matters of principle, the more they feared me - because they wanted to get rid of me - and the tighter they had to bolt all the screws and nuts in the state and party system. Much later, in 1925, Bukharin said to me, in answer to my criticism of the party oppression: "We have no democracy because we are afraid of you." (hardback p. 416, paperback p. 508) worst.html.

Karl Kautsky is vindicated, for his criticism of the Bolsheviks' Red Terror, in his book Terrorism and Communism. Both Lenin and Trotsky rebutted it with books of their own.

Trotsky's book originally had the same title as the book of Kautsky to which he was replying, i.e. Terrorism and Communism.

Trotsky's book was published in London in 1920, by the Labor Publishing Company and George Allen & Unwin. These publishers gave it the title The Defence of Terrorism (DoT), to distinguish it from Kautsky's book.

A second British edition was published in 1935, with the same name, The Defence of Terrorism. The text remained the same, except for a new Introduction by Trotsky. This book includes a note, at the front, by Trotsky, explaining that the title was given by the publishers. The page numbering is the same as that of the 1920 edition.

An American edition, titled Dictatorship vs. Democracy (DvD), was published in New York in 1922, by Workers Party of America. The page numbering is different from the British editions.

Here are some points Trotsky made:

"But terror can be very efficient against a reactionary class which does not want to leave the scene of operations. Intimidation is a powerful weapon of policy, both internationally and internally. War, like revolution, is founded upon intimidation. A victorious war, generally speaking, destroys only an insignificant part of the conquered army, intimidating the remainder and breaking their will. The revolution works in the same way: it kills individuals and intimidates thousands. In this sense, the Red Terror is not distinguishable from the armed insurrection of which it is the direct continuation." (DoT p. 58, DvD p. 55)

"The terror of Tsardom was directed against the proletariat. The gendarmerie of Tsardom throttled the workers who were fighting for the Socialist order. Our Extraordinary Commissions shoot landlords, capitalists, and generals who are striving to restore the capitalist order. Do you grasp this ... distinction? Yes? For us communists it is quite sufficient." (DoT p. 59, DvD p. 56)

"During war all constitutions and organs of the State and of public opinion become, directly or indirectly, weapons of warfare. This is particularly true of the Press. No government carrying on a serious war will allow publications to exist on its territory which, openly or indirectly, support the enemy. Still more so in a civil war. The nature of the latter is such that each of its struggling sides has in the rear of its armies considerable circles of the population on the side of the enemy. In war, where both success and failure are repaid by death, hostile agents who penetrate into the rear are subject to execution." (DoT p. 59, DvD p. 56)

"We are fighting. We are fighting a life-and-death struggle. The Press is a weapon not of an abstract society, but of two irreconcilable, armed and contending sides. We are destroying the Press of the counter-revolution, just as we destroyed its fortified positions, its stores, its communications, and its intelligence system." (DoT p. 61, DvD p. 58)

"But Kautsky goes further to develop his theme. He complains that we suppress the newspapers of the S.R.s {Socialist Revolutionaries} and the Mensheviks, and even - such things have been known - arrest their leaders. Are we not dealing here with "shades of opinion" in the proletariat or the Socialist movement? The scholastic pedant does not see facts beyond his accustomed words. The Mensheviks and S.R.s for him are simply tendencies in Socialism, whereas, in the course of the revolution, they have been transformed into an organization which works in active co-operation with the counter-revolution and carries on against us an open war." (DoT p. 61, DvD p. 58)

"As for us, we were never concerned with the Kantian-priestly and vegetarian-Quaker prattle about the "sacredness of human life". We were revolutionaries in opposition, and have remained revolutionaries in power. To make the individual sacred, we must destroy the social order which crucifies him. And that problem can only be solved by blood and iron." (DoT p. 63, DvD p. 60)

"The man who recognizes the revolutionary historic importance of the very fact of the existence of the Soviet system must also sanction the Red Terror." (DoT p. 64, DvD p. 61)

Apart from Kautsky, Lassalle is vindicated for his promotion of Reformism rather than Revolution as per Marx.

Churchill is vindicated, for comdemning the brutality of the Bolsheviks when H. G. Wells was defending them in 1920-1.

George Orwell is vindicated, for exposing the reality of Stalinism. But he failed to see the tyranny within Trotskyism: he depicted Trotsky as a hero, in his novels Animal Farm and 1984.

Is Western "Democracy" vindicated?

Pearl Harbor was a False-Flag attack. Robert B. Stinnett disclosed the US plan to provoke Japan to fire the first shot, so as to motivate an isolationist US public to join the war against Germany: pearl-harbor.html .

9/11 was also a False Flag attack - a Mossad job to get the West to fight Islam: wtc.html.

All sides have blood on their hands. Or should I say "our hands"?

Communism had some good too. Once Gorbachev had removed the totalitarian aspects, the good aspects remained, e.g. full employment, free education, free medical & hospital services, good public transport, and much greater equality than in the Yeltsin period or in the Thatcherite / Reaganite West.

Valdas Anelauskas, a Lithuanian dissident within the Soviet Union, moved to the United States, and discovered that he'd been duped.

He expressed shock at discovering the REAL America, in his book Discovering America As It Is:

Discovering America As It Is

Valdas Anelauskas

Atlanta: Clarity Press, Inc., 1999

{p. 6} The upper stratum of Soviet "nomenclatura," Communist Party bosses, too, had considerable wealth, but nothing to even compare to that of the American ruling class. ... On the other hand, for those ordinary folks who preferred to live modestly, the Soviet system wasn't so bad. Most people had enough to satisfy all their basic needs.

The Soviets weren't so straightforward with freedom of religion. No religion was directly forbidden in the USSR, but they all were kept in low

{p. 7} profile. The official Soviet ideology promoted atheism. There was a certain lack of religious rights and there was some religious discrimination in the Soviet Union -- though possibly less than is thought by westerners. ... In Lithuania, we still had functioning and open catholic churches in every town, even the smallest towns, and everybody could attend them. I think that the communists had closed or destroyed more churches in Russia than they did in Lithuania for in Russia, there were many large cities that had no church at all. ...

Today, after all these years of living here in the United States, I understand very well that all the bad things which Soviet propaganda told us about America were not, in most cases, lies at all. More than that, the Soviets gave us only a particle of the truth of all the negative sides of how things really are in America. We heard about poverty, homelessness and unemployment, about consumerism and "trash culture," about violent crime and racial conflicts, but their manner of conveying the information was neither believable nor

{p. 24} affective. We couldn't grasp its living reality. At the same time, people in the Soviet Union were watching contraband Hollywood movies or TV "soaps" - usually on video tapes - and thought they could see for themselves how life was in America. It was a whole new thing in the early 1980s. These fictionalized versions were, for us, less clearly propaganda than the Soviet newspaper clippings and hard data. ...

If you compare New York to European or even Canadian cities, it's like a hell on earth. All the big cities in the Soviet Union of twenty years ago - Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev - were completely safe at any time. I remember I could walk safely anywhere at night in Moscow. Now, however, with the introduction of capitalism, we might well expect all of them to be becoming more like New York. They are already many times more dangerous right now than they were just ten years ago and crime has already become a major problem in all the ex-Soviet countries.

Before coming to the United States, I never could even imagine that a human society could be so thoroughly soaked with shameless deception and greed. ...

{p. 27} Although our friends have worked like hinnies, their capitalist dream of material success has faded further and further to the distant horizons. On the other hand, they quickly became culturally Americanized, especially their children. Their two kids stopped speaking Lithuanian after just a couple of years of living here. They became just like American kids, with all the problems that American kids face, due to the noxious influences in their culture. At the age of about thirteen, the girl started to bring boyfriends home to sleep while her parents were out working night shifts. When her father unexpectedly came home once and found her in bed with one, he kicked the boy downstairs - the only natural way of dealing with such a situation in Lithuania.

Well, not in America ... The daughter called the police, and her poor father was arrested immediately. He had to spend over a week in a jail because his wife couldn't afford to bail him out. Finally, the daughter changed her mind and dropped her charges against the father. But she didn't change her views concerning her behavior in general. The attitude of the police likely convinced her it was acceptable to sleep with her American boyfriends as much as she wants, even when her parents are at home, because as a result, her parents are simply afraid to say anything against her behavior. ... such behavior would have been nearly impossible in Lithuania twenty or so years ago. ...

{p. 29} Most working people are much worse off economically today than when they lived in the former system under the rule of Russia. ... To many Lithuanians, the state of affairs in today's Lithuania seems even worse than during the almost fifty years of the Soviet regime. ...

In the interim, we have learned how to survive in America on very little money. ... One of the worst disappointments for me in this country was to see people's total dependency on the private automobile.

{p. 30} The amount of driving necessary to simply exist within this system is stupendous, and terribly expensive. ... Little by little, I became a dissident again, unable to abandon my moral resistance to evil of any kind. ... I soon came to see no difference and to view American capitalism as just as incompatible with humanness as Soviet communism was. ...

{p. 33} There can be no doubt that only a very few people in the former Soviet countries would claim that the communist system was perfect or even good, but perhaps even fewer would say that what they have there now is better. Everyone would agree that the Soviet system had very serious flaws, but in some ways - actually many - yes, it was considerably better than what people have here in America. I'm of the opinion that for the vast majority of working people anywhere, the Soviet system, bad as it was, would have been probably more acceptable than this American version of extreme capitalism, if they had a choice.

One can see now how disillusioned the majority of people in the former Soviet countries are today, after they have tried out the reality of "free markets" on their own backs. Most people that I personally know, my close friends, relatives, and acquaintances who live in post-Soviet countries, including my native Lithuania, acknowledge today that even the Soviet system wasn't so terrible when compared to American-style laissez-faire capitalism.

{end quotes}

Write to me at contact.html.