Andrés Nin 1937
Final Declaration to the Police
Source: Andreu Nin Foundation;
Translated: for Marxists.org by Louise McTavish.
On the 16th June 1937, a group of police officers arrested Andrés Nin in Barcelona. Four declarations made in front of the police in Madrid appeared in judicial documents, the last of which consists of what happened on the 21st June 1937. This final declaration has never been heard and so is a summarized account, with notable omissions, of the life and revolutionary actions of Nin. From the 22nd June, we lose all trace of him. It is known that he was brutally tortured and assassinated by Stalinist agents. Therefore, this text is the last known testament of Andrés Nin. Only his assassins would have been able to add anything more.
On the 21st June 1937, at 3.20pm, the person whose name is given in the margin states that:
- He is a native of Vendrell (in Tarragona) and is 45 years old. He is married to Olga Taréeva, who was born in Moscow. They married officially in Riga in 1930, although they had already been married in Moscow (USSR) in 1922, but at a time when the USSR was not recognised by Spain, and so remarried in Riga so as to obtain validity in Spain.
- He is the son of Manuel and Antonia.
- Both his mother and father worked in the shoemaking industry, and neither of them had any sort of political activity of any kind.
- He began his primary education in Vendrell, and then went on to study at secondary school at the Instituo de Tarragona. He received his higher education at the Normal de Barcelona, where he received a teaching certificate, and went on to become a private tutor for three years.
- His teaching degree ended in 1911, and he began teaching as of the mid-1914 at the Escuela Oranciana in Barcelona, and at the Ateneo Obrero de Barceloneta.
- He lived in Barcelona from 1909, moving there shortly after the “Tragic Week.”
- In 1914, he terminated his work as a teacher to concentrate on journalism, and worked for the “Poble Catalá,” a nationalist, leftist daily newspaper, as well as for the “Revista Pedagógica,” the literary publications of the Instituto de Estudios Catalans.
- His political career started in 1911, when he joined the Socialist Party and became the secretary of Socialist Youth and a member of the Barcelona division.
- The first time that he was arrested was in either 1911 or 1912 (there is no exact record), for being involved in student disturbances in Barcelona. He was released at 5 or 6am, as were all others who had been arrested for causing a riot.
- He was arrested again at the beginning of 1914 for publishing an article entitled “Los Miserables,” in which he defended revolutionary Catalonia. He was put on probation, whilst remaining one of the accused, for either five or six days, or two or three days, he can’t remember very well, before being released, as has already been mentioned. In 1915 and 1916, he went through a period of financial instability, having to give private lessons and occasionally write articles and translations etc. This period lasted until the beginning of 1916, when the poet José Carner, a personal friend of the declarant, helped him to enter into relations with the trading house Tusell Hnos, who sent him to Egypt to organise the exportation of Spanish products to Egypt. He stayed in the country until February 1917, his departure coinciding with the news of a Russian revolution.
- On returning to Spain, the trading house asked him to take a business trip around the Iberian peninsula, and although this time he was not doing any active political work, they remained affiliated. The end of the journey coincided with the prior period of the general strike of 1917, which sparked protests. Whilst passing through Oviedo, he got in contact with the Worker’s centre and maintained discussions with Teodomiro Mendéndez, Isidoro Acevedo, and Manuel Llaneza, amongst other colleagues. He was caught at the general strike in Valladolid, where he was arrested by police whilst drinking coffee. The police searched his room and luggage and released him after 24 hours, believing that he could be arrested for being in the company of a socialist, who was, during that time, Pérez Solís.
- On returning to Barcelona, he decided to cut all ties with business, and recommenced his political and social activities, still with the farthest left wing of the Socialist Party. In his early days, just as in 1913 to 1916, he worked very actively at the weekly newspaper “Social Justice,” the furthest left newspaper that the Socialist Party published at the time.
- He carried on with his socialist life with incidents common to a hectic political life.
- His next arrest occurred in January 1920, when he was arrested for a lockout and for being caught in an illegal meeting of all the union delegates of the CNT in Cataluña, who were the head of the Liberal Professions Trade Union. He stayed in jail for 6 months.
- A total of 62 people were arrested for the same offense.
- They were arrested using equipment of the ex-guardia civil, the police, and parts of the alarm service. He suspects that the informant could have been a metal worker, according to rumours from those detained, although he does not remember his name.
- Those detained were some of the last to appear in court and gave their governing prisoner position. He, like the others arrested, was realeased by the governor, who replaced the former Count Salvatierra, with whom he interviewed Teodomiro Menéndez. As it is understood, he was interviewed to process his release and to release governor Bas. After overcoming much resistance, according to what Bas, who was chief of the Arlegui Police, has said, despite having given the governor orders to free him, the Arlegui police did not comply.
- When he was released, he was arrested by the police and taken to Arlegui. After after a few warnings, he was released the following day.
- He carried on with his political life and left Spain in May 1921 to run the Constitutional Congress of the International Labor Union. He started working in Berlin in the office of the Labor Trade Unions of Central Europe, in either the beginning or middle of 1921. He was arrested in mid-September in the house where he was staying by the German police force. He believes he was arrested by the political squad, and he stayed in prison until the 5th or 6th of January.
- He supposes that his arrest arose from the betrayal of a woman from Bavaria, who was the link between himself and the German Communist Party. He was unable to remember her name, but became certain of her when he subsequently saw a publication referring to agents provocateurs, in which numerous photographs appeared. In one these photos, he saw the woman who was between 30 and 35 years of age, of medium height, dark-skinned, lean, and with a hysterical appearance. The edition of the book in question presented her as one of many agents provocateurs from Bavaria, and was edited by the German Communist Party. Even though he doesn’t remember perfectly, he believes he was introduced to her by his colleague Max Zieze, to establish a link. This particular colleague was the one who kept the closest relationship with the declarant.
- When he was released, he was thrown out of Germany and was put on a boat that took him back to Russia.
- The reason for his arrest in Germany was because of an extradition request coming from the Spanish government, because of Eduardo Dato’s attack, which occurred one month before he left Spain for Moscow. So as not to be extradited, he carried out a large number of public acts in Berlin, asking them not to accept the petition from the Spanish government.
- The passport that he used to enter Germany was a fake and under a false name. It was a Belgian passport, and showed a last name that corresponded to the German translation of the word “watchmaker.” No checks were made when the passport was issued, and as already mentioned, he returned to Russia in January. There he continued his political activities as the secretary of the International Labor Union, a member of the Communist Party, representative of the International Labour Union in the Executive Committee of the International Labour Union, member of the Moscow Soviet. He did not move to Russia until the end of 1924, the year in which he went to Italy as a representative of the International to organise jobs and fake passport for the organization. He left again as a Belgian citizen and returned with this same passport until he got to Vienna, where he swapped identities with a Russian named Korolioff, who was listed as an assistant of the diplomatic couriers.
- He went to Italy in order to learn perfect Italian. During his stay, he wasn’t harassed by the police and came back to Russia for March 1924, as already mentioned. He left again in December 1925 to go to Paris on a special mission for the organisation. He was arrested upon leaving the premises of the Unitarian Work Confederation, and had his passport (including the false one which belonged to a Swiss national) confiscated. When he was seen before the Police magistrate’s court, he was sentenced to a month in jail, and was deported. He returned once again to Russia with a Russian passport that the Soviet embassy gave him with his real name.
- He suspects that this arrest was provoked by a complaint that came from a Spanish citizen, since the superintendent that arrested him knew his full name as well as the activities that had taken place in Spain, and in Barcelona to be more specific, which indicates that the agent provocateur had given all of the details that he knew of his life. He does not know who this person was exactly.
- Once he had returned to Russia, he stayed there until he was thrown out of the Party in 1927, although he stayed in the Soviet Union until 1930. He was arrested in 1930 in Moscow on the same day as his departure to Spain. He was detained for a period of three or four hours until he was put on the train and accompanied to the border.
- He remembers that when he was arrested in Berlin, it coincided with the arrest of Luis Nicolau, one of the accused in the Dato affair. This was the only occasion when his arrest coincided with the arrest of someone else.
- He doesn’t remember meeting any agent provocateurs, but he may have heard on Valdoncella Street in Barcelona in 1919 that a president of the Mechanic’s Union, who had previously been a Free Trade Union informant, had been killed by gunshot.
- He came to Spain between the 18th and 20th of September 1930, continuing his revolutionary activities as a militant of the Communist Opposition of the Left, who directed Trotsky. He maintained a direct relationship with them, and was arrested December, two months after his arrival in Spain. He stayed in a government prison for two months. He remembers that no one did anything to free him and that he later resumed his activities, giving numerous conferences and writing many literary works, especially translations from Russian.
- He was arrested again in 1932, he thinks in April or March but he does not remember exactly, on the premises of the Communist Left together with some other colleagues. Amongst the colleagues he remembers, were Enrique Fernandez, known by his alias Ferson, José Metge, Molins and Fabrega, Carlota Durany, Francisco de Cabo, although there were others that he cannot remember. All of these people were members of the Communist Left, and were detained for 15 days without being prosecuted.
- In the same year he was arrested on the 25th December and was complained about by a military judge from Algeciras, it is thought for the crime of sedition excitation. He was transferred from Barcelona to Algeciras at the beginning of 1933, where he was kept prisoner until the 14th or 15th of March, before being released on bail for two thousand pesetas. He stayed in Algeciras until the beginning of May, as he was not allowed by the judge to leave until the lawsuit was sent to plenary proceeding.
- He was arrested after being caught possessing a letter which belonged to a soldier named Manuel Tenorio, written by aforementioned person. The charges were later dropped to give way to amnesty granted by the Lerroux-Gil Robles government in 1933, believing that the finding of the letter was a fortunate accident of the activities of Tenorio. No other person was investigated.
- Apart from his arrests, he went through various trials for print and speech crimes, without being arrested for any of them.
- He was not arrested again until the 16th in the POUM’s executive committee
- He is referring to the 16th day of the current month
- With regards to his stay in Barcelona during the revolutionary events of May, he also remembers that on the 4th, 6th and 7th of that month, he drank coffee in the evening at the bar of a café called Sicoris, which is situated on the Plaza del Teatro, where he entered by the side door as it was closed.
- After 1934, he severed all ties with Trotsky, although he may have received a letter from him after this date, but addressed to the department, or perhaps to him personally and in a formal tone.
- He repeats himself once again, that that has nothing to do with the subject of espionage that he has been charged with.
- He has nothing else to say and what he has said is true, signing as proof of this, with the date mentioned above.
Signed: Andrés Nin.