Leon Trotsky

Fifth Session

April 13, 1937, at ten o’clock a.m.

DEWEY: I regret that because of indisposition. Mr. Finerty, the lawyer for the Commission, will not be able to be here this morning.

We hope he will be able to be here this afternoon. We think, however, in view of the shortness of time, it would not be well to postpone the hearing. So, we regret his absence very much this morning.

GOLDMAN: I ask leave of the Commission to place Mr. Jan Frankel on the witness stand for about ten minutes or so, to testify concerning matters which Mr. Trotsky has already testified to.

DEWEY: All right.

JAN FRANKEL was called as a witness in behalf of Mr. Trotsky, and testified as follows:

By Goldman

Q. What is your name?

A. Jan Frankel.

Q. Where do you live?

A. Where did I live?

Q. Where do you live?

A. Coyoacan, Mexico.

Q. What is your profession?

A. I am a translator.

GOLDMAN: What connection have you with Mr. Trotsky?

FRANKEL: I am his political follower, a member of the international organization, the Fourth International, and occupied here as secretary and collaborator.

GOLDMAN: You are then his chief Secretary, or just one of the secretaries?

FRANKEL: We have no hierarchy.

GOLDMAN: You are one of the secretaries?


GOLDMAN: Since when have you been a secretary for Trotsky?

FRANKEL: I was with Trotsky from April 1930 to January 1932, in Turkey.

GOLDMAN: And then?

FRANKEL: Then I was – from then I am connected with Trotsky even when I am out of his house.

GOLDMAN: I want to know when you served as secretary.

FRANKEL: From April 1930 to January 1932, and then in Norway, from June 1935 until the end of October 1935, and here in Mexico from February 18th, beginning February 18th.

GOLDMAN: You were connected with Trotsky as his secretary at the time he made the trip from Turkey to Copenhagen?

FRANKEL: Yes, I had the direct responsibility for all the technical arrangements of his trip.

GOLDMAN: You said you were his secretary to 1932.

FRANKEL: That is a mistake – 1933.

GOLDMAN: You want to correct yourself, then?


GOLDMAN: Did you take the trip to Copenhagen with Mr. Trotsky?


GOLDMAN: Who else was on the trip beside you and Mr. Trotsky?

FRANKEL: From Copenhagen?

GOLDMAN: From Turkey.

FRANKEL: From Turkey until Marseilles were three: Pierre Frank, a French friend, Oscar, a German friend, and myself.

GOLDMAN: And from Marseilles?

FRANKEL: From Marseilles we went by car to Lyon, together with Henri Molinier.

GOLDMAN: At Marseilles a friend of Mr. Trotsky by the name of Molinier joined you?

FRANKEL: And two Americans; the American Field and his wife were on the ship. They were more or less ―

GOLDMAN: Wasn’t Mr. Trotsky’s wife on the ship?


GOLDMAN: When you left the boat at Marseilles, where did you go?

FRANKEL: We stopped. We did not leave the boat in the port of Marseilles. We stopped before Marseilles, and we went out in a motor boat. In this motor boat were Henri Molinier and a commissioner of Sûreté Générale. [1]

GOLDMAN: You mean an officer of the Sûreté Générale?

FRANKEL: At the time it was Sûreté Générale now it is Sûreté Nationale.

GOLDMAN: From Marseilles, where did you go?

FRANKEL: We went to an isolated place near Marseilles, and there one friend Deshin and one named Buren were waiting for us.

GOLDMAN: Where did you go?

FRANKEL: We were going to Lyon to join friends.

GOLDMAN: And from there?

FRANKEL: From there we went by railroad to Paris, in the company of a director of the Sûreté Générale.

GOLDMAN: When was that? During what month of the year?

FRANKEL: It was in November, the 21st.

GOLDMAN: Of what year?

FRANKEL: Of 1932.

GOLDMAN: And then, from Paris, for Copenhagen?

FRANKEL: Yes. We arrived in the Gare de Lyon and were conducted directly, in the company of many detectives, to the Gare du Nord, and there Trotsky was waiting in a room with police, for his departure by train to Dunkerque. In France we had good service. We organized a very strong service of safety, even with a little opposition by Trotsky.

GOLDMAN: Will you kindly answer my question. From Dunkerque you went to Copenhagen?


GOLDMAN: Do you know Mr. Trotsky’s son, Leon Sedov?

FRANKEL: I lived with him from April 1930 until February 1931 in the same house.

GOLDMAN: You mean from April 1930 to February 1931?

FRANKEL: In the same house.


FRANKEL: In Prinkipo.

GOLDMAN: At the time that you were either on the boat from Turkey to Marseilles or in the car from Marseilles to that small town, or in the railroad from that small town to Paris, and from Paris to Dunkerque, or from Dunkerque to Copenhagen, did you see Sedov?


GOLDMAN: When did you arrive in Copenhagen?

FRANKEL: We arrived in Copenhagen in the evening, at night, of November 23rd.

GOLDMAN: Of what year?

FRANKEL: Of 1932.

GOLDMAN: Where did you go to when you arrived in Copenhagen?

FRANKEL: We left the train near Copenhagen and went together with Boeggild, the representative of the Danish students, and with Pierre Naville, who was waiting for us, and Mr. Trotsky and his wife – together we went to Copenhagen to the Rathaus Place, Raymond Molinier had at the same time prepared the place where we stayed in Copenhagen.

GOLDMAN: Molinier, then, prepared the place where you stayed in Copenhagen?


GOLDMAN: Did you go to the place at that time?

FRANKEL: We went directly from the City Hall Place to this little villa. The address was Dalgas Boulevard, I believe No.16.

GOLDMAN: How many rooms were there in that villa?

FRANKEL: On the ground floor there were two rooms, a kitchen, and a little vestibule. In this vestibule was the telephone.

GOLDMAN: Where was Mr. Trotsky staying?

FRANKEL: Mr. Trotsky was staying on the first floor.

GOLDMAN: That is, the first floor on top of the ground floor?


GOLDMAN: That is what you mean by the first floor?


GOLDMAN: How many rooms were there?

FRANKEL: Three rooms. One bedroom for Trotsky and his wife, one bedroom for, I believe, two women friends of his. One was Jeanne Martin des Pallières, and the other – the wife of Sedov. The other, I think, was Julien’s wife, the Italian friend. He was all the time in the house or around the house. The third room was a very small room, with a table and divan.

GOLDMAN: How large were the rooms?

FRANKEL: I don’t remember the two bedrooms, because I believe I was never in the rooms.

GOLDMAN: Were you ever in the room that Mr. Trotsky was working in?


GOLDMAN: How large was that room?

FRANKEL: I believe, almost three or four meters.

GOLDMAN: Three or four meters wide, and long?

FRANKEL: Wide and long.

GOLDMAN: Approximately the Same width as the length?

FRANKEL: Yes, I believe so.

GOLDMAN: Three or four meters would be, approximately?

FRANKEL: I cannot give you the mathematical precision.

GOLDMAN: I am not asking for mathematical precision. I am asking you to translate meters into feet.

BEALS: It will be about four yards.

GOLDMAN: From your knowledge, what can you say with reference to the public knowledge of the whereabouts of this place where you were living?

FRANKEL: The place I lived in, or Mr. Trotsky lived in, was known only to Mr. Boeggild.

GOLDMAN: Who is Mr. Boeggild?

FRANKEL: Mr. Boeggild was a Social Democrat of Denmark, about forty or forty-five years old. He was at the same time a student and a business man. He was very good connections – had very good connections with the Soviet Ambassador. He was a personal friend of Kopensky.

GOLDMAN: How did he happen to be in touch with Mr. Trotsky and you?

FRANKEL: He was the representative of the organization which invited Trotsky to give the lecture.

GOLDMAN: That organization was some student body?


GOLDMAN: He was the representative of that student body?

FRANKEL: The leader, or the second one.

GOLDMAN: Did you say he was about forty years old?

FRANKEL: I believe about forty years old, or forty-five.

GOLDMAN: But he was a student, anyway?

TROTSKY: He was a former student, a former theology student at the university.

GOLDMAN: We will assume that even a man of forty years can study. Now, you have a list ―

FRANKEL: If you permit me, I didn’t finish the answer to your question.

GOLDMAN: Then finish.

FRANKEL: Our address only went out to our closest friends. I gave their names on my affidavit. I had the task to assure the guard in the house of Mr. Trotsky.

GOLDMAN: There was a guard, then, in the house? Composed of what people?

FRANKEL: We concentrated about twenty-five or thirty friends from different countries, in order to assure a guard in the house and also a guard during the lecture of Mr. Trotsky.

GOLDMAN: Now, when you get into ―

FRANKEL: Excuse me; I didn’t finish.

GOLDMAN: I see. I am not in a hurry.

FRANKEL: This is the second part, the people who knew the address of Trotsky. Then, the director of the Danish police had knowledge of this place.

TROTSKY: The chief.

FRANKEL: The chief; but nobody else. The first time no police were in the house, in order to avoid any attention.

GOLDMAN: Where did these guards stay?

FRANKEL: Some of them in different hotels, and about five or six were every day and night in the house of Mr. Trotsky.

GOLDMAN: You mean, they lived there?

FRANKEL: There was a relief.

GOLDMAN: Then you mean that these friends of Trotsky who constituted the guard for him lived in different places and came there during the day for a certain number of hours and during the night, to stand guard?


GOLDMAN: Then I will ask you this, was any visitor, outside of the friends of Trotsky whom you enumerated in your statement, such as Mr. Boeggild – did any visitors come to see Mr. Trotsky?

FRANKEL: Yes. First I must say that my list is not complete. I see by the affidavits that I forgot one name, Erik Kohn, from Hamburg, and the Englishman, Wicks.

GOLDMAN: I am referring now to the list which was introduced into evidence and marked Exhibits Nos.15 and 16. You say you forgot some names?

FRANKEL: Yes, I gave in this list only the names I had in my memory during the writing of this affidavit.

GOLDMAN: You want to add names to this list?

FRANKEL: No; these names are listed by other friends, the affidavits of other friends.

GOLDMAN: You know now there were others?

FRANKEL: One named Erik Kohn and one named Wicks, an Englishman. Then, Mr. Falk – no, I quoted him in my affidavit.

GOLDMAN: Now, to the best of your knowledge or recollection, can you say whether there were any other people who came to visit Trotsky, outside of the people whose names you gave in the affidavit and whose names you just now added?

FRANKEL: I believe it was on November 25th, Mr. Trotsky received a delegation from the organization of the students.

GOLDMAN: The student body?

FRANKEL: Yes. It was Mr. Boeggild, and then Mr. Jensen. I believe he was formerly the chairman of this union. I don’t remember if there was a third one. But I will remark that Mr. Trotsky was forced to receive these people on the ground floor because the room on the first floor was too little to receive more than two or three, two people. Then I remember a visit of a delegation of students, I believe after the lecture of Mr. Trotsky. The list is joined on the document. The list was elaborated by Mr. Boeggild, together with me and Mr. Molinier.

GOLDMAN: Would it be possible for anyone to see Mr. Trotsky without your knowledge?

FRANKEL: Absolutely impossible.

GOLDMAN: Everyone who came to see Mr. Trotsky was first presented to you?

FRANKEL: The decision about any visit was submitted for a collective decision of Mr. Trotsky, myself and Mr. Molinier. And only after such a decision, we gave the address to the people.

GOLDMAN: Now, how long did you stay in Copenhagen?

FRANKEL: We were in Copenhagen from November 23rd until the morning of December 2nd.

GOLDMAN: During that time do you remember ever permitting anyone by the name of Holtzman to enter, or to visit Mr. Trotsky?


GOLDMAN: Do you remember seeing a man by the name of Holtzman?


GOLDMAN: In Copenhagen, at Mr. Trotsky’s villa?


GOLDMAN: Do you remember seeing at the villa where Mr. Trotsky was staying anyone by the name of Fritz David?


GOLDMAN: Did any such man ask permission to visit Mr. Trotsky?


GOLDMAN: Did Holtzman ask permission to visit Trotsky?


GOLDMAN: Did anyone by the name of Berman-Yurin ask to visit Trotsky?


GOLDMAN: Do you remember seeing such a man? Do you remember seeing anyone by the name of Berman-Yurin at the villa?


GOLDMAN: Now, did you see L. Sedov at Mr. Trotsky’s villa, at the villa where you were staying?

STOLBERG: Did Berman-Yurin claim to have seen Trotsky?


GOLDMAN: Berman-Yurin, David and Holtzman – these three claim to have been there and talked to him. Do you remember seeing Leon Sedov at the place where you were staying with Mr. Trotsky?


GOLDMAN: Was Mrs. Sedov with them there?


GOLDMAN: When did she arrive, do you remember?

FRANKEL: I am not sure, I believe she arrived one or two days later than we. But I am not absolutely sure.

GOLDMAN: Did she live with you?

FRANKEL: Yes, she lived on the first floor.

GOLDMAN: She lived with you in that house?


GOLDMAN: Did you talk to Sedov at all?


GOLDMAN: How did you conduct your conversation?

FRANKEL: Sedov was naturally very anxious about the whole situation, and for that reason I had many telephone calls with him to Berlin.

GOLDMAN: You bad many telephone conversations? You personally had?

FRANKEL: I personally, yes.

GOLDMAN: Did you recognize his voice over the phone?


GOLDMAN: How many telephone conversations did you have with him?

FRANKEL: I believe that I had, until the lecture of Mr. Trotsky, about four conversations, three or four conversations.

GOLDMAN: All the time that you were in Copenhagen from November 26th to December 2nd?

FRANKEL: November 23rd.

GOLDMAN: From November 23rd to December 2nd, you didn’t see Sedov there?

FRANKEL: No, I heard only his voice over the telephone.

GOLDMAN: When did you first see Sedov, Trotsky’s son?

FRANKEL: I first saw him on December 5th in Paris in the Gare du Nord.

GOLDMAN: That is a railroad station?

FRANKEL: Yes, in Paris.

GOLDMAN: That is a railroad station?

FRANKEL: The station we arrived at from Dunkerque.

GOLDMAN: He was waiting there?


GOLDMAN: Did you have a chance to talk with him there?


GOLDMAN: What did he say with reference to his attempts to see his father and mother in Copenhagen?

FRANKEL: I believe we had no conversation about it, because it was generally known to us.

GOLDMAN: Did you have any conversation ―

FRANKEL: I had conversations about this in Copenhagen.

GOLDMAN: With whom did you have these conversations?

FRANKEL: Principally with him.

GOLDMAN: With him when you were talking over the phone?


GOLDMAN: About when? Tell us about that.

FRANKEL: Denmark gave a visa to Mr. and Mrs. Trotsky. I did not need any visa.

GOLDMAN: You are now referring to Leon Trotsky and Natalia Trotsky?

FRANKEL: Yes. Then we received in Stamboul a visa for the little boy Syeva Wolkov.

TROTSKY: My grandson.

GOLDMAN: Also for Mr. Trotsky’s grandson?

FRANKEL: He left a couple of days after we. He remained in France and did not go to Copenhagen. We received permission for him to stay in France.

GOLDMAN: Are you referring to Sedov’s son?

FRANKEL: No, it is the son of the daughter of Trotsky.

GOLDMAN: Sedov has no children?

FRANKEL: He has children, but in Russia.


GOLDMAN: Trotsky’s son has a son in Russia?


GOLDMAN: We have got to make it clear. You are now referring to the son of one of Trotsky’s daughters?


GOLDMAN: You received a visa for him to go to Copenhagen?

FRANKEL: In Stamboul.

GOLDMAN: Now, please tell me the conversation you had with Sedov over the phone with reference to Sedov’s attempts to get to Copenhagen. Confine yourself to that.

FRANKEL: We had in principal an agreement with the Danish Government to allow the visit of Leon Sedov for eight days, like Mr. Trotsky. They asked, as they asked from Trotsky, a guarantee to return. So we were forced to ask the Turkish Government for a visa for a return trip.

GOLDMAN: For whom?

FRANKEL: For Mr. Trotsky. That we received. But Sedov was unable to receive this permission.

GOLDMAN: From whom?

FRANKEL: From the German police.

GOLDMAN: The German Government? Did Sedov tell you that he tried to go to Copenhagen?

FRANKEL: That was the matter of our conversation every day.

GOLDMAN: Did he also tell you that he could not get a visa?

FRANKEL: He could not get a visa because at that time he lived formally in Germany without permission.

GOLDMAN: How did that happen?

FRANKEL: The permission – the police gave every couple of months the permission to stay in Germany. In the last months he had difficulties to receive a renewal of the permission.

GOLDMAN: Have you the paper explaining that?

FRANKEL: He received a renewal only to January 2nd, so on this moment he would be able to go to Denmark, if the Danish Government would be ―

GOLDMAN: Let me ask you this: Sedov’s permission to remain in Germany expired when?

FRANKEL: Expired November 1st.

GOLDMAN: Sedov’s permission to remain in Germany expired November 1st, 1932?


GOLDMAN: Look at this document (referring to the document explaining the nature of the photostatic copy of the passport) and tell us when Sedov received permission from the German Government to remain in Germany subsequent to November 1, 1932, at the time when the permission to remain expired.

FRANKEL: Would you mind if I correct something? He received permission not on January 2nd, but December 3rd until January 2nd.

GOLDMAN: Now listen carefully. He received permission on December 3rd?

FRANKEL: The right to stay in Germany was granted December 3, 1932, good until January 2nd.

GOLDMAN: So, between November 1, 1932, to December 3, 1932, he had no permission to remain in Germany?

FRANKEL: Yes, and for that reason, no permission to go back to Germany.

GOLDMAN: So that he needed permission to return to Germany?


GOLDMAN: When did he receive permission to return to Germany?

FRANKEL: December 3rd.

GOLDMAN: Now, do you know the circumstances under which he received permission to return to Germany?

FRANKEL: I believe it was the work of his lawyer, Mr. Cohn. He was also in Copenhagen in order to meet Mr. Trotsky.

GOLDMAN: Did he have anything to do with the telegrams to Herriot, the Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time?

FRANKEL: I believe – I don’t remember exactly – I believe it was done by Pierre Naville and Gérard Rosenthal, French friends.

GOLDMAN: Now, do you remember Natalia, Mr. Trotsky’s wife, sending a telegram to Herriot requesting permission for her son to enter France?

FRANKEL: In the moment when we had knowledge that Sedov received the permission to stay in Germany and also to go back to Germany.

GOLDMAN: Will you look in your file and give us copies of the telegrams that Natalia Trotsky sent to Herriot and the telegram Herriot sent to the French Consul in Berlin?

FRANKEL: Yes. (Hands telegrams to Attorney Goldman.)

GOLDMAN: These are the documents, these are the copies of the telegrams, one sent by Natalia Sedov Trotsky to Herriot – is the date there?

FRANKEL: No, but this is the original copy from the Minister. We received the copy from the Office of Foreign Affairs.

TROTSKY: It is the specific manner of the French Office to indicate it.

GOLDMAN: There are numbers here, but you don’t know exactly what these numbers refer to?


GOLDMAN: And then the date of the telegram from Herriot to the Minister, or the French Consul in Berlin, is December 3, 1932.

DEWEY: Where will the original of this be verified?

GOLDMAN: Mr. Dewey, the chairman of the Commission, asks where the originals of these telegrams are.

FRANKEL: The originals are in the Foreign Office in Paris. These copies were received by the intervention of Mr. Trotsky’s lawyer, Gerard Rosenthal, in Paris.

GOLDMAN: The sub-commission in Paris will be able to investigate the originals in Paris.

BEALS: These are not certified.

GOLDMAN: Now, you first saw Sedov then, at the time, in the railroad station in Paris?


BEALS: What date was that?


FRANKEL: It was, I believe, December 5th, right after our arrival from Dunkerque.

GOLDMAN: And Sedovs passport contains no allusion at all, no visa granted him to go to Copenhagen?


GOLDMAN: But it does have a visa permitting him to go to Paris?

FRANKEL: Yes. I must add, I was together with Mr. Boeggild to the Danish Minister of Justice, who also has a right to give visas, in order to get a prolongation of the stay of Mr. Trotsky, but I did not even ask for or mention Sedov because we saw that it was not possible for him to come.

GOLDMAN: Then I repeat this question: During the time that you were in Copenhagen, you at no time saw Sedov, but you talked with him over the phone in Berlin?


GOLDMAN: And the first time you saw him was December 5th or thereabouts, in Paris?


GOLDMAN: If the Commissioners would like to cross examine Mr. Frankel at this time it will be best, because I don’t want to put him on the stand any more after Mr. Trotsky resumes.

DEWEY: I have one question. Can you recall whether Mr. Trotsky saw visitors alone, or was it in the presence of someone else?

FRANKEL: If visitors were alone with him?

DEWEY: Did he see them alone, or was somebody else with him?

FRANKEL: Some visitors had conversations with Mr. Trotsky alone, but before they entered the room of Mr. Trotsky they were forced to pass by the guard of five or six people on the ground floor. After they entered their person was identified, then somebody of us near the first-floor entrance to Mr. Trotsky announced that such and such a man arrived. After that he entered.

BEALS: Did Mr. Trotsky leave the house at all in Copenhagen, while he was there?

FRANKEL: Yes. Never alone. He was by some friends. I remember the first conference of some ―

TROTSKY: The lecture.


TROTSKY: The meeting.

FRANKEL: A meeting with some intellectuals in the house of Mr. Boeggild. We have a list here. This meeting was also prepared in a very detailed manner between Mr. Boeggild and me. They consisted of students. (Witness hands list to the Commission.) That was the last meeting of Mr. Trotsky in the house of Boeggild. Then I remember ―

BEALS: Were these made in Copenhagen at the time, or made ―

FRANKEL: Yes, it is written by Mr. Boeggild.

TROTSKY: He is dead now.

FRANKEL: He is dead, but his wife can verify it, Mr. Beals.

TROTSKY: May I say something?

GOLDMAN: Just one moment.

FRANKEL: Then I remember once or twice Mr. Trotsky was on a trip to see the town, only in a car. He did not leave the car. The driver was once Mr. Molinier. The second time, I believe, it was to a relative of Mr. Boeggild. I remember also a visit to the movies, after his – after Mr. Trotsky’s lecture, in the newsreels. We went to see the speech of Mr. Trotsky. We were about fifteen people, I believe, on this visit. Then, naturally, his visit, his lecture before the students, was organized in a very scientific manner.

STOLBERG: Where did the lecture take place?

FRANKEL: In a public hall. Mr. Trotsky entered from another side. He was forced to walk about ten minutes through a stadium in the night. People were waiting for Mr. Trotsky at the entrance, and we entered through the other side. He was accompanied by five people. Before this lecture Mr. Trotsky was in the Telephone Center in order to speak to New York, in order to have his radio speech to New York. There he met only one stranger. He was the agent of the broadcasting company from London.

And, then, Mr. Trotsky made a short speech for the newsreel, for the Fox Movietone. And, also, a short propaganda speech, about ten minutes in French and ten minutes in German, which took place in the apartment of Mr. Boeggild’s brother-in-law, Mr. Lemberg Moelle.

One day, Mr. Trotsky – or one night, I believe – was out of the house because we had the impression that some journalists found our address. He was taken to a little pension. He was not alone. He was conducted by Mr. Molinier, one German, Oscar, and his French lawyer, Gûrard Rosenthal. That is all I remember. But he was never out alone.

BEALS: Are these people you have mentioned – you know them all well? None of them could have been Holtzman, Berman-Yurin or Fritz David under another name?

FRANKEL: Absolutely not.

BEALS: If, for instance, Mr. Trotsky had seen Holtzman, would your loyalty to Mr. Trotsky prevent you from telling the Commission that fact?

FRANKEL: I can say one thing: The basis of my collaboration with Mr. Trotsky is my political solidarity with his conceptions. His conceptions are Marxist conceptions. Employing individual terror as a method of the class struggle was never a matter of discussion, and if Mr. Trotsky would propose to do it, I can say, and I believe also not only myself, I would become his most natural enemy.

BEALS: My question is: If, for instance, Mr. Holtzman had seen him – I am not saying he did. I said, if he had seen Trotsky and you knew of that, would your loyalty to Mr. Trotsky prevent you from telling about that fact?

FRANKEL: No. I can say I also had the impression first that Holtzman was the same as Senin. May I refer to some friends who were in Copenhagen and say exactly the conversation they had with Senin? I believe we had no reason to hide the presence of these people.

BEALS: I have just a very short question. The passport of Sedov which you have shown us, is that a German passport?

FRANKEL: Yes, a German passport. It is a passport without ―

TROTSKY: A foreigner’s.

FRANKEL: A “Fremden” passport. A passport for strangers.

BEALS: Does it contain a photostatic visa for France, I mean, and an entry stamp for France?

FRANKEL: Yes, here it is. (Indicating it to Beals.)

BEALS: Would it have been possible for Mr. Sedov to have traveled to Copenhagen under another passport and under another name?

FRANKEL: Theoretically it would not be impossible, but practically he had no reason. Practically he had no possibility to prepare this, because Trotsky received a visa. Now, every student, in order – and I believe that was also the reason that he could not come to Copenhagen – to have his renewal to stay in Germany, he would need more time.

BEALS: Could he not more easily, more quickly, under some other name beside Sedov, go to Copenhagen?

FRANKEL: I believe that such a question could never be a matter of testimony, because we never tried to compromise Mr. Trotsky in any country by such methods. We are not using such methods.

GOLDMAN: Who issued that passport? What government?

FRANKEL: The German police in Berlin; the German Government.


TROTSKY: It was before Hitler.

FRANKEL: It was August 1931 to 1932.

GOLDMAN: Of 1931 to August 1932? That was before Hitler came to power?

FRANKEL: Yes. I met Sedov in that time when Hitler was in power in Germany. I knew he was forced, more or less, to flee.

GOLDMAN: When did he leave Germany for France?

FRANKEL: He left Germany for France.

GOLDMAN: I don’t mean, to visit Trotsky, but to go away from Germany altogether.

FRANKEL: I remember it was March 1933 after he received the French order to stay. I can’t say the exact date – the 23rd of March 1933.

GOLDMAN: I am through with this witness, if the Commission is through with the witness.

STOLBERG: He was in Germany about a month during the Hitler régime?



FRANKEL: Yes, he was in Germany from February 1931 until the end of March 1933.

STOLBERG: Did the German government molest him?

FRANKEL: No, but there was a danger he would be molested. For instance, the editor of the Russian Bulletin had to flee. His apartment was destroyed by the Nazis. They came to arrest him, saying, “We have arrived!” [At this point the witness spoke in French. – A.M.G.]

LAFOLLETTE: They destroyed his apartment.

FRANKEL: He was in the street returning to his apartment.

GOLDMAN: Are you referring to Sedov?

FRANKEL: Grylewicz. In order to show the relation of the editor of the Russian Bulletin, we have also a quotation from a letter ―

STOLBERG: What were the difficulties, the troubles, in the relations between Sedov during that month, and the régime?

FRANKEL: I don’t know exactly. I believe he was not living in his apartment. He had an official address, but he lived in some other apartments in order to avoid being arrested.

STOLBERG: Did he leave Germany openly?

FRANKEL: Yes, openly. He had a French visa.

GOLDMAN: This concludes this witness. Now, yesterday at the conclusion of the session, I touched very lightly on the question of the Hotel Bristol.

TROTSKY: Can you permit me some remarks?

GOLDMAN: Yes. Mr. Trotsky wants to make a remark.

TROTSKY: My meeting with the intellectuals – they were professors, in the university, lawyers and authors. I did not know them personally, and I asked Boeggild to give me beforehand a list with the names and places, so I should not be disorientated in my conversation with unknown people. But I did not commit mistakes in politics during the discussion. (Laughter) It is the origin of the list. Then, the second remark is that this list is an enumeration of the students who came to me.

Another remark is, that the difficulties for my son came during the Papen or Schleicher régime. You remember, between the democratic régime and the fascist regime. there was an intermediary régime of Papen and Schleicher.

BEALS: We know about Papen in Mexico.

TROTSKY: Yes, you knew him well – Papen and Schleicher. Papen became again Vice Chancellor to Hitler. During this time, my son had difficulties. Then, the first period of the Hitler regime, the régime of Hitler and Papen – it was not totally a Hitler régime – the foreigners became very disquieted. There was not a direct persecution. but the danger of persecution. My son hid himself for a month with a doctor, with an old doctor. Also, with old friends, friends who were living in legality. During that time he gave everything to obtain a visa for France. Then he left Germany for France.

GOLDMAN: On the question of the Hotel Bristol, on page 100 of the official report of Court Proceedings, published by the People’s Commissariat of Justice of the USSR, dealing with the question of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite terrorist center, Holtzman testifies and says:

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

Now, he says here – and we want to call the Commissioners’ attention to that fact – in testifying as to what the arrangements were in Berlin, that he arranged with Sedov to meet him in Copenhagen at the Hotel Bristol. The inference would be that he knew in Berlin that there was a Hotel Bristol in Copenhagen, and made arrangements to meet at the Hotel Bristol. Now, immediately after the trial and during the trial, when the statement, which the Commissioners can check up on, was made by him, a report came from the Social-Democratic press in Denmark that there was no such hotel as the Hotel Bristol in Copenhagen; that there was at one time a hotel by the name of Hotel Bristol, but that was burned down in 1917. The guide Baedeker of 1917, includes the name of Hotel Bristol. That was the report of the Social-Democratic press of Denmark which went the rounds throughout the world press.

About five or six months thereafter, the Communist press issued a statement to the effect that whereas there actually was no Hotel Bristol, right next to Hotel Bristol Café –

DEWEY: Next to the Hotel Bristol?

GOLDMAN: Pardon me. Whereas there was no Hotel Bristol, there was a hotel by the name of Grand, and right next to the Grand Hotel there was a café called the Bristol Café. The photograph appears in a magazine Soviet Russia Today, of March 1937. The magazine is the official organ of the Friends of the Soviet Union, if I am not mistaken. At any rate, the Commission can look through the magazine and satisfy itself that it is very, very hostile to Trotsky and exceedingly friendly to the Stalin Government in the Soviet Union. This photograph, which I now hand to the Commission, is a photograph allegedly showing that there is some connection with the name Bristol and the word “hotel.” I show you this photograph, a radio photograph especially cabled for by Soviet Russia Today and received from Nord press of Denmark through the Radio Corporation of America on February 22nd. I show the photograph to the Commissioners and ask them to examine this photograph first. I also show the Commissioners a sketch purporting to show the exact location of the Grand Hotel and the Café Bristol. This sketch is from the magazine called Rundschau, a German magazine which is also very friendly ―

TROTSKY: It is a publication of the Comintern and it is in German.

GOLDMAN: After the Inprecorr ceased publication, the Rundschau took its place as the official organ of the Comintern.

TROTSKY: Rundschau is published in Switzerland.

GOLDMAN: This sketch allegedly shows the connection between the Grand Hotel and the Café Bristol, showing that the Bristol Café is supposed to be right next to the Grand Hotel, and, if I am not mistaken, with an entrance leading from the hotel, the Grand Hotel, directly into the Café Bristol.

TROTSKY: Not an entrance, if you permit me. It is a cross ―

STOLBERG: It looks like a door there.

TROTSKY: I am not sure.

GOLDMAN: Let the Commissioners investigate for themselves. Mr. Ruehle reads German, and can tell the Commissioners exactly what this is supposed to identify.

LAFOLLETTE: This is Scandinavian.

STOLBERG: The story is in German.

(Attorney Goldman hands document to the Commission.)

GOLDMAN: The Commissioners will see that the photograph published in Soviet Russia Today has the word “Hotel” The word “Grand” does not appear on the photograph. At least, I cannot make it out. Whether it is cut off, or whether actually the fact is that it is not there, I am unable to state from an observation of the photograph itself. The word “Bristol” appearing on the extreme right of the photograph appears in very clear letters, and the word “Konditori” appearing to the left of the word “Bristol” is hardly visible, although it is visible. I mention this fact to indicate that evidently the photograph was touched up for the purpose of indicating that there is such a hotel as Hotel Bristol. Will the press take a look at that?

Now, I have an affidavit of B.J. Field and Esther Field, who are in New York and subject to be cross examined by the full Commission after this preliminary Commission, or by another sub-commission, and in this affidavit B.J. Field and Esther Field make the following statement. Referring to the photo in Soviet Russia Today, they say:

Directly next to the entrance to the hotel, and what appears as a big black splotch in the photo, is actually the location of the Café next to the Grand Hotel; and it is not the Konditori Bristol! The Konditori Bristol is not next door, but actually several doors away, at quite a distance from the hotel, and was not a part of it in any way, and there was no door connecting the Konditori (“candy store” it would be called here) and the Grand Hotel! Although there was such an entrance to the café which is blackened out in the photo, and which was not the Bristol.

In other words, between the Grand Hotel and the Konditori Bristol there was a café and between the hotel and the café there was an entrance, but there was no entrance at all connecting the hotel and the Bristol Konditori. B.J. Field and Esther Field were actually in that café and they were also in the hotel, so they are speaking from personal knowledge. They say further.

As a matter of fact, we bought some candy once at the Konditori Bristol, and we can state definitely that it had no vestibule, lobby, or lounge in common with the Grand Hotel or any hotel, and it could not have been mistaken for a hotel in any way, and entrance to the hotel could not be obtained through it. At the time of this trip to Copenhagen, we knew of no Danish Trotskyites and we do not believe – Here I want to emphasize the statement that in the Communist press the statement was made that the Café Bristol was the “hang out” for Danish Trotskyites. At the time of this trip to Copenhagen, we knew of no Danish Trotskyites, and we do not believe that there were any. One of the German comrades, in spite of the language barrier, was sent to the headquarters of the Copenhagen Stalinists to invite them to Trotsky’s lecture

I think we have proved, on the basis of all the documents, first, that Sedov was never in Copenhagen, and second, there was no such hotel as Hotel Bristol where Holtzman claims that he allegedly met Sedov in Copenhagen.

Now, just one additional entry into the record, and I am through with the whole Copenhagen matter. In view of the fact that Holtzman, David, and Berman-Yurin claim that in their conversations with Mr. Trotsky, Mr. Trotsky gave them definite directions with reference to terrorist acts, I think it is very relevant to cite two quotations from the speeches that Mr. Trotsky made at that time. They are also relevant, of course, in another section of the evidence dealing with individual terrorism and the question of the defense of the Soviet Union. But, at this time, I think it might be best to enter them into the record. From a sound-film address for Communist Opposition propaganda, Mr. Trotsky – I cite from this address which Mr. Trotsky made and it concludes as follows ―

TROTSKY: Made to the Left Oppositionists.

GOLDMAN: He is now speaking to the followers of the Left Opposition, a speech not generally published. I quote:

We, Left Oppositionists, remain devotedly faithful to the Soviet Union and to the Communist International, with another fidelity than that of the centrist bureaucracy ... – The Soviet Union is our country. We will defend it to the end. The ideas and the methods of Marx and Lenin will become the ideas and methods of the Communist International.

This was at the time, in 1932, when Trotsky was supposed to have given terrorist directions to Holtzman, David, and Berman-Yurin.

One more statement, a press statement of L.D. Trotsky dictated to Gérard Rosenthal, his French attorney, is as follows:

My connections with friends in the Soviet Union and my information enable me to declare with certainty: The prevailing opinion in the Bolshevik Party demands the establishment of unity in the ranks and the replacement of individual leadership which has in no wise justified itself, by collective leadership.

You ask if I am ready to collaborate with Stalin and his closest collaborators? I have never repudiated such collaboration, and now, before the serious difficulties within and without the country, I am less disposed than ever to repudiate it.

Politics knows no personal resentment nor the spirit of revenge. Politics knows only effectiveness. For myself, as well as my companions, it comes back to the question of the program of the collaboration.

This ends my evidence on the question of Holtzman’s, David’s and German-Yurin’s presence in Copenhagen, of the impossibility of their being present there, and the fact that Sedov was never in Copenhagen, the fact that there was no Hotel Bristol, and the fact that Trotsky in his open declaration stated that he would collaborate with Stalin, or the prosecution, to defend the Soviet Union to the utmost.

LAFOLLETTE: Was the sound film from which you quoted made and published?

TROTSKY: It was devoted exclusively for the inner propaganda of the Left Opposition, not published propaganda. The matter itself is for inner use.

LAFOLLETTE: Then, I would like to ask one more question: Is that film available anywhere?

TROTSKY: Yes, it is now in France. It was produced in France for a short time.

LAFOLLETTE: Then, the French sub-commission would have access to that film?

TROTSKY: Yes; it can be sent immediately to New York.

STOLBERG: There is a Konditori Bristol?

GOLDMAN: There is a Konditori Bristol.

STOLBERG: Between the Konditori Bristol and the Grand Hotel there is a café by the name of what?

GOLDMAN: For that, I am sorry, you will have to request Mr. Field to come before the Commission and question him personally.

Unless I omitted that in his affidavit. I am not sure what the name of the café is.

STOLBERG: What I mean – is it your contention now that there is a Grand Hotel, next to it a Café and next to it. the café, a Konditori?

GOLDMAN: That is right.

STOLBERG: Then, it would seem – maybe I had better exclude the latter – it would seem from your point of view that in the photograph from Soviet Russia Today the signs had been changed.

GOLDMAN: It would seem that the photograph was taken for the purpose of giving the impression that there is a Hotel Bristol.

STOLBERG: That there is a Café Bristol.

GOLDMAN: No, that there is even a Hotel Bristol. But assuming that I am going too far in my inferences, the photograph was taken to show only that there was a hotel. The name “Grand” does not appear in the white space underneath the word “Hotel.” Then it would appear from the photograph that the Konditori was right next to the hotel, to the Grand Hotel. That is what would appear to the casual observer of the photograph. And, that, I assume, was the purpose of these people who took the photograph.

TROTSKY: I will at the conclusion of the statement of my lawyer add briefly four points. Nobody, neither Holtzman, Berman-Yurin, nor David, named my address, the address of the meeting place. Secondly, no one says a word about my apartment. It was a peculiar one, the apartment of a dancer. The furnishings were absolutely peculiar. A genuine visitor in such a house must absolutely with necessity say something about this house. Nobody said anything. Third, Berman-Yurin and David did not name Sedov. Berman-Yurin and David said they were sent by Sedov to Copenhagen, but they did not mention that Sedov was in Copenhagen. Fourth, nothing was said about Zinoviev, who allegedly died at this time.

GOLDMAN: Of course, I don’t know whether I mentioned it. I think I did mention it yesterday, but one of the defendants ―

TROTSKY: Olberg.

GOLDMAN: Olberg testified on behalf of our side without intending to do so, when he said, on page 87:

Before my departure for the Soviet Union, I intended to go to Copenhagen with Sedov to see Trotsky. Our trip did not materialize, but Suzanna, Sedov’s wife, went there. On her return she brought a letter from Trotsky addressed to Sedov, in which Trotsky agreed to my going to the USSR and expressed the hope that I would succeed in carrying out the mission entrusted to me. Sedov showed me this letter.

Evidently, Olberg knew that Sedov never was in Copenhagen.

DEWEY: We will now take a short recess.

GOLDMAN: The next section of our evidence will deal with the very important testimony of Vladimir Romm, a witness, not a defendant but a witness, in the trial of Radek, Pyatakov, et al., of January 1937. Upon the testimony of this witness rests the strength of the case for the prosecution. Half of the case, one would say. I shall read his testimony, and then with my testimony show that it was utterly false. On page 141 of the official Report of Court Proceedings published by the People’s Commissariat of Justice of the USSR, dated Moscow, 1937, in the Case of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Center. I read Romm’s testimony on page 141.

Romm: In Paris, I had arrived from Geneva, and a few days after Sedov telephoned me and made an appointment to meet me in a Café on the Boulevard Montparnasse. Sedov said he wanted to arrange for me to meet Trotsky. A few days after he telephoned me and made an appointment to meet me in the same café. From there we went to the Bois de Boulogne, where I met Trotsky.
Vyshinsky: When was that?
Romm: At the end of July, 1933.
Vyshinsky: How long did that meeting with Trotsky last?
Romm: Twenty to twenty-five minutes.
Vyshinsky: For what purpose did Trotsky meet you?
Romm: As far as I could understand, in order verbally to confirm the instructions contained in the letter I was taking to Moscow. He started the conversation with the question of creating the parallel center. He said there was a danger in the predominance of the Zinovievites, but that the danger would be great only if the Trotskyites were not sufficiently active.

I did not read the rest of the paragraph, dealing with the nature of the conversation, because my testimony will show conclusively, without fear of being contradicted in any way, that Trotsky never met Romm, and that the whole testimony was simply an invention for the purpose of making some connection between Trotsky and Radek. Mr. Trotsky ―


GOLDMAN: When did you leave Turkey to begin your residence in France?

TROTSKY: It was the 17th of July 1933. We came by the Italian ship, Bulgaria, to Marseilles.

GOLDMAN: By the way, was the Bulgaria also the ship you used to go to Copenhagen?

TROTSKY: No, it was of the same Italian line, but the name was Praga.

GOLDMAN: Who were with you on the Bulgaria?

TROTSKY: The Bulgaria? My wife, Natalia, our comrade Van Heijenoort, who sits here, then two Americans, Max Shachtman, who is my editor also, and Sara Weber. They are both of New York. And a German, Adolphe, who is now in Europe. He is also available, but I named him by his pseudonym, but I am ready to give his genuine name.

GOLDMAN: Your wife was with you?

TROTSKY: I named her first.

GOLDMAN: How long did it take you to go from Constantinople to France?

TROTSKY: We started on the 17th and we arrived ―

GOLDMAN: Did you say the seventh or the seventeenth?

TROTSKY: The seventeenth – and on the 24th we were in Marseilles.

GOLDMAN: Did you land in Marseilles?


GOLDMAN: Where did you land?

TROTSKY: We landed on the sea. (Laughter) In a motor boat, sent especially for that purpose, we were informed by a radio cable to the captain of the ship.

GOLDMAN: Who sent the cable?

TROTSKY: The cable was sent by the maritime society. It was agreed with my son and Molinier, who paid for that a certain sum of money.

GOLDMAN: What did the cable say?

TROTSKY: With an approach of a motor boat you must stop the ship. Max Shachtman, the American, was on the way our intermediary with the ship authorities. I had on this question a conversation with the captain. I must say, I was not satisfied immediately with that. The small event was related by the press of the whole world. In the New York Times it was recalled after the last Moscow trials. All the correspondence, all the cables of its French correspondent, confirm my first statement. The New York Times, on its own initiative, stated that we landed not at Marseilles, but on the sea in a motor boat, and after leaving the ship we disappeared totally from the press. (Laughter)

GOLDMAN: Who were with you on the motor boat?

TROTSKY: On the motor boat, only my wife and myself, because my son, Leon Sedov. was on board. (It was promised me that Mr. Solow would help me with my English. But he is seated so far away, he cannot help.) It was organized, I must say, very well, our reception. My son, on board the ship, gave a letter to Van Heijenoort, with all the instructions in the letter. It was impossible to oblige the ship to remain too long a time. Then, all the four, Max Shachtman, Sara Weber, Van Heijenoort and Adolphe, remained aboard. We were on the motor boat and we went to Cassis. It is a small town not far from Marseilles. In Cassis, in a hidden place, it was a place not good for the public – a secluded place, there were two autos, two cars. In one of the cars there were Leprince, not a political, not my political, follower, but a neutral, an impartial, we will say – this Raymond Leprince, and then Laste, another Frenchman. He was my political companion-in-arms. He is now my political adversary – I underline. He has his own paper, and he gave us testimony on this. He is a very bitter adversary of mine. Then, my son – I forgot to say that in the motor boat was Raymond Molinier, a Frenchman who was also my political friend, but became a political adversary, a very bitter political adversary. And then two sailors and a representative of the Sûreté Nationale, of the French police. All this story was many times told by the French press. With these two cars, we immediately started, not in the direction of Paris – it was the 24th of July – not in the direction of Paris, as supposed in the depositions in the Moscow trial, but in the direction of Montpellier, Albi, Montauban, Bordeaux, to a small village called St. Palais, a town, I believe, a few kilometers from Royan, to a villa in St. Palais named “Les Embruns.”

GOLDMAN: When did you arrive in St. Palais?

TROTSKY: On the 25th. We passed a night in Tonneins, in a hotel. The reason why I must rest in Tonneins was my illness. The first plan was to go directly if it was possible. But I suffered from lumbago, and the movement of the auto was intolerable to me. That is the reason we had to pass the night at Tonneins. We arrived in St. Palais the 25th, three o’clock in the afternoon, or two o’clock in the afternoon. I must immediately rest in bed, because I was sick. After one or two – one hour of rest, the atmosphere became, I don’t know – but it was intolerable, and directly I fell from the bed onto the floor. The reason was a fire around our villa. It was very dry in July, and the sparks from a locomotive caused the fire. The plants, the hedges, were on fire. It is a little event, but plays a very great rôle in my testimony in this question, as the Commission will see.

Our four collaborators, Max Shachtman, Sara Weber, Van Heijenoort and Adolphe, they landed in Marseilles. The instruction was for Van Heijenoort – we landed without any baggage, without any baggage, to be more mobile. The instruction for Van Heijenoort was to go in the direction of Paris, but only until Lyon, and to see that he was not persecuted by the messieurs of the press.


TROTSKY: Pursued, yes. (Laughter) Then, if he was sure that he could continue his travel unknown, he must also go to the west, directly to the west from Lyon to Royan. He arrived the next day, on the 26th of July. Max Shachtman remained in Marseilles to arrange the matter of our big baggage – it was my library – with the company of transportation. He remained for four days, I believe, in Marseilles, to arrange the matter. Adolphe and Sara Weber, they started the same day, or in the evening, for Paris. Max Shachtman, four or five days later. I must emphasize that the arrangement was unexpected for us. We were sure that we would go together, Van Heijenoort and all the others, in the motor boat. We could not say adieu to Max Shachtman, because he left from Paris to New York in the beginning of August without having the possibility to say goodbye. I have a letter from him which confirms this. I remained, shall I continue, or will you put questions?

GOLDMAN: You proceed until I stop you.

TROTSKY: I remained in St. Palais more than two months, until the beginning of October.

GOLDMAN: Let me interrupt just a moment. I want to know what arrangements you had with the French Government about your stay in France.

TROTSKY: The cause of our going to France was the change of the French policy after the election, the new election of 1932, in May. The Radical Government came into office and the Prime Minister was M. Daladier. One of my friends, a French author and translator of all my writings in France, Parijanine, he proposed to me that I ask the Government if it would not be possible for me to come to France. I answered that I was absolutely sure that I would not be allowed. But in spite of my skepticism and doubt, I received a visa, with certain restrictions. The Government was a bit disquieted about the ―

GOLDMAN: Disturbed.

TROTSKY: – the possibility of attacks, assassinations, demonstrations and manifestations on the part of the fascists and Stalinists. But the restrictions of the Government coincided with my own purposes – with my own plans. It was agreed that I reside in Corsica, but the first time, my friends – I have here all the testimony – one of them, my literary representative and the engineer, Molinier, another Molinier, not the Molinier in the motor boat, the engineer Molinier – he was in connection, or in relation with the summits of the officials. He conducted conversations, and insisted that the Government give me the possibility to live a certain time, not in Corsica, but in France itself, to have medical aid for my wife and myself. And he succeeded. They permitted me to remain in one of the Southern departments. I have a letter permitting this from the Home Minister.

GOLDMAN: Well, how long – at the time that you arrived in Royan, you say soon after there was a fire on the same day?

TROTSKY: On the same day, one hour or a bit more after our arrival in St. Palais.

GOLDMAN: What burned down, the whole building?

TROTSKY: No. Only – it was the change of the wind, an east wind, and the fire turned from the house. What burned was a small summer hut in the garden, some dry trees, and the surroundings of the house.

GOLDMAN: What did you do during the fire?

TROTSKY: During the fire we were very disquieted, not so much from the fire as the curiosity that the fire – we were afraid to be recognized by the public. Immediately, I went out and took a place in the auto. Our auto was out on the road, and I took a place in the auto in a very discreet manner. In spite of that fact, many people saw me on the road. There was a multitude around the house. They were interested in the old man, the old gentleman in the car.

GOLDMAN: How many people, approximately?

TROTSKY: I mention it because it plays a rôle in many testimonies.

GOLDMAN: Approximately how many people were there around the fire, around your car?

TROTSKY: I believe it lasted – I remained in the car, I believe, one hour. The fire company arrived, and the police arrived, and all the neighbors. There must have been fifty persons in the crowd.

GOLDMAN: Was that reported in the press?

TROTSKY: Yes, it was reported in the local press and later, or on another occasion, it was reproduced in the Paris press.

GOLDMAN: Did they mention your name in the local press?

TROTSKY: In the local press they didn’t recognize me. We presented ourselves as Americans, in spite of my English. (Laughter) And later, when I was recognized in another place, the papers were full of publicity. All these people affirmed that it was Trotsky at the fire.

GOLDMAN: Did the press mention that?

TROTSKY: Yes, the press mentioned that, the local correspondent and the others mentioned that.

GOLDMAN: How long after the fire?

TROTSKY: It was, I believe, some months, seven or eight months. It was another story in Barbizon. I was discovered, and there was a big press comment. The press caused a certain investigation of me.

GOLDMAN: Now, after the fire, what did you do?

TROTSKY: I remained all the time in St. Palais – for more than two months. Half of the time I spent in bed, and half of the time slowly walking a bit in the garden, and a bit in the house, in the company of friends who visited me.

GOLDMAN: During the time after you arrived in St. Palais, for two months you remained there?

TROTSKY: I remained in St. Palais.

GOLDMAN: You were sick at that time?

TROTSKY: All the time.

GOLDMAN: Who were with you?

TROTSKY: My wife, Van Heijenoort, Sara Weber, an American – Max Shachtman, as I told you, left for New York from Paris. The first time, I forgot to say that the villa was prepared – rented on the 18th of July, beforehand, by the man, the engineer Molinier, who was in connection with the French officials.

GOLDMAN: Who were living with you right in the place?

TROTSKY: I will, only if you permit me a remark in parenthesis. If we could have the testimony of the French police about the investigation, all this would be unnecessary, because Monsieur Thome and Monsieur Cado, the general secretary of the police and the prefecture of the Department of Charente Inférieu all the summits [Trotsky here refers to the highest officials – Ed.] of the police were very well acquainted with my situation. It was the secret agent of the police who was informed of every step of mine. If this would be an official State court we would have in ten minutes all the confirmation.

GOLDMAN: Were the police informed of the house where you lived?

TROTSKY: Officially, not to compromise me before public opinion, the police were very discreet. But, for example, the local chief of the customs house was, I suppose, an agent also of the secret police, and in his daily work of observation he observed also our house. He verbally deposed to two French friends who accomplished the investigation now about this matter, but he refused to give a written deposition because he is a functionary.

GOLDMAN: I don’t know whether you answered this question that I asked before. In the house where you lived while you were sick, who were living with you?

TROTSKY: Living with me? The house was prepared for us by two people. They were Vera Lanis, the wife of Molinier, who met us on the motor boat. She came to keep house because we avoided to have a strange person for this purpose, in order to preserve our incognito. Then Segal, who was an associate of Molinier in his affairs – his business. We met them immediately on the 25th, when we came to St. Palais in the house. Vera Lanis remained as the cook all the time, with a small interruption. She became a bit tired for some days. In August, the end of July or the beginning of August, she again remained with us. Segal remained until the end of July. Van Heijenoort came on the 26th of July, and the young French comrade, Baussier, came especially because he was at that time a member of the Communist Party. We needed a man who could orientate us about the disposition of the Stalinists in Royan, in that district – to avoid manifestations and other things if they learned that this alleged American is Trotsky. It was the 28th of July when he came to us, and he remained, I believe, more than a month, but not in our house. For the purpose of observing in Royan the Communist organizations, he could not live in our house, but every day he came with a bicycle. He came every day in the evening with papers from Paris. He came from Royan every day with papers to us, and gave us a report. He entered into relations with the secretary of the organization in Royan.


TROTSKY: Excuse me, I forgot the name of another, the name of Laste, who accompanied us in the two cars to St. Palais. He remained also with us all the time, I believe, for more than a month.

GOLDMAN: You then lived with your wife, Sara Weber, Van Heijenoort, Laste, Segal; and the cook Vera Lanis. Baussier did not live with you, but visited you every day.

TROTSKY: He came to us in the evening.

GOLDMAN: Anyone else live with you?

TROTSKY: I believe not.

GOLDMAN: Did you have any visitors coming to Royan?

TROTSKY: We have already named them, no less than fifty persons.

GOLDMAN: During the two months?

TROTSKY: During the two months.

GOLDMAN: Then you left St. Palais?


GOLDMAN: You say there were fifty visitors?


GOLDMAN: From St. Palais, where did you go to?

TROTSKY: To the Pyrenees, to Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

GOLDMAN: When was that?

TROTSKY: It was the 9th of October.

GOLDMAN: October 9, 1933?

TROTSKY: 1933.

GOLDMAN: You went –

TROTSKY: To Bagnères-de-Bigorre. My wife and I.

GOLDMAN: Who went with you?

TROTSKY: The engineer Molinier and then Meichler, a Frenchman, as the driver.

GOLDMAN: And who else?

TROTSKY: My wife, myself; and our daughter-in-law came also to Bagnères.

GOLDMAN: Your daughter-in-law?

TROTSKY: The wife of our son Sedov; she is named by Olberg as Suzanne. That is one mistake on that question in that deposition.

GOLDMAN: How long did you remain in that town?

TROTSKY: Three weeks.

GOLDMAN: Did the press know about it?


GOLDMAN: When did you leave that town, approximately?

TROTSKY: It was the beginning of November.

GOLDMAN: Where did you go to?


GOLDMAN: Where did you go to?

TROTSKY: To Barbizon, near Paris, in Seine-et-Maine.

GOLDMAN: That was when?

TROTSKY: In the beginning of November.

GOLDMAN: Now, when you transferred –

TROTSKY: Will you permit me to explain that the authorities permitted us to come near Paris because our attitude was loyal when we came to St. Palais and Bagnères. Our incognito was strictly observed by all members of the family. Therefore the authorities changed their minds – they said, You can approach Paris for ―

GOLDMAN: Did you receive permission from the authorities to move?


GOLDMAN: The French police knew of your movements all the time?

TROTSKY: It was agreed that we telephone during our travels. We telephoned our night passed in Tonneans.

GOLDMAN: When did you arrive at Barbizon?

TROTSKY: It was the beginning of November. The 2nd or the 3rd, or the first.

GOLDMAN: How long did you remain in Barbizon?

TROTSKY: It was until April or May of 1934 – April 1934.

GOLDMAN: During the time you lived in Barbizon, did you ever visit Paris?


GOLDMAN: When was the first time you came to Paris?

TROTSKY: I believe in December – December 1933.

GOLDMAN: What was the occasion?

TROTSKY: December 1933 or the beginning of January 1934.

GOLDMAN: What was the occasion of your going to Paris?

TROTSKY: To visit some friends and to see Paris again after an interruption of seventeen years.

GOLDMAN: How many times did you visit Paris while you were living in Barbizon?

TROTSKY: Not more than three or four times.

GOLDMAN: Who were with you when you visited Paris?

TROTSKY: Every time it was at least two of my collaborators. We can indicate all the apartments where I stayed and met my friends. It was for meeting some friends.

GOLDMAN: Where did you go to from Barbizon?

TROTSKY: I was discovered in Barbizon by a small accident, by the local authorities, who were not aware of my identity. All the local authorities did not know, and when they learned that I was there they were a bit angry against the summits, and that was the reason they provoked a bit of a scandal in the local opinion. A reactionary campaign began in the press, a terrible campaign against me by the reaction.

GOLDMAN: Was that after February 1934?

TROTSKY: April 1934.

GOLDMAN: February 1934 was the time of the fascist movement?

TROTSKY: It was a few weeks after the insurrection of Colonel de La Rocque.

GOLDMAN: Where did you go from Barbizon?

TROTSKY: If you permit me – at that time the German fascist press published every day articles accusing me of having prepared an insurrection in France.

GOLDMAN: By the way, what did the Communist press say with reference to your being revealed as living in France?

TROTSKY: L’Humanité, the French paper, the official organ of the Communist Party, wrote manifestoes that I came to help the Radical Socialist Party, which was the Government. This was the terminology: that the Socialist Party was social-fascist, and the Radical Socialists, fascists. They said that I came to help Daladier to organize an invasion against Russia.

GOLDMAN: At that time, according to the testimony, you were in league with the fascists?

TROTSKY: Yes, I gave my fascist instructions to the semi-fascist Romm for the fascist Radek.

GOLDMAN: You were supposed to have given these supposed instructions?


GOLDMAN: Where did you go from Barbizon?

TROTSKY: To a small suburb near Paris, for some days. Our son had a small apartment in a suburb by Paris. We must escape from Barbizon. It was terrible to live surrounded by publicity and projectors. [Cameras – Ed.] We went to Seine-et-Marne. It is not the Department of the Seine, but Seine-et-Marne. I did not have a permit to live in the Department of the Seine, but in the next Department, the Department of Seine-et-Marne.

GOLDMAN: How long did you live in that Department?

TROTSKY: Four or five days, or a week.

GOLDMAN: Then where did you go?

TROTSKY: Then I became nomadic for a certain time. My friends looked for a more or less adequate house, as in St. Palais. But I must change and go south, I must change every time my place because I was recognized on the road. It was a hunt by the fascist press and the fascist journalists, a real hunt ―

INTERPRETER: You mean a man-hunt?

TROTSKY: Yes, a man-hunt. When an Englishman in a French Kurort [health resort – Ed.] was identified as Trotsky, he must leave the cure. It was reported by the whole French press.

GOLDMAN: Finally, where did you go?

TROTSKY: To the Département de l’Isère, near Grenoble, near the village of Dom~ne. ????

GOLDMAN: Then you left France?

TROTSKY: From this place, the Département de l’Isère.

GOLDMAN: You left for Oslo, Norway?

TROTSKY: For Oslo, Norway.

GOLDMAN: Do you know anyone by the name of Vladimir Romm?

TROTSKY: Now, I know very well his name.

GOLDMAN: You know his name now. Did you know his name before the trial?


GOLDMAN: You don’t remember ever having met anyone in Russia, while you were in the Soviet Union, by the name of Vladimir Romm?


GOLDMAN: You might have met him, but you do not remember the name?


GOLDMAN: Do you read Isvestia?

TROTSKY: Only the foreign people think Isvestia is a readable paper.

GOLDMAN: What do you mean by that?

TROTSKY: I must recognize that the Soviet press is not now, in this period, the most interesting press in the world. But when I have necessity of learning any political things, I read Pravda or economic things, special papers. But the Isvestzia is only the bureaucratic shadow of the Pravda, which is also sufficiently bureaucratic.

GOLDMAN: What is the nature of the contents of the Isvestia, generally?

TROTSKY: Isvestia prints administrative opinion and also political articles, but nobody reads them – not to speak of the foreign correspondence. When I need to know anything about the United States, I am not reading Isvestia. I can read the New York Times and other papers, or the correspondence in the French papers, but not the correspondence of Vladimir Romm. I know in advance everything he will say.

GOLDMAN: Did you in the last year read the Isvestia, and if so, how frequently?

TROTSKY: From time to time, an issue suddenly falls into my hands. But when I need information, I ask one of my collaborators to find Isvestia and to find out the date when this and that event took place.

GOLDMAN: Did you read it?


GOLDMAN: You didn’t read it, and when you needed information contained in the Isvestia your collaborators found it for you?


GOLDMAN: Did you read Pravda?

TROTSKY: Permanently.


TROTSKY: Yes, regularly. And especially economic papers, also.

GOLDMAN: You never, according to your recollection, came across the name, Vladimir Romm?

TROTSKY: Never. I must say even in Pravda I never read the foreign correspondence.

GOLDMAN: When you need information on foreign countries you read the press of the particular country?

TROTSKY: Yes, and the CI [Communist International – Ed.] press, when I need it, like l’Humanité in the worst case. Then also the Daily Worker.

STOLBERG: In your opinion, the foreign correspondence of Pravda and Isvestia was useless for information. Would it not be interesting for the peculiar opinions it reveals at the moment?

TROTSKY: Mr. Commissioner, the situation is such: I read a speech of Litvinov and a speech of Stalin, and then I know what the correspondence from Washington will convey for a month or two. It is only the confirmation of the last slogan, or the latest slogan.

GOLDMAN: Did you ever meet anyone by the name of Vladimir Romm in Paris?


GOLDMAN: Did you ever give any letters to Vladimir Romm for the purpose of conveying them afterwards to Radek?


GOLDMAN: Did you ever receive any letters through Vladimir Romm from Radek?


GOLDMAN: You have read, have you, the testimony of Radek and Romm about that?

TROTSKY: Yes, absolutely false, both of them.

GOLDMAN: Now, Mr. Trotsky, will you produce whatever documentary evidence is at your disposal to corroborate the statements you have made with reference to your trip to Marseilles, Royan, and with reference to your other statements?

TROTSKY: I have a letter from Parijanine proposing to me to apply for admission to France. I have a letter, my letter to the Parliamentary Deputy Guernut, who became later a Minister in the Government. He was very kind, and intervened in my favor.

GOLDMAN: Have you anything to show what the conditions of your stay should be, or would be?

TROTSKY: Yes, it is a letter of the Minister, Chautemps. It is a copy of the letter of the Minister, Chautemps, to the Deputy, Guernut, and a cable from Henri. Henri is the first name of the engineer, Molinier. He says – I am reading in French and translating: “Provisional sojourn in the South definite soujourn in Corsica for you per request. Henri.’

GOLDMAN: That is a copy?

TROTSKY: No, it is in the primitive manner in Prinkipo of writing cables.

GOLDMAN: This is the original telegram received by Mr. Trotsky when he was in Prinkipo, from his friend, Henri Molinier. This is a part of the general exhibit which I designated as the “Royan-Romm Exhibit,” for the purpose of identifying the documents and for the purpose of proving that Mr. Trotsky never met Romm in Paris. Here I give the Commissioners a copy of the telegram.

TROTSKY: And a letter.

GOLDMAN: And a letter signed by C. Chautemps, the Minister of the Interior, to the Deputy Guernut.

TROTSKY: Guernut. He says (Trotsky reading in French and translated by interpreter):

You have had the kindness to call my attention to Mr. Leon Trotsky, exile of Russian origin, who has asked, for reasons of health, authorization to live in the Departments of the South and later to settle in Corsica. I have the honor to inform you that the decree of expulsion which concerns this foreigner has been withdrawn ―

My expulsion of 1916, during the war, and reported yesterday to the Commission. I continue to read:

... and that the interested party will obtain without difficulty, when he makes the request, a passport visa for France.”

GOLDMAN: A copy of that letter. Now, Mr. Trotsky, have you any statement from the innkeeper of Tonneins which shows that you stayed there about the 24th of July or the 25th of July?

TROTSKY: It is not very precise. We did not give our names in Tonneins, but with the professional memory of the owners of hotels and with the help of his books – it was not a frequent case, because we had five or six rooms at once – he said: “I affirm that on the night of the 24th-25th of July ―

INTERPRETER: I will translate it. It says:

The undersigned declares that on the night of the 24th-25th of July 1933 he rented rooms 13 and 14 in his hotel and room 3 in the annex to five travelers who arrived late at night, in connection with whom one was an elderly couple – ANDRÉ COURET.

TROTSKY: We were six, not five, but my son in a letter explains the mistake. (Mr. Trotsky hands letter to the Commission.) My son explains the mistake in the following manner: Laste, the Frenchman, and he, they roomed together and they changed. They remained on guard during the night, they replaced one another. That was one room for both. That explains why the hotel-keeper, in his memory – it was not persons to him, but rooms.

GOLDMAN: We have at our disposal other documents which I simply mention, such as the fact that at the Café Labrède, in La Réole, Leon Trotsky and Natalia Trotsky, accompanied by the four comrades mentioned above – that is, accompanied them for breakfast in the morning of July 25th at about nine-thirty in the morning. That is in the deposition of the one who is named Laste. Another deposition to the effect that Henri Molinier has among his papers a receipt, No.170, of the agency, made out to the said Molinier, in the sum of four thousand five hundred francs. The receipt is actually here, and the date is July 18th, when Sedov and Molinier engaged the rental of the villa at Royan with the agency.

Then, we have the important testimony of the adjutant of the fire brigade of St. Palais, Mr. Soulard, the Corporal-in-Chief. I suppose their official titles in France are Corporal-in-Chief. We have the deposition of Albert Bardon, the reporter who gave the local press the notice of the fire, the date and circumstances of the fire. Both recall perfectly that the fire coincided with the arrival of the tenants at the villa “Les Embruns,” They noted the elderly gentleman who had gone out to the automobile, and later they became certain this was Trotsky. Mr. Soulard is, incidentally, a Captain of the Reserves. The Commissioners will note that they – by the way, on July 23rd you arrived at Cassis and July 25th ―

TROTSKY: July 24th-25th.

GOLDMAN: The night of the 24th-25th, they stayed at the hotel at Tonneins.

STOLBERG: The 23rd?

TROTSKY: No, we arrived on the 24th.

GOLDMAN: Mr. Trotsky arrived July 24th, and was in Tonneins on the night of the 24th-25th and stayed there. That accounts for that time. You arrived at St. Palais and had breakfast on the morning of the 25th, according to the deposition, in the Café Labrède, at La Réole, near Bordeaux. And you arrived in Royan ―

TROTSKY: The afternoon at two o’clock.

GOLDMAN: The afternoon of the 25th?

TROTSKY: Yes, at two o’clock.

GOLDMAN: And the fire was on the 25th?

TROTSKY: Around three o’clock.

GOLDMAN: And the testimony of the fire chief corroborates that the fire was on the 25th.

TROTSKY: Permit me – I gave the press a statement about the fire and named the date. All of the affirmations came only four or five days ago during the sojourn of the Commission here.

STOLBERG: During the last four or five days?


GOLDMAN: Do you have amongst your documents all these people who were present with you?


GOLDMAN: Who of their own knowledge give testimony, and they say so in their statements, that you were in the villa in St. Palais continuously from July 25th until you left two months later?

TROTSKY: If you will permit me, I will give you testimony of how Mr. Leprince, our driver, found the villa here. They must make a long trip along the coast. Leprince is fortunately a very attentive husband, and he wrote to his wife every day a postal card. We have now the route of my son, Leon Sedov, Leprince and Molinier – we have now the geographical exactitude as characterized by the postal cards. It precedes, these postal cards precede our arrival. It precedes the renting of the villa. My son, I believe, had left Paris five or six days before. He could not have had a meeting with Vladimir Romm or arranged a meeting with Vladimir Romm because he was not in Paris, as this postal card shows. Then, I named Mr. Baussier, our young comrade who had the mission to observe the Royan Stalinists’ maneuvers. We have another deposition, from the hotel in which Baussier stayed in Royan, the first night, on the 29th. He came on the 28th, and the first night he passed in the hotel was the 29th. Then, we have the testimony of Baussier himself. We have the testimony of Vera Lanis, who is the woman who functioned as our cook during our sojourn.

GOLDMAN: Here is the declaration of Vera Lanis, who arrived ―

TROTSKY: She arrived before us.

GOLDMAN: She departed from Paris about the 23rd, she left Paris the 23rd or the 24th of July. I wish to ask Mr. Solow to translate this letter.

STOLBERG: Mr. Trotsky, Vera Lanis is the wife of Molinier, now your political enemy. In spite of that, she made this deposition?

TROTSKY: Yes, a bitter political enemy, not only of mine, but of the organization.

STOLBERG: Does he refuse to make any deposition?


STOLBERG: Molinier.

TROTSKY: He refused for a long time to make a deposition, but my son writes now, definitely, he will make a deposition.

STOLBERG: And his wife was willing all the time?

TROTSKY: I don’t know. I received all the documents in the last few days. I am not sure. I cannot say what is her attitude toward us. I like her personally very much, but politics change very often even homes.

GOLDMAN: Will Mr. Solow read that letter?

INTERPRETER (reading):

I was assigned to prepare the residence of Trotsky at Royan. I left Paris about the 22nd or 23rd of July to put the villa in shape, and assisted Mr. Segal on the last day. I recall very well the arrival of Trotsky and his friends. I was present at the fire of part of the house, which took place on the day of his arrival. I saw the inhabitants and the friends turn everything upside down in the kitchen, in order to put out the fire. I remained to do the cooking and to help with the household until about the end of August, at which time I took several days’ rest at the hotel Saint Germain, near Royan. I was very tired. I came back to Royan again, and I remained in this villa until he departed to Bagnères. I returned to Paris afterwards. I saw Trotsky every day several times. It is altogether a fable to say that he left Royan, where he arrived on the 25th of July, during the entire months of July and August. I can declare that I always remained at the house, and that he hardly went out of doors at all. If Mr. Trotsky had gone away, I, who did the cooking and served at the table, two or three times a day, would certainly have noticed it. The 14th of March 1937, VERA LANIS.

There is the signature. They are certified and signed by Alfred Rosmer.

TROTSKY: Rosmer is a very well known militant in the labor movement.

GOLDMAN: That does have the original of the signature of Vera Lanis.

DEWEY: Mr. Trotsky, did you have a physician while you were in St. Palais?

TROTSKY: Pardon?

DEWEY: You say you were ill. Did you have a physician?

TROTSKY: Yes; it was the great difficulty for us to get a French doctor unknown to us in this locality, because a doctor would become familiar with us. We notified a friend from another country. I cannot name him publicly. The name I will give you is the name in the deposition of this physician. He is an old friend from a semi-fascist country. He came and remained in our house three weeks.

DEWEY: We will get that in private, then?


DEWEY: Did you receive police permission to leave St. Palais for the Pyrenees?

TROTSKY: Yes, it was the function of Molinier, the engineer Molinier, who was in connection with the chief of Sûreté Générale, Cado. I have the testimony here of Henri Molinier.

DEWEY: The last question. Did you carry on and receive correspondence while you were in St. Palais?

TROTSKY: The correspondence was through friends, such as Molinier, and my son in Paris. It was the official address, and from time to time they came to me and submitted to me that correspondence.

DEWEY: Is that correspondence during the month of July and the first part of August?

TROTSKY: Totally, and many letters.

DEWEY: I will now declare a short recess.

DEWEY: I am going to ask you this question, Mr. Trotsky. Have the French police refused to give data on your case?

TROTSKY: Yes. I wrote to the engineer Molinier, but he answered that it cannot be given in general, and especially in my case because it is against the Soviet Government – that no official can give any answer. Even in Denmark, we tried to have the official information about the telephonic connections with Berlin. They refused. I have here a very important deposition of the customs official in Royan, who gave this deposition only orally. He refused to give it in writing, but his oral answer is sufficient.

STOLBERG: Mr. Trotsky, I would like to be clearer than I am on one point I asked you before. The Molinier who was with you near Marseilles in the boat has since become a political enemy of yours? Has he since gone into another faction or has he become a Stalinist? That is part of my question.

TROTSKY: He has his own organization and his own paper, and his organization and his paper are bitterly attacked by our organization.

STOLBERG: What dealings have you had – may I ask these questions later?

GOLDMAN: It does not matter.

STOLBERG: What dealings have you had with him, or what is his attitude toward you in your effort to get him as a witness?

TROTSKY: I don’t have any personal relations directly. He visited me for the last time in Oslo.

STOLBERG: I don’t mean that – excuse me. Does he collaborate with your friends in this matter?

TROTSKY: Not he; his brother, the engineer, Molinier – to say something about the facts.

STOLBERG: And his wife is also helping?

TROTSKY: Vera Lanis is the wife not of the engineer but of Raymond Molinier. She wrote the deposition I received yesterday and read to you just now.

End of Fifth Session – one o’clock p.m.

Transcriber’ Note

1. The printed edition used for this transcription uses the word “Sûgreté” throughout this session. The proper Frenchch word is, however, “Sûreté”. We have corrected this.

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Last updated on: 1.4.2007