First published: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1938, New York;
Translation: certified and notarized, Copenhagen, April 1, 1937;
Transcribed: by Martin Fahlgren.
Preface by Pierre Broué, 2005
Summary of Findings
Conduct of the trials
Part One: The Commission of Inquiry
I. Reasons for a Commission
II. Procedure of the Commission
Part Two: The Basis of Inquiry
V. Certification of Documents
Part Three: The Moscow Trials
VI. General Nature of the Charges
VII. Procedure of the Soviet Court
VIII. The “Capitulators”
The Zinoviev-Kamenev Trial
IX. The “Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center"
The Zinoviev-Kamenev Trial — Definitive Charges against Trotsky and Sedov
X. The Testimony of I. N. Smirnov
XI. The Testimony of E. A. Dreitzer
XII. The Testimony of E. S. Holtzman
XIII. The testimony of Valentine Olberg
XIV. The testimony of K. B. Berman-Yurin and Fritz David
XV. The testimony of N. and M. Lurye
The Pyatakov-Radek Trial
XVI. The “Parallel” or “Reserve Center"
The Pyatakov-Radek Trial — Definitive Charges against Trotsky and Sedov
XVII. The Testimony ff Y. L. Pyatakov
XVIII. The Testimony of Karl Radek
XIX. The Testimony of Vladimir Romm
XX. The Testimony of A. A. Shestov
XXI. The Testimony of N. I. Muralov
Part Four: The Credibility of the Charges
XXII. The Charge of Terrorism
XXIII. The Charge of Sabotage
XXIV. The Charge of Agreements with Foreign Powers
XXV. The Historical Connection
Part Five: Final Considerations
XXVI. The Question of Confessions
XXVII. The Real Historical Connection
II. Biographical Index of the Accused
III. Memorandum to Ambassador Kobetzky, by Windfeld-Hansen
JOHN DEWEY: Educator and author. Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Columbia University. Founder of Progressive Education in the United States. Leader of American Pragmatism. Member of Sacco-Vanzetti and Tom Mooney Defense Committees. Author of numerous books on philosophy, psychology, education and social problems.
JOHN P. CHAMBERLAIN: Author and journalist. Former literary critic, New York Times. Former lecturer, School of Journalism, Columbia University, and associate editor, Saturday Review of Literature.
ALFRED ROSMER: Author and labor journalist. Member of Executive Committee of the Communist International, 1920-21; member of Praesidium, Second Congress of the C.I., 1920. Editor-in-chief of l'Humanité, 1923-1924.
EDWARD ALSWORTH ROSS: Educator and author. Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Wisconsin. Author of numerous volumes on economics, sociology and politics, including “The Russian Bolshevik Revolution” and “The Russian Soviet Republic.”
OTTO RUEHLE: Author, biographer of Karl Marx. Former Social Democratic member of the German Reichstag. Leader of the Saxon revolution, November, 1918.
BENJAMIN STOLBERG: Author and journalist. Former editor of labor and literary journals. Writer for many years on American Labor.
WENDELIN THOMAS: Leader of the Wilhelmshaven revolt, November 7, 1918. Independent Socialist and later Communist member of the German Reichstag, 1920-24. Editor, daily Volkswille (Augsburg), 1919-22. Later editor of and contributor to other party and union papers.
CARLO TRESCA : Anarcho-Syndicalist leader. Editor of Il Martello (New York). Leader in Mesabi Range, Lawrence, and Paterson strikes. Active in Sacco-Vanzetti Defense.
FRANCISCO ZAMORA: Latin American left publicist. Editorial writer, El Universal (Mexico City). Former member, National Committee of the Confederación de Trabajadores de México.
SUZANNE LA FOLLETTE: Author and journalist. Former editor, The Freeman and The New Freeman.
JOHN F. FINERTY: Former counsel for Sacco and Vanzetti, and counsel for Tom Mooney.
The Commission of Inquiry, at its session of September 21, 1937, drew up and signed the findings which appear as the Introduction to this volume. It appointed an editorial committee – John Dewey, Suzanne La Follette, and Benjamin Stolberg – to write its final Report in accordance with these findings. The Report which forms the present volume of its publications has been approved by all the ten members of the Commission.
The actual writing of this Report, and most of the painstaking research required in verifying the wealth of documentary material and other evidence submitted to the Commission and in weighing these against the charges and testimony in the trial records, has been done by Suzanne La Follette.
We, as the other members of the editorial committee, wish to express our deep sense of indebtedness to Miss La Follette. And we do so the more gladly because we believe that in acknowledging our own obligation to her we speak for all those who want to know the truth and are not afraid of it.
The importance of this task, it seems to us, can hardly be exaggerated. And to its performance Miss La Follette has brought unwearied industry and rare intellectual integrity.
In this volume, the records of the hearings of sub-commissions are, except for that of the Preliminary Commission, quoted from the unpublished transcripts. The records of sub-commissions and the documents in the case will be published in a subsequent volume.
The records of our sub-commissions are referred to as follows:
Preliminary Commission: PC
Commission Rogatoire: CR
New York Sub-Commission: NY
The Preliminary Commission, the Commission Rogatoire, and the Commission received documents in evidence. Several exhibits contain many documents, divided into categories determined by their bearing upon the subject-matter of those exhibits. These categories are indicated by Roman numerals, and the documents within these sub-divisions by Arabic numerals – e.g., PC Exh. 18, III/1. Where a document is in more than one part, or where several documents are closely related, the several parts or documents carry the same number, with letters added – e.g., PC Exh. 19, II/4, a. Documents submitted to the Commission which logically belong in exhibits submitted to the Preliminary Commission have been added to those exhibits and identified as supplementary by the addition of the letter S – e.g., PC Exh. 18, S VIII/26. The listing indicates that document number 26 is a supplementary document in category VIII of Exhibit 18 of the Preliminary Commission. In referring to the records of the trials of August, 1936, and January, 1937, we have used the initials of the popular titles, as follows:
Zinoviev-Kamenev trial (August, 1936): ZK
Pyatakov-Radek trial (January, 1937): PR
Following is a list of other abbreviations used in the report:
C.P.S.U.: Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
C.C.: Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
C.C.C.: Central Control Commission of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
C.E.C.: Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union C.I.,Comintern: The Communist International
E.C.C.I.: Executive Committee of the Communist International.
GPU: The Soviet Secret Police.
Independent of extrinsic evidence, the Commission finds:
(1) That the conduct of the Moscow trials was such as to convince any unprejudiced person that no effort was made to ascertain the truth.
(2) While confessions are necessarily entitled to the most serious consideration, the confessions themselves contain such inherent improbabilities as to convince the Commission that they do not represent the truth, irrespective of any means used to obtain them.
(3) On the basis of all the evidence, we find that Trotsky never gave Smirnov any terrorist instructions through Sedov or anybody else.
(4) On the basis of all the evidence, we find that Trotsky never gave Dreitzer terrorist instructions through Sedov or anybody else.
(5) On the basis of all the evidence, we find that Holtzman never acted as go-between for Smirnov on the one hand and Sedov on the other for the purposes of any terrorist conspiracy.
(6) We find that Holtzman never met Sedov in Copenhagen; that he never went with Sedov to see Trotsky; that Sedov was not in Copenhagen during Trotsky’s sojourn in that city; that Holtzman never saw Trotsky in Copenhagen.
(7) We find that Olberg never went to Russia with terrorist instructions from Trotsky or Sedov.
(8) We find that Berman-Yurin never received terrorist instructions from Trotsky in Copenhagen, and that BermanYurin never saw Trotsky in Copenhagen.
(9) We find that David never received terrorist instructions from Trotsky in Copenhagen, and that David never saw Trotsky in Copenhagen.
(10) We find no basis whatever for the attempt to link Moissei Lurye and Nathan Lurye with an alleged Trotskyist conspiracy.
(11) We find that Trotsky never met Vladimir Romm in the Bois de Boulogne; that he transmitted no messages through Romm to Radek. We find that Trotsky and Sedov never had any connection with Vladimir Romm.
(12) We find that Pyatakov did not fly to Oslo in December, 1935; he did not, as charged, see Trotsky; he did not receive from Trotsky any instructions of any kind. We find that the disproof of Pyatakov’s testimony on this crucial point renders his whole confession worthless.
(13) We find that the disproof of the testimony of the defendant Pyatakov completely invalidates the testimony of the witness Bukhartsev.
(14) We find that the disproof of Vladimir Romm’s testimony and that of Pyatakov completely invalidates the testimony of the defendant Radek.
(15) We find that the disproof of the confessions of Smirnov, Pyatakov and Radek completely invalidates the confessions of Shestov and Muralov.
(16) We are convinced that the alleged letters in which Trotsky conveyed alleged conspiratorial instructions to the various defendants in the Moscow trials never existed; and that the testimony concerning them is sheer fabrication.
(17) We find that Trotsky throughout his whole career has always been a consistent opponent of individual terror. The Commission further finds that Trotsky never instructed any of the defendants or witnesses in the Moscow trials to assassinate any political opponent.
(18) We find that Trotsky never instructed the defendants or witnesses in the Moscow trials to engage in sabotage, wrecking, and diversion. On the contrary, he has always been a consistent advocate of the building up of socialist industry and agriculture in the Soviet Union and has criticized the present regime on the basis that its activities were harmful to the building up of socialist economy in Russia. He is not in favor of sabotage as a method of opposition to any political regime.
(19) We find that Trotsky never instructed any of the accused or witnesses in the Moscow trials to enter into agreements with foreign powers against the Soviet Union. On the contrary, he has always uncompromisingly advocated the defense of the U.S.S.R. He has also been a most forthright ideological opponent of the fascism represented by the foreign powers with which he is accused of having conspired.
(20) On the basis of all the evidence we find that Trotsky never recommended, plotted, or attempted the restoration of capitalism in the U.S.S.R. On the contrary, he has always uncompromisingly opposed the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and its existence anywhere else.
(21) We find that the Prosecutor fantastically falsified Trotsky’s role before, during and after the October Revolution.
(22) We therefore find the Moscow trials to be frame-ups.
(23) We therefore find Trotsky and Sedov not guilty.
John Dewey, Chairman
John R. Chamberlain
E. A. Ross
Suzanne La Follette, Secretary
John F. Finerty, Counsel, Concurring.
New York, September 21, 1937.