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Albert Gates

The Refusal of Natalia Trotsky’s Request

Nuremberg Showed Moscow Trials
Were Frameups

(14 October 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 41, 14 October 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

Leaving aside for the moment the main purpose of the Nuremburg Trial [1], it did accomplish one historic act. In a negative way, it proved that the Moscow Trials against the Old Bolsheviks were calculated frame-ups by Stalin against the leaders of the Russian Revolution.

The negative proof was provided in the refusal of the Nuremburg Court to entertain the petition of committees in the United States and England, composed of trade unionists, writers and public men, including a petition from Natalia Sedov, widow of Leon Trotsky and mother of Leon Sedov, to investigate the charges of the Moscow Trials that Trotsky and his son, Sedov, had conspired with the German and Japanese governments to wage war on Russia. This was a real opportunity for the Allied powers, particularly Russia, to strengthen their case against the Nazis, IF there was only a grain of truth in the charges of the Moscow Trials. That there was not even a grain of truth in the trials is apparent from the Nuremburg Trial, as well as the trials held in Japan, where the defendants and the charges of the Moscow Trials have not been mentioned once in any way whatever.

World Doubted Verdict of Moscow Trials

The main charge of the Moscow Trials, you must remember, was that Leon Trotsky had conspired with Germany and Japan to invade Russia, overthrow the Stalin regime, seize power with the aid of his alleged group in Russia (Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, Piatakov, etc.) and then grant territorial and business concessions to the fascist and military dictatorships of the respective Axis countries. To accomplish this aim, Trotsky was charged with ordering his alleged group to engage in sabotage, and terrorist acts against the regime and its functionaries. Trotsky was also charged with having met the Nazi leader Hess secretly as well as representatives of the German General Staff. These meetings, it was further alleged, helped prepare the war against Russia and worked out the details of the master plan.

On the basis of these charges, Stalin’s secret police prepared a series of trumped-up charges and pre-arranged trials in which the outstanding leaders of the Russian Revolution, Lenin’s principal associates and the founders of the workers’ state were judicially murdered by the dictator in the Kremlin.

The world received the Moscow Trials and the verdicts with grave doubts. The pre-arranged trials and the extorted confessions, the self-abasement of the witnesses and their willingness to indulge in the lowest forms of self-incrimination and recrimination gave the whole spectacle a ludicrous though macabre appearance. The revolution was devouring its children, cried the opponents of the Russian Revolution. Here was the living proof that socialism was an inhuman system. For though there was nothing in common between Stalin’s regime and socialism, the ruling class in Russia conspired against the best interests of the Revolution in the name of socialism.

Stalinists Try to Justify Trials

The trials brought into existence committees in many countries to investigate the charges of the Moscow hangmen. The most famous was the Preliminary Commission of Inquiry which held hearings in Mexico to obtain direct evidence from Trotsky on the charges made against him. Socialists, radicals and liberals entered this movement for various reasons. The radicals and liberals to guarantee a measure of justice to the defendants; the socialists to preserve the theory, practice, morals and traditions of the socialist movement. Thus, long before Nuremburg, the Preliminary Commission had determined that the Moscow Trials were a frame-up.

In preparation of the movements that inevitably came into existence to doubt and challenge the brutal murder of Lenin’s associates, Moscow unleashed its own legions of hired liars and propagandists, in all countries to defend the trials and endorse the verdicts of the secret police trials. During the days of the Hitler-Stalin Pact these agents of Moscow had tough sailing to square the Moscow Trials, which had charged the defendants with being German agents, and the new alliance between Russia and Germany. In those days, the pact was defended on the grounds that Germany under Hitler wanted peace; that it was Great Britain and France and the United States which were the imperialist war mongers. But when Hitler invaded Russia in violation of the pact and to the complete surprise of Stalin, the latter’s agents throughout the world were saved their difficulties.

The new line was that the pact with Germany served to give Russia a breathing spell to prepare for war on the side of the Allies. And Germany’s invasion of Russia seemed to prove the veracity of the Moscow Trials. Former Russian Ambassador Davies wrote a fairy tale called Mission to Moscow, which was compounded of GPU lies fed to the gullible, conceited and ignorant diplomat. Hollywood turned out a movie from this book which helped to bolster up the lies of the Moscow Trials as seen by this duped Ambassador. But the Stalinists were unsatisfied with the results of this assistance from an official of the State Department.

They had two of their fellow-travelers and agents in the United States, Michael Sayers and Alfred Kahn, write another book called The Great Conspiracy, which set out to prove that the men who made the Russian Revolution were really foreign agents from the very beginning and that the Moscow Trials were wholly justified. This book, too, was inspired by the NKVD and reproduced all the official lies prepared in the Kremlin.

The new world situation which finds Russia and the Western Powers In a struggle for world power has once again brought into question the whole course of Stalinism and particularly the Moscow Trials. That is why the Stalinists are carrying out such a concentrated campaign to sell this new book written by their hired literary hacks

Unable to Prove Charges with Established Facts

The doubts about the Moscow Trials are again spreading and the verdict of the commission headed by the venerable John Dewey that the Moscow Trials were a frame-up has gathered new force.

The Stalinist frame-up artists, for example, charged:

  1. Trotsky met with Hess and reached an agreement with the German General Staff.
  2. Trotsky communicated his agreement with the German fascists and Japanese militarists for war against Russia to Piatakov, who flew to Oslo from Berlin in a German airplane.
  3. The conspiracy was furthered by a meeting of Trotsky’s son, Leon Sedov, with one Holtzman on September 1, 1936, at the Hotel Bristol in Copenhagen.

There are literally hundreds of other such similar charges. None of them are corroborated. No details are given, such as: where did Trotsky meet Hess, and when? What name did Piatakov have on his passport when he went to Norway? Exactly where did he arrive and who manned the airport when he reached Oslo?

It is easy to understand why no proof was provided. These incidents were clumsily invented in the offices of the NKVD, and the Mexican hearings of the Preliminary Commission revealed the following uncontradicted facts:

  1. The Moscow frame-up artists could not have Piatakov in Oslo earlier than “December of 1935” because it was too well known that he was in Moscow and in Berlin prior thereto, and as late as December 21 was in Berlin, according to all newspaper dispatches. But in December of 1935, the airport at Oslo is closed down because of inclement weather. No planes leave or arrive there. There is no record at the airport of the arrival of any plane from Berlin on the date given in the Moscow Trials and no evidence that any person resembling Piatakov was ever in Norway on or about the date given.
  2. The meeting of Sedov and Holtzman in the Bristol Hotel was likewise an invention of the secret police and supported by “confession.” Sedov was not in Copenhagen on the dates given and the Bristol Hotel had burned down in the year 1917.
  3. Trotsky never met Hess in his life, nor any other representatives of the German government, or the German General Staff.

But it was out of this kind of stuff the Moscow Trials were built. And it was on the basis of an acceptance of these lies that the gullible tourist in world politics, ex-Ambassador Davies, wrote his scurrilous book. But he was and remains at least unconscious of what he was doing. But the same cannot be said for the hired literary hacks, Sayers and Kahn. They are conscious Stalinist agents.

That is why we say that the Nuremburg Trial is a living answer to the frameups of the Moscow Trials. If the evidence of the Moscow frameups was real evidence, then it would

have been reintroduced into the Nuremburg hearings as additional proof of the Nazi conspiracy. The petition presented to the Nuremburg judges by the more than a hundred outstanding trade unionists, liberals, writers and teachers that Hess be questioned about his alleged meeting with Trotsky; that any other defendants be questioned on whether they or any of their representatives met with Trotsky or any representative purporting to speak for him or his son; whether any money was ever given by Germany, by the cabinet or the General Staff, to Trotsky or any of his representatives; whether Piatakov was given a passport by the German government to go to Oslo; and whether there were any documents implicating the Old Bolsheviks in any conspiracy against Russia.

But the Nuremburg judges saw fit not to pursue this line of questioning. That the Russian representatives did not avail themselves of this “opportunity” to prove their case is understandable. To have pursued this line of questioning of the defendants would have borne out the truth of the charges that the Moscow Trials were a frameup; that there was not a grain of truth in any of the charges contained in the indictment and the prosecution headed by the arch-conspirator Stalin and his agent, Vyshinsky. Vyshinsky was a prosecutor at Nuremburg. He could have, had he wanted to, easily continued where he left off in Moscow. But he did not; he was fearful of the results of such a line of questioning, fearful that it would disclose his role in the Moscow Trials as a Stalinist puppet engaged in murdering the leaders of the Russian Revolution whom he had opposed in 1917 and 1918.

Why then did not the prosecutors representing the Allied countries accept the proposals of the petitioners? For two reasons:

  1. They could not embarrass their Russian allies in the prosecution, for undoubtedly the Russians objected to any kind of examination of the defendants relating to the “evidence” of the Moscow Trials.
  2. The charges of the Moscow Trials were too palpably false and ludicrous to be rehearsed again.


Footnote by ETOL

1. Throughout the original printed version of the article the English name of the city is spelled incorrectly (Nuremburg), although it is spelled correctly in the title.

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