Goldman Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Albert Goldman

Goldman Asks to Question
Nazi Defendants

(15 May 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 21, 25 May 1946, pp. 1 & 8.
This letter was also printed in Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 21, 27 May 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

CHICAGO, May 15 – Albert Goldman, attorney for Leon Trotsky and his widow, Natalia Trotsky, today sent to Sir Geoffrey Lawrence, Chief Justice of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Germany, the following letter requesting the right to examine the Nazi defendants, especially Hess, in connection with the infamous Moscow frame-up trials.

The full text of the letter follows:

Esteemed Chief Justice:

You have by this time undoubtedly received two letters requesting you to ask the Nazi defendants, especially Hess, certain questions calculated to elicit information as to whether or not any of the defendants ever entered into any agreement with the late Leon Trotsky, who was murdered in August 1940 by one of Stalin’s hired assassins.

Prominent Signators

One of the letters is signed by prominent American citizens, among whom is Norman Thomas, James T. Farrell, Matthew Woll, and Dorothy Thompson. The other letter is signed by prominent English citizens, among whom is H.G. Wells.

In both of the letters you were informed that the indictments upon which the infamous Moscow trials of 1936–38 were based charged that Leon Trotsky and his son Sedov had entered into an agreement with the defendant Hess, acting as agent for the Nazi government, for the purpose of waging war against the Soviet Union and dismembering that country.

One of the chief defendants (or better, victims) of the Moscow trials, Pyatakov, testified in support of the above allegation of the indictment.

That particular charge of the indictment (as well as all other charges), together with Pyatakov’s testimony, was proved to be false and the Commission of Inquiry, headed by John Dewey, the famous philosopher and educator, after an exhaustive examination of all available evidence, found Trotsky and his son not guilty and designated the charges as frame-ups.

The alleged accomplices of the alleged conspiracy are now on trial. They can be examined. The Nazi archives are in the possession of the governments now occupying Germany. The persons who signed the letters mentioned above have requested in the interests of historic truth, that you and all others who are helping conduct the trial examine the defendants and ask all those who have charge of the Nazi archives to produce any documents dealing with the alleged agreement between the Nazis and Trotsky.

I was the attorney for the late Leon Trotsky when he appeared before the Dewey Commission; I am now attorney-in-fact of his widow, Natalia Trotsky.

Both Mrs. Trotsky and I take the position that the findings of the Dewey Commission are conclusive. Nevertheless, for the purpose of convincing those who are not yet convinced that the Moscow trials were frame-ups, we are perfectly willing to have the Nazi defendants, especially Hess, examined and to ask the governments now in control of Germany to search the Nazi archives for any documents dealing with the alleged conspiracy.

But we know the methods of the Russian prosecution: we realize that the NKVD, commonly known as the GPU (the Russian Secret police), includes experts in the art of frame-up. We know that the NKVD can easily forge documents which they deem necessary for their purposes.

While we support the request for an examination of the defendants and of any documents produced by the Russian prosecutors, we insist that we be given the right to cross-examine any witness who testifies on this question and to examine any documents that might be produced by the Russians in support of their frame-up. Mrs. Trotsky has authorized me to represent her at the trials and to examine and cross-examine any witness.

I realize that the overwhelming probability is that the Stalinist prosecutors and judges will object strenuously to any proposed examination of the witnesses on the subject of their alleged relationship with Leon Trotsky. Once more would the Moscow trials be shown to be frame-ups.

I submit, however, that it is your duty to go ahead with such an examination in spite of the objections of the Russians.

Should you decide to proceed with the examination, please let me know and I shall leave for Nuremberg immediately.

Goldman Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 21 January 2019