August 20 (evening session)


The Court then proceeds to examine the accused Olberg.

The President:  Accused Olberg, do you confirm your principal testimony on terroristic work?

Olberg:  I confirm it fully and completely.

Vyshinsky:  How long have you been connected with Trotskyism?

Olberg makes a detailed statement to the effect that he was a member of the German Trotskyite organization since 1927-28. His contact with Trotsky and Sedov, Trotsky's son, began in 1930. This contact was arranged by an active member of the German Trotskyite organization, Anton Grilevich, the publisher of Trotsky's pamphlets in German. At first contact was established by correspondence with Sedov, who passed Trotsky's commissions on to Olberg; and in the spring of 1931, in May, when Sedov arrived in Berlin, their personal acquaintance began.

Vyshinsky:  Did you meet Sedov frequently?

Olberg:  From May 1931 to the end of 1932 we met nearly every week, and sometimes 'tvice a week. We either met in a cafe on Nürnbergerplatz, or I would visit him in his apartment.

Olberg then proceeds to relate the events preceding his first visit to the Soviet Union.

Olberg:  The first time Sedov spoke to me about my journey was after Trotsky's message in connection with Trotsky's being deprived of the citizenship of the U.S.S.R. in the message Trotsky developed the idea that it was necessary to assassinate Stalin. This idea was expressed in the following words; "Stalin must be removed."

Sedov showed me the typewritten text of this message and said: "Well, now you see, it cannot be expressed in a clearer way. it is a diplomatic wording." Sedov also said that it was necessary to send a number of people to the Soviet Union; it was then that Sedov proposed that I should go to the U.S.S.R. He knew that I spoke Russian and he was sure that I could gain a foothold there.

A difficulty arose about the passport. I did not have any definite citizenship, and for that reason alone could not obtain a visa.  Soon, however, Iwas able to fix it up, and when I obtained a passport in the name of Freudigmann, I left for U.S.S.R.

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 U.S.S.R. and expressed the hope that I would succeed in carrying out the mission entrusted to me. Sedov showed me this letter.

Vyshinsky:  What do you know about Friedmann?

Olberg:  Friedmann was a member of the Berlin Trotskyite organization, who was also sent to the Soviet Union.

Vyshinsky:  Are you aware of the fact that Friedmann was connected with the German police?

Olberg:  I heard about that.

Vyshinsky:  Connection between the German Trotskyites and the German police - was that systematic?

Olberg: Yes, it was systematic and it was done with Trotsky's conset.

Vyshinsky:  How do you know that it was done with Trotsky's knowledge and consent?

Olberg:  One of these lines of connection was maintained by myself. My connection was established with the sanction of Trotsky.

Vyshinsky:  Your personal connection with whom?

Olberg:  With the fascist secret police.

Vyshinsky:  So it can be said that you yourself admit connection with the Gestapo?

Olberg:  I do not deny this. In 1933 there began organized systematic connection between the German Trotskyites and the German fascist police.

The accused Olberg then proceeds to give an account of circumstances and facts directly relating to his visits to the U.S.S.R. He went to the Soviet Union three times.

The first time Olberg went to the U.S.S.R. was at the end of March, 1933, when he travelled with a false passport in the name of a certain Freudigmann. He had obtained this passport in Berlin.Olberg remained in the Soviet Union up to the end of July 1933. The purpose of the visit was to prepare and carry out the assassination of Comrade Stalin.

On arriving in the U.S.S.R. Olberg lived secretly in Moscow for six weeks, and then went to Stalinabad, where he obtained a position as teacher of history. As he had no documents regarding military service, he was obliged to return abroad and went to Prague.

From Prague Olberg wrote to Sedov informing him about his failure.

Sedov replied saying that he must not lose heart and promised to try to obtain a better passport.

Meanwhile Olberg himself succeeded in obtaining a passport in Prague. His younger brother, Paul Olberg lived in Prague and was connected with Tukalevsky, an agent of the German secret police in Prague. Paul Olberg cheered up his brother, stating that Tukalevsky could help him in "this trouble."

Olberg:  After 1933 I visited Tukalevsky with my younger brother.

Vyshinsky:  Who is Tukalevsky?

Olberg:  Tukalevski is the director of the Slavonic Library of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague. I learned from my brother that he was an agent of the fascist secret police. Tukalevskyhad been informed that I would visit him, and he told me that he would try to get the necessary documents for me.

Then, continues Olberg, I wrote a letter to Sedov in Paris telling him about the proposal made by the agent of the Gestapo, and asked him to inform me whether L. D. Trotsky would approve of an arrangement with such an agent. After some time I received a reply sanctioning my actions, that is to say, my understanding with Tukalevsky. Sedov wrote saying that the strictest secrecy was necessary, and that none of the other members of the Trotskyite organization was to be informed about this understanding.

Through Tukalevsky and through a certain Benda, Olberg obtained a passport from Lucas Parades, Consul-General of the Republic of Honduras in Berlin, who had arrived in Prague at that time.

Olberg:  He sold me the passport for 13,000 Czechoslovak kronen. This mony I received from Sedov.

Vyshinsky:  Did you have any connection with the Republic of Honduras?

Olberg:  No, never.

Vyshinsky:  Permit me to show this: is this the passport? (The commandant of the Court presents the passport.)

Olberg:  Yes, that is the one. It really was issued by a real consul in the name of the Republic of Honduras. There is such a republic in Central America.

Vyshinsky:  Perhaps your parents had some connection with that republic?

Olberg:  No.

Vyshinsky:  Your forefathers?

Olberg:  No.

Vyshinsky:  And you yourself - where are you from?

Olberg:  I am from Riga.

This time, continues Olberg, I intended to travel to the U.S.S.R. by way of Germany. Tukalevsky advised me to meet Slomovitz in Berlin. I had known her previously. Tukalevsky told me that the Berlin Trotskyites had concluded an agreement with the Gestapo and that if met Slomovitz in Berlin I could obtain assistance and help from her if I needed it.

I visited Slomovitz in Berlin, and she told me the following: During my absence the Trotskyite cadres dwindled to a small group, and they were now confronted with the dilemma: either to dissolve or to come to an agreement with the German fascists. The basis for the agreement was the preparation and carrying out of acts of terrorism against the leaders of the C.P.S.U. and the Soviet government. Trotsky had sanctioned the agreement between the Berlin Trotskyites and the Gestapo, and the Trotskyites were in fact left free.

From the point of view of the Berlin Trotskyites, the overthrew of the Soviet system, the fight against the Soviet government, was conceivable in two ways: either by intervention, or by individual terroristic acts. The assassination of Kirov, according to Slomovitz, showed that terroristic acts against the leaders of the Party and the government could be carried out in the Soviet Union.

In Slomovitz's apartment I met an employee of the Gestapo, to whom she introduced me, and he informed me that if I needed assistance he would willingly help me in preparing terroristic acts, in the first place against Stalin.

In March, 1935, Olberg arrived in the Soviet Union for the second time. This visit was also fruitless because he had a tourist visa,  could not stay long, and had to return to Germany after a few days. There he remained for three months, and again received instructions from Sedov to make another attempt. In July 1935 Olberg again went to the Soviet Union.

After remaining in Minsk for a short time, he went to Gorky, and there he established contact with the Trotskyites Yelin and Fedotov. He soon obtained employment in the Gorky Pedagogical Institute, where he remained until his arrest. It was here, in Gorky that plans were worked out for an attempt on the life of Comrade Stalin.

Vyshinsky:  Did you obtain the Honduras passport after your second return?

Olberg:  The second time also I came on the Honduras passport.

Vyshinsky:  Did you come on a tourist visa? 

Olberg:  Yes, but I had the Honduras passport.

Vyshinsky:  How were you able to get an extension of that passport the second time?

Olberg:  I managed that . . . I forgot to say that at this time my brother moved to the Soviet Union.

Vyshinsky:  There is a gap here in your testimony. In what capacity did your brother, Paul Olberg, arrive here?

Olberg:  What tasks Tukalevsky gave him I do not know. But I advised him to go to the Soviet Union so that he could help me to gain a foothold.

Vyshinsky:  Why did he have to help you in gaining a foothold?

Olberg:  He is an engineer, and it was much easier for him to obtain employment. He had genuine documents. At any rate, not such fictitious papers as I had.

Vyshinsky:  So your brother arrived in the U.S.S.R. on a genuine German passport, and as an engineer could more easily gain a foothold here?

Olberg:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Did your brother have any connection with the Gestapo?

Olberg:  He was Tukalevsky's agent.

Vyshinsky:  An agent of the fascist police?

Olberg:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  When did you have that talk with Sedov about not permitting the Trotskyite organization to be compromised?

Olberg:  That was at the time of my second journey. He said that if I were arrested by the organs of state security of the U.S.S.R., I was under no circumstances to say that this terroristic act was carried out on Trotsky's instructions, and at all events, I was to try to conceal Trotsky's role.

Vyshinsky:  Whom did he advise you to throw the blame on for the organization of terroristic acts?

Olberg:  On the White Guards, on the Gestapo.

Vyshinsky:  Consequently, we may put it this way: you, Valentine Olberg, were connected with Trotsky through his son Sedov; you were sent on Trotsky's direct instructions, conveyed through Sedov, to the U.S.S.R. as Trotsky's agent to prepare and carry out a terroristic act against Comrade Stalin?

Olberg:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  In order to ensure the success of this work, you were connected through your brother with the German police?

Olberg:  Yes, that is so.

Vyshinsky:  Now tell us how you prepared the terroristic act.Olberg states that even before his arrival in Gorky he learned from Sedov that an underground Trotskyite organization existed in the U.S.S.R., the leaders of wich were Smirnov and Mrachkovsky. He also knew about Bakayev, whom Sedov referred to as a man with "extreme terroristic" inclinations. In Gorky Olberg learned from Fedotov that action detachments had been organized before his arrival. All that he had to do was to draw up the plan for the attempt at assassination.

The terroristic act was to have been committed in Moscow on May 1, 1936.

Vyshinsky:  What prevented you from carrying out this plan?

Olberg:  The arrest.

Vyshinsky:  Did you inform Sedov of the progress of the preparations for the terroristic act?

Olberg:  Yes, I wrote him several times at Slomovitz's address. And I received a letter from her stating that our old friend insisted that the thesis for the diploma be submitted by May 1.

Vyshinsky:  Thesis for the diploma - what is that?

Olberg:  The assassination of Stalin.

Vyshinsky:  And the old friend - who is that?

Olberg:  The old friend - that is Trotsky.