August 21 (morning session)


The morning session of August 21 begins with the examination of the accused Holtzman.

Holtzman was one of the most active members of the Trotskyite counter-revolutionary organization, personally connected with the leader of the Trotskyite centre in the U.S.S.R. - I. N. Smirnov.On Smirnov's instructions he maintained contact with the Trotskyite centre abroad.

In 1932 he personally reseived from L. Trotsky instructions regarding preparations for terroristic acts against the leaders of the C.P.S.U. and the Soviet government.

Holtzman testifies that he has known Smirnov since 1918. In 1926 Holtzman joined the Trotskyite organization. Later on he formally broke with the Trotskyites but continued to meet them, particularly Smirnov. After a protracted denial of his illegal Trotskyite activities, Holtzman, in reply to point-blank questions put to him by Comrade Vyshinsky, testifies that in 1931 he "accidentally" met Smirnov in the street. Smirnov proposed to meet him at his mother's apartment. In 1932 Holtzman came to the rendezvous and told Smirnov that he was to be sent abroad on official business but that "he was refusing to do this and would go reluctantly." Smirnov advised him to go. Holtzman agreed to accept the commission and to go abroad. Smirnov asked him to visit him once again before his departure.

The cross-examination of Holtzman and Smirnov establishes the fact that Smirnov preserved particular secrecy about Holtzman, using him for particularly secret missions.

Vyshinsky:  I ask you, were you a secret member of the Trotskyite organization acting under the guidance of Smirnov? Do you before this proletarian Court plead guilty to this or not?

Holtzman:  Yes.

The State Prosecutor further establishes that the meetings in the apartment of Smirnov's mother were not accidental and that this apartment served as the regular meeting-place for Holtzman and Smirnov. In establishing the circumstances of the meetings between Holtzman and Smirnov in the apartment of Smirnov's mother, Comrade Vyshinsky puts a number of questions to Holtzman.

Vyshinsky:  So you knew that at a certain time you would find Smirnov in his mother's apartment?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  This was Smirnov's Trotskyite meeting place?

Holtzman:  As it now appears, yes.

The accused Holtzman fails to disprove the fact that on the instructions of the Trotskyite centre he remained a covert Trotskyite within the Party.

Vyshinsky:  Formally you were in the Party?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  At the same time you were a Trotskyite?

Holtzman:  A Trotskyite.

Vyshinsky:  And. . . .

Holtzman:  A counter-revolutionary.

Vyshinsky:  And a double-dealer?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Before his departure from the U.S.S.R. Holtzman went to the meeting-place and met Smirnov there, Smirnov told Holtzman that when in Berlin he was to meet Trotsky's son, Sedov. Smirnov told Holtzman that he would give him a report which he was to deliver to Sedov for Trotsky. As both Holtzman and Smirnov admit, this report was to have been handed peronally to Sedov for delivery to Trotsky. Smirnov gave Holtzman a telephone number by which he was to ring up Sedov. Smirnov then gave him the password which was: "I have brought greetings from Galya." Further evidence establishes the fact that Smirnov also gave Holtzman a secret code for correspondence with Trotsky, for which purpose certain pages from the Arabian Nights  were used.

On arrival in Berlin, testifies Holtzman, he telephoned Sedov and arranged to meet him. The meeting took place near the Zoological Garden. As Holtzman and Sedov did not know each other, it was agreed that both were to carry in their hands copies of the Berliner Tageblatt  and of the Vorwärts.  On meeting Holtzman, Sedov proposed to go by car.

Continuing, Holtzman says: "We drove off. I don't remember the street. Sedov took me to a flat. No one was there. It was on the fourth floor. There I gave him the report and the secret code. . . . Thus I met him six or eight times in the course of four months. In November I again telephoned Sedov and we met once again. Sedov said to me: 'As you are going to the U.S.S.R., it would be a good thing if you came with me to Copenhagen where my father is.' "

Vyshinsky:  That is to say?

Holtzman:  That is to say, Trotsky.

Vyshinsky:  Did you go?

Holtzman:  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.

About 10 a.m. we went to Trotsky. When we arrived Trotsky first of all asked me about the feelings and the attitude of the mass of the Party members towards Stalin. I told him that I intended to leave Copenhagen that day and would leave for the U.S.S.R.within several days. Then Trotsky, walking up and down the room in a rather excited state, told me that he was preparing a letter for Smirnov, but as I was leaving that day he would not write it I must say that throughout this conversation I was alone with Trotsky. Very often Trotsky's son Sedov came in and out of the room.

Continuing, Holtzman testifies that in the course of the conversation Trotsky said that it was "necessary to remove Stalin."

Vyshinsky:  What does "remove Stalin" mean? Explain it.

Holtzman:  I will speak about that. Then Trotsky said that if Stalin were removed, it would be possible for the Trotskyites to come into power and to the leadership of the C.P.S.U. He also said that the only means of removing Stalin was terrorism.

Vyshinsky:  Did Trotsky say that outright?

Holtzman:  Yes. He said that for this purpose it was necessary to choose cadres of responsible people fit for this task. Then he said that this was to be communicated to Smirnov, but I was not to tell anybody else about it.

Vyshinsky:  Only Smirnov?

Holtzman:  Yes. At that moment Sedov came in and began hurrying us to finish the conversation. With this our conversation ended, and left.

Vyshinsky:  So Trotsky plainly told you that the fundamental task now (that is, in the autumn of 1932) was to assassinate Comrade Stalin? You remember for sure?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  So this was Trotsky's instruction?

Holtzman:  Yes. Trotsky could not put it in writing, and so I accepted it in verbal form and communicated the exact sense of it on my arrival in Moscow.

Vyshinsky:  That was Trotsky's verbal instruction?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Under further examination Holtzman tries to evade responsibility,declaring that he did not share Trotsky's point of view about terrorism. But the accused is immediately exposed as having remained in the underground Trotskyite organization and having continued to meet Trotskyites after his return to the U.S.S.R.

Vyshinsky:  We know that some time later Smirnov received instructions on terrorism also independently of you. I am exposing you as having received these instructions. You knew that the Trotskyites had already taken up a terroristic position and yet you continued to remain a Trotskyite?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Kept up connections with the Trotskyites?

Holtzman:  Yes.

Vyshinsky:  Hence, you continued to be a member of the Trotskyite organization?

Holtzman  Yes.