Dimitrov vs. Göbbels
transcriber's commets


On Hitler's Dock


February 27th, shortly after Hitler had become Reichskansler in Germany the Reichstag (Parliament) was burnt down. The Dutch vagabond van der Lubbe was immediately arrested. Wether he was guilty or not, is uncertain, but what is sure is that the fire was initiated by the Nazi Nationalsosialistishce Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands (NSDAP) to frame the German Communist Party (KPD), the largest CP in Western Europe, and to install their own dictatorship. The KPD was instantly blamed, as the police claimed to have found a membership card of the Dutch CP on van der Lubbe, although he had not been a member of the party the last five years (as far as the membership archives went back). The official story was then that he had set the building on fire after advice from the CP and the Comintern as a "signal of armed uprise". The KPD was outlawed shortly after and its 12,3% parliamentary seats nulled, even with the suppurt of the Social Democrat SPD.

Dimitrov had been living some years refugee in Germany. The event first came to his knowledge the day after as he read about it in a newspaper. Together with the former German Communist MP Torgler and two other Bulgarian Communists, he was arrested on March 9th, accused for being "comrades of van der Lubbe" ordering him to set the building on fire. The only piece of "evidence" they had, besides the alleged membership of the Dutch CP, was that a restaurant waiter and member of the NSDAP, Hellmer, claimed to have seen Dimitrov together with van der Lubbe in a Berlin restaurant.

Dimitrov was a refugee in Germany at this time. He first heard about the fire as he read about it in the newspapers on the train the day after. To his big suprise, then, he was arrested together with two other Bulgarian refugees on March 9th 1933, accused for participating in setting the Reichstag to fire. The only "evidence" they had, was a restaurant waiter and member of the NSDAP, Hellmer, who claimed to have seen Dimitrov and van der Lubbe together in a Berlin restraurant.

In order to blame the KPD and to discredit Communists worldwide, Joseph Göbbels, Minister of Propaganda, decided to hold open court hearings, and to invite worldzide press, after a bit of hesitation even Soviet press. He failed. Instead of being a Nazi propaganda show, Dimitrov, who represented himself, turned it into a great manifestation against Nazism. He exposed the hollow arguments of the Nazi-regime, revealing how the entire fire was set in order to frame the KPD and thereby he also revealed the nature of the Nazi-regime. As a result the regime never again dared holding any open trials.

Dimitrov wrote several hundred pages of letters while imprisoned. Only a few are presented here. The number of court hearings is also much larger, although many of the written reports were destroyed before they got public. These documents presented here are the ones printed in the official Bulgarian Selected Works, 1972-edition, of Dimitrov. I hope to publish more later if I get a hold of them, as these are too fragmented to fully show the nature of the documents, i.e. the analysis of Nazism which later, as Dimitrov became Chairman of the Comintern, was to form the basis of the Communist struggle against Fascism and war during the 30's and 40's.