Dimitrov vs. Göbbels


To Dr. Bünger1), President of the 4th Penal Department of the Supreme Court


Berlin, October 12, 1933

Dear Mr. President:

After the Supreme Court rejected all eight defence counsels proposed by me of my own choice, I have no other alternative but to defend myself to the best of my abilities and understanding. I am thus compelled to appear before the Supreme Court in a double role: first, as Dimitrov - the accused, and second, as defence counsel of the accused Dimitrov.

I quite agree that both as accused and as a person who defends himself, I am inconvenient and disagreeable to my prosecutors and those who give them orders. But I am not to blame for this.

After the judicial authorities were careless enough to put me, an absolutely innocent man, in the dock of the accused before the Supreme Court as a substitute incendiary of the Reichstag, they shall have to bear the consequences of their carelessness. They have cooked the broth which they will now have to eat. Whether they find it to their taste or not - that is none of my business; it does not interest me in the least.

I think that before the Supreme Court I am supposed to behave like a person who is accused of having committed a political crime, and not like a soldier in the barracks or a prisoner of war in a concentration camp.

I am firmly convinced that in this trial van der Lubbe is only, so to say, the Faustus in the Reichstag fire, behind whose back undoubtedly stood the Mephistopheles of the Reichstag fire. Poor Faustus is now standing before the Supreme Court, while Mephislopheles has disappeared.

As a casual and innocent accused, and still more as a Communist and member of the Communist International, I am most deeply interested in the all-round and complete elucidation of the case of the Reichstag fire, and at the same time in the detection of the vanished Mephistopheles of the fire.

I put all questions to the Court only with this and with no other aim in view. I do not need at all to make any propaganda in the Court, all the more so as the best propaganda for Communism has already been made, and not by myself, but by the very fact that innocent Communists have been brought to trial as incendiaries of the Reichstag, as well as by the 'classic' indictment of Dr. Parrisius.

It is my natural right to defend myself and to take an active part in the Court trial, both as an accused and as a person who defends himself alone. It is clear that no expulsions from the sittings of the Court and the Court sessions are in a position to frighten me in this respect, These expulsions precisely from the most important sittings and sessions are in fact nothing but a flagrant deprival of my rights to defend myself, and will only prove to the whole world that my prosecutors themselves are not too sure of their case. They will open the eyes of many credulous people, and in this way may supply new food to Communist propaganda.

If, nevertheless, this unbearable attitude towards me continues, then - let me state it quite frankly - I shall be compelled to decide, without taking into consideration the possible consequences, whether there is any sense at all in my further appearing before the Court.

Respectfully yours,
G. Dimitrov


1) In reply to Georgi Dimitrov's depositions made at the trial, the court resorted to various reprisals against him. On October 6, 1933, he was removed from the courtroom after revealing the illegal methods used in conducting the preliminary inquest by the police officers and the organs of investigation, impeaching them before the court of having divulged false information. On October 11, Dimitrov was again removed from the court sitting.

In this connexion, Georgi Dimitrov sent a letter protesting against the court's illegal measures, defending his rights as a political prisoner and unmasking those who were responsible for the Reichstag fire.