Dimitrov vs. Göbbels


Dimitrov's notes for his first speech in Court


Born on June 18, 1882, at Radomir, near Sofia.

Left school in the 6th grade, worked as a compositor up to 1904.

Son of the Bulgarian working class.

Born and brought up in the ranks of the revolutionary workers' movement (I have been active in this movement from the age of 15).

For thirty, years member of the Bulgarian Communist Party, - (formerly the Party, of the so-called Narrow or Left-Wing Socialists.

For twenty-three years member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Bulgaria.

From 1904 to 1923 secretary of the Trade Union Federation.

From 1913 to 1923 Party national representative for Sofia in the Bulgarian Parliament - also representative of the Party in the municipal Council of Sofia and in the Regional Council of Sofia.

At the same time I was active as a Party speaker and writer.

June 9, 1923 - Military coup d'etat - overthrow) of Stamboliiski's Government - by officers and Macedonian terrorists under the patronage of the Tsar himself, aided by, Social-Democrats and from abroad.

Thousands upon thousands of peasants, workers, intellectuals murdered. Stamboliiski murdered.

Largest parties - Agrarian Union and Communist Party - dissolved.

All rights and liberties of the mass of the people abolished.

Introduction of a military-fascist regime.

Boundless indignation - mass uprising inevitable.

September 23 - Workers' and peasants' uprising under the leadership of the Communist Party against the oppressors of the people and the usurpers of power, for a worker-peasant government.

In this uprising I was delegated by my Party to take an active and leading part.

After a week of armed struggle the uprising was defeated. Fighting every step of the way, with about a thousand of my comrades-in-arms I crossed over into Yugoslav territory.

There we were treated at first as political prisoners and later as political refugees.

From that time onwards - exactly ten years - I have been living abroad as a political refugee and a political writer - unregistered and under a false name, because while abroad I was again threatened with death by my enemies.

Several months after the September uprising I was sentenced to death by default - as the press announced at the time. I never had the opportunity of hearing the sentence pronounced against me.

I am proud of the heroic uprising.

I only regret that I and my Party were not yet real Bolsheviks at that time. That is why we were unable successfully to organize and lead this historic people's uprising, headed by the proletariat.

Our insufficiently Bolshevik organization, policy and tactics, the lack of revolutionary experience, and especially our opportunist and so-called neutral attitude towards the military-fascist coup on June 9, did much to help the murderers and executioners of the Bulgarian people, the usurpers of state power, to suppress the uprising of the masses.

But the Party has learned and appreciated the bloody lessons of this experience, and the struggle for the emancipation of the Bulgarian workers and peasants, under the leadership of the Communist Party, enlightened by the great experience of the September Uprising, is going unfalteringly forward to the final victory.

In order to root out Communism, immediately after the uprising and in the two following years the government's fascist gangs murdered more that 20,000 workers, peasants and intellectuals. My brother, too, was murdered in the police prison. But, notwithstanding this, Communism has incomparably deeper and stronger roots in Bulgaria now than in 1923 - undoubtedly a useful warning for all the eager extirpators of Communism in other countries - for all the many varieties of modern Don Quixotes.

October 1, 1923, I left for Vienna.

Support for my suffering fellow-fighters in Yugoslavia. Campaign for the defence of persecuted and bestially slaughtered class comrades in Bulgaria.

Here, for three months, I edited and published the Party organ, Rabotnicheski Vestnik.

Published two pamphlets against the bloody White Terror in Bulgaria, in Bulgarian, German and English.

In the spring of 1924 went to Moscow as a political refugee and political writer and stayed until the end of 1926.

In 1927 I was again in Vienna, in connexion with the projected amnesty, up to the autumn of 1929. I was not amnestied.

Publication of the Party paper, Komunistichesko Znamé, contacts with certain Party papers.

From the autumn of 1929 I was settled in Berlin - far fewer Bulgarian refugees were there, and therefore safer incognito.

Two fairly long interruptions - from November 1929 to May 1930, and from December 1931 to June 1932, in the Soviet Union.

I returned specially to Berlin in the summer of 1932 in connexion with the last draft Amnesty Law, in order personally to organize the amnesty campaign.

Journeys to Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris.

I have never taken part in German politics - have no contacts with the Communist Party of Germany. This was not necessary for my work.

But I openly state that if I had needed these contacts for my work I certainly should have been associated with the Communist Party of Germany.

I was ill touch with International Press Correspondence only because of my articles.

It is true that I am a Bolshevik, a proletarian revolutionary. I must emphasize prolelarian revolutionary because this is a period of confusion in which even the German Crown Prince is accustomed to proclaim himself a revolutionary, and in which there are also such crazy revolutionaries as, for instance, van der Lubbe.

It is also true that as a member of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Communist international, I am a responsible and a leading Communist.

And I am ready to accept full responsibility for all the decisions, documents and actions of my Bulgarian Party and of the Communist International. But precisely for this reason I am not a terrorist adventurer, a conspirator or an incendiary.

Further, it is perfectly true that I am in favour of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. I am firmly convinced that this is the only way out of, the only salvation from the economic crisis and the catastrophe of war under capitalism.

And the fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat and for the victory of Communism is, without any doubt, the whole substance of my life. I should like to live at least another twenty years for Communism and then quietly die. But precisely for this reason I am a convinced opponent of the methods of individual terror and conspiracies.

And this is not from any sentimental or humanitarian considerations. In agreement with our Leninist theory, and with the decisions and discipline of the Communist International, which for me and for every true Communist are the supreme law, I am opposed to individual terror and to putschist activities from the standpoint of revolutionary expediency, in the interests of the proletarian revolution and of Communism itself.

I am, in fact, an enthusiastic follower and admirer of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, because this Party rules the largest country in the world - a sixth part of the earth - and is building up socialism with such heroism and with such success,

But I have never been an emissary in Germany of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, as the indictment tries to indicate.

The only breach of the law which I have committed in Germany consists in the fact that I have lived there unregistered and under a false name.

But unfortunately it was impossible for me to live in any other way.

With the burning of the Reichstag I had absolutely nothing to do, whether directly or indirectly. The Reichstag incendiary, van der Lubbe, I now see for the first time in this hall. When, early in the morning of February 28, in the train from Munich to Berlin, I read in the papers about the burning of the Reichstag, I immediately took the view that the instigators of this action were either despicable provocateurs or mentally and politically demented people, and in any case enemies of the German working class and of Communism.

I am now more inclined to assume that the burning of the Reichstag - this anti-Communist undertaking - must have taken place as a result of a double alliance between political provocation and political madness.

It would hardly be possible to make a graver attack upon my revolutionary, political and personal honour than to cast upon me the suspicion arid the accusation that I had a share in this crime against the people and against Communism.

My consolation was, and is to this day, that my Bulgarian comrades-in-arms, the class comrades abroad, the revolutionary proletarians in Germany, and all who are acquainted with me in some degree, cannot doubt for a single instant that I am innocent. I wish most forcefully to stress that I have had just as much to do with the burning of the Reichstag as, for instance, any foreign correspondent in this hall or the judges themselves could have had.

At the same time I wish to state most emphatically that I have had absolutely no connexion, not even a chance connexion or the most remote connexion, with this crime.

During the preliminary examination I submitted two written statements - on March 20 and May 30 - where practically everything essential in my defence has already been said.

On the other hand, I did not sign the depositions at the preliminary examinations because they were incomplete and tendentious.

My whole preliminary examination was based on the express intention of turning me into an incendiary of the Reichstag for the benefit of the Supreme Court - at any price, and in spite of the facts which disproved this; and even after the preliminary investigation, which had lasted for months, had still failed - as I now see clearly - to discover the real criminals.

September 25, 1933