Memorandum from F. Kotelnikov, Secretary of the party committee of the ECCI’s party organization, to Dimitrov, Manuilsky and Moskvin about the work of exposing “the wreckers in the ECCI.”
9682 (5) sp.
11. VIII. 36.
TO THE GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE COMINTERN’S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Com. DIMITROV, AND c.c. MANUILSKY AND MOSKVIN.
In the course of the verification and exchange of the party documents,[i] our party organization of the Comintern Executive Committee apparatus, as an integral part of the united, monolithic Leninist-Stalinist party, examined its ranks and purged those of them [deemed] unreliable, those unworthy of the great honor of being a Communist Party member. [The party organization] exposed and expelled from its ranks a group of degenerates who became traitors to and enemies of the party and the working class.
To our shame and disgrace, in our organization, in the Comintern Executive’s apparatus, [we discovered that] for a long time we had not unmasked the vilest enemies of the workers’ party who, by means of terror, set for themselves as a goal to deprive the party and the proletariat of the best, most precious, dearest, [and] beloved – [our] leader, friend and teacher, com. Stalin.
As is clear, the resolute call by the party, by com. Stalin, to improve Bolshevik revolutionary vigilance, Bolshevik watchfulness, agility and intransigence has not penetrated into the depths of the heart of Bolshevik rank-and-file [nor] of the highest ranking members of our organization. The proof of this are the recent [and] blatant facts regarding Fritz David, the miscreant agent of the counterrevolutionaries Trotsky-Zinoviev-Kamenev, who stretched their bloody hands towards the heart and brain of the working class party, towards the VKP(b)’s Central Committee, and towards [its] leader com. Stalin.
The recent letter from the Central Committee and Pravda’s editorial articles[ii] oblige us, above all else, to improve Bolshevik vigilance, to learn to recognize the enemy, to safeguard the purity of the party’s ranks. The verification and exchange of party documents demonstrate that both our party organization and our party committee have not been adequately fighting, and are still not adequately fighting, to implement this directive and appeal of the party.
[About] those unmasked and expelled from the party.
Before the verification of party documents, the counterrevolutionary elements Safarov, Magyar and Sinani were expelled from the party. The party organization failed to expose Safarov before his arrest. Magyar and Sinani were exposed and kicked out of the party before their arrest. It was a long time before this double-dyed, counterrevolutionary triad was exposed.
During the verification of party documents, 27 members were purged from our party organization, and from the Publishing House’s party organization. Among them were Meshkovskaia[iii] and Gomez,[iv] who used to work in Wang Ming’s Secretariat and earlier with Sinani. They were later arrested as overt enemies of the party and the people. Two enemies, Stasiak and Gulko,[v] were not exposed by us, but removed by the NKVD organs.
During the exchange of party documents, 4 members and 3 candidate members of our organization were expelled from the party. The reason for the expulsion [of] Gurevich, Gurianov,[vi] Neibut[vii] was their affiliation with Trotskyism in 1923 and 1927, and [their] concealing this during the verification of party documents. Nikolaeva [was expelled] for continuing to defend the innocence of her husband[viii] who had been arrested and sentenced to 10 years for wrecking. Candidate members, Romanov[ix] [was expelled] for being a moral degenerate (he was married 5 times) and for violating [the rules of] conspiracy; Arakcheev,[x] for concealing from the party the fact of the arrest and exile of his father, an active SR; Portnoy,[xi] [who was] mistakenly admitted as a VKP(b) candidate [member], for having close ties with Atanasov[xii] (Atanasov recommended his candidacy), and for his suspicious behavior abroad, [in particular] his attitude toward a provocateur.
The question of the party membership of the members of our organization Furschik,[xiii] Nauzer,[xiv] Abramian[xv] still remains unresolved. It is possible that the question of Blumfeld[xvi] will arise with theirs since their Trotskyist friends have been arrested.
The conclusion suggests itself that we still do not know each member and candidate of the party well enough. Through more careful and serious examination, we will reveal those who have no place in our party.
The task remains to examine over and over again the members of the [party] organization. This task is within [our] powers and is quite feasible, if only we secure a real improvement of Bolshevik vigilance in the party organization and of party awareness of each member and candidate member of the party.
The case of Fritz David and Heinrich (Susskind).
In this report, I consider it absolutely necessary to raise the question and shed light upon the case of Fritz David and Heinrich (Susskind). This is dictated above all by the fact that these two enemies of the party and the working class were members of our apparatus, and [that] Fritz David was getting ready and waiting for the moment to accomplish his foul plan. The party organization had opportunely raised the question of the inadmissibility of retaining them in the ECCI apparatus. On the basis of party self-criticism, without respect of persons, let us, as our leader and teacher com. Stalin teaches us, characterize the case as it was.
Let us start with the case of Fritz David. On 9 July 1935, on the eve of the Congress,[xvii] I interrogated Fritz David for several hours, and everything was recorded. It was discovered that he, as an active Menshevik until 1919, had been arrested by the organs of the ChK [Cheka] for counterrevolutionary activities. In 1926, he left for Germany in order to infiltrate the Com[munist] party. He succeeded and from there he began his political career. I will not set forth everything that was written down in the stenographic report since it is impossible to read it all. I sent the stenographic report, along with the memorandum, to [comrade] Pyatnitsky in the Polit[ical] Secretariat with a request to discuss and resolve the question of Fritz David. Some time later, this report was returned to me with Pyatnitsky’s note “return to the party committee.”
I also sent the stenographic report to the NKVD organs in July 1935.
The commission to select the apparatus to work at the VII Congress, of which I was the chairman, resolved not to let Fritz David to attend the Congress. This decision by us was repealed and he, this vilest enemy of the party and the working class, attended the Congress. When one reads the [29 July] letter of the Central Committee, one feels truly terrified by the opportunity we granted to the enemy by letting him [David] attend the Congress and retaining him in the ECCI apparatus. This lesson should teach us a lot and, above all, to be vigilant and intransigent toward our enemies.
There is a second case, Heinrich (Susskind). In the resolution of the party committee of 11. 1. 1935, we resolved that he be expelled by the International Control Commission from the Communist Party of Germany as a double-dealer, and that that he be removed from the Comintern apparatus. I refer to this second case in order to demonstrate once again how insufficiently vigilant we proved to be. To this [report], I have attached the resolution of the party committee of 11. 1. 1935.
I have also attached the ICC’s resolution on him of 25. 1. 35.
Isn’t it sufficient not to let him within gunshot of the Comintern[?] No, because at someone’s initiative he became a worker of the Comintern apparatus. Several days later, he was arrested as an enemy.
What conclusion [can we draw] from this[?] – the party committee had opportunely raised the question about these two counter-revolutionaries, and it was right.
We ought to determine who was personally responsible, at whose initiative they started working in the apparatus, and draw the appropriate conclusion which will serve as a lesson and to educate the whole collective of party and non-party [members] of the ECCI apparatus.
Selection of the workers to the apparatus.
The examination of the party organization’s composition during the verification and exchange of party documents gave [us] the opportunity to learn that there are currently 16 members of the organization who, in 1923, had Trotskyist vacillations. Three of them had rightist vacillations in 1929.
Aleksandrova, who was recently hired to the ECCI apparatus, earlier, between 1916 and July 1917, was a member of the inter-district organization of S[ocial] D[emocrats] (Internationalists).[xviii] In 1923, in Marxism classes, she had Trotskyist vacillations. I think that the leadership did not know about her Trotskyist mistakes when deliberating the question of her admission to work in our party apparatus. The Cadres Department in its memorandum to the Secretariat also failed to mention her Trotskyist waverings.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize that the conclusions made based on the results of the exchange of party documents in our organization, as well as general tasks which our party organization is facing, can and must be brought to life. For their most successful and timely implementation, it is necessary to have a strong and authoritative party committee and the direct support of its work by the leadership. Three members of the party committee have recently left the part[y] com[mittee]. It is necessary to fill [these positions] in the party committee. [It is necessary] to elect active and authoritative comrades.
Secretary of the Party Committee of the ECCI party organization:
RGASPI, f. 546, op. 1, d. 369, ll. 6-11.
Original in Russian. Typewritten.
[i] The verification and exchange of party documents of the members of the ECCI apparatus party organization, was undertaken in June 1936 as a part of an all-party campaign.
[ii] It refers to the secret letter from the CC VKP, “About the terrorist activities of the Trotskyist-Zinovievite counterrevolutionary bloc,” of 29 July 1936, and to the Pravda’s editorial article “Bolshevik Vigilance in Every Sphere of Activity” of 9 August 1936.
[iii] Olga Alekseevna Meshkovskaia (born 1898). A member of the RKP(b) from 1920. Between 15 June 1931 and 23 January 1936, she was a secretary-analyst in the ECCI’s Latin American Landersecretariat and later, in Wang Ming’s Secretariat. She was later repressed.
[iv] Julio Gomez (real name – Yuly Isaakovich Rozovsky) (born in 1906). A member of the CP of Mexico (CPM) in 1926-1930; in 1928 – 1929, a member of the CC and the Secretariat of the CC of the CPM. A member of the VKP from 1930. Between 1930 and 1936, he was a cadres analyst in the Latin American Landersecretariat of the ECCI (later, Wang Ming’s Secretariat). On 10 January 1936, he was removed from the ECCI apparatus and later arrested. He was accused of Trotskyism and sentenced to five years in prison.
[v] Semyon Semyonovich Gulko (born in 1895). A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany from 1913, of the Spartacus League from 1916, of the CPG between 1920 and 1924, and of the VKP from 1924. After 17 August 1925, he worked in the Publishing Department of the ECCI as a translator. In 1935, he was arrested by the NKVD and repressed.
[vi] Georgy Fedotovich Gurianov (born in 1889). A member of the Bolshevik Party from 1919. Between 1 June 1921 and 7 September 1936, he worked in the ECCI’s OMS and Communications Department.
[vii] Marta Andreevna Neibut (born in 1890). A member of the Bolshevik party from 1907. She worked in the ECCI apparatus between 1921 and 1936. On 7 August 1936, she was expelled from the VKP and later repressed.
[viii] E. N. Nikolaeva’s first husband, I. K. Traubenberg, whom she divorced in 1922, had been arrested for “wrecking” by the OGPU collegium on 22 October 1933.
[ix] Vladimir Ivanovich Romanov was a candidate member of the VKP. He was expelled from the party in August 1936. No other information is available.
[x] Vasily Matveevich Arakcheev (born in 1908). A candidate member of the VKP from 1932. He worked in the ECCI apparatus as a firefighter between 1934 and 1937.
[xi] Semyon Stepanovich Portnoy (correct name – Portnov) (born in 1909). A candidate member of the VKP from 1931. From May to December 1927, he worked in the ECCI’s communications center in China; between July 1928 and March 1931, he worked in the ECCI’s communications center in Vladivostok. Between 1931 and 1933, he studied in the ECCI’s Radio school. In 1933-1936, he worked for the ECCI’s OMS in Irkutsk. From March to July 1936, he attended the ECCI’s special school. In July 1936, he was expelled from the party.
[xii] Boyan Ivanov Atanasov (real name – Papanchev) (1892-1937). A member of the CP of Bulgaria (CPBul) from 1919. After 1919, he worked in the ECCI’s OMS. On 8 July 1936, he was arrested by the NKVD and accused of belonging to the counterrevolutionary organization. On 19 June 1937, the OSO of the NKVD sentenced him to five years in prison. On 4 December 1937, Atanasov died in the camp. On 8 December, the party committee of the ECCI apparatus’ party organization expelled him from the party as the “enemy of the party and the people.”
[xiii] Meyer Moiseevich Furschik (born in 1886). A member of the Bund in 1915-1917, and of the RKP(b) from 1920. Between 1932 and 1936, he was the editor-in-chief of the journal “Pod znamenem Marksizma” (“Under the Banner of Marxism”). After August 1937, he worked as a copy editor in the Publishing House of Foreign Workers in the USSR. In August 1936, he was expelled from the VKP. On 9 October 1936, he was readmitted to the party by the party collegium of the Party Control Committee.
[xiv] Nauzer – no information is available about him.
[xv] Ashot Serdakovich Abramian (born in 1896). A member of the VKP from 1926. Between 1923 and 1935, he worked for the NKVD. Between 31 August 1935 and 1 February 1937, he worked in the ECCI apparatus, as a political analyst on the Middle East in the Cadres Department, and later as the head of Sector for Political Emigration and International Organizations of the Cadres Department.
[xvi] Milly Davydovna Blumfeld (1892-1976). A member of the CP of Great Britain (CPGB) in 1920-1921, and of the RKP(b) from 1921. She worked in the ECCI apparatus as a typist in 1921-1923, 1924-1930 and 1932-1936.
[xvii] Refers to the 7th Comintern Congress which took place on 25 July - 20 August 1935 in Moscow.
[xviii] Trotsky was one of the leaders of the inter-district (mezhduraionnyi) committee in 1917.