Statement of Irena Kun (Bela Kun’s sister) about Georg Benedek.
On 29 August, Georg Benedek[ii] (residing: Moscow, Starosadsky per[eulok], [dom] 4, kv[artira] 59) called me on the phone and, his voice trembling, said that he had something to tell me, but had “no heart to do it at that moment.” Then he hung up. An hour later, he called again and said the following: “A great misfortune has happened, I have committed a crime against you, I have compromised you, but I still have no heart to tell you.” When he called me again an hour and a half later, he told me the following. Several months ago he started to record facts that could compromise me. Thus, in April, he made a note of seeing me talking in the doorway to a certain Trotskyist. He asked a girl, who had stepped inside the doorway to get out of the rain, to sign that note.
Benedek explained to the girl that he needed that note as evidence for divorce purposes. After that, according to Benedek, he recorded another case. Once, after he had read me one of Stalin’s speeches, I supposedly wondered about Trotsky’s opinion on the peasant question. Benedek put all this on paper and hid it among his books. At that point, I asked him what his motive was. He replied: “I myself have no idea. I did not intend to hurt you. I wanted to use these materials later, but not against you.” “Against whom?” I asked. “You must have [already] guessed,” he replied. When I repeated my question, against whom?, he said nothing. He reiterated, however, that someone had stolen his note recently, that it was missing from among the books where he had left it. “The person who stole the note,” he continued, “evidently has already submitted it. (He did not specify to whom, but implied that he meant the NKVD). He, Benedek, had already been interrogated twice, and they would interrogate me, he declared. I said “fine,” and hung up.
The 30th of August was a weekend, so I could do nothing. On the 31st, I went to our party secretary, c. Stoianov,[iii] and told him everything about this affair. I also went to M. Ya. Frumkina and told her everything. At 2 PM, Benedek approached me at the tram stop with the words: “I don’t know what I have done to you, but I have certainly messed up my VKP(b) re-registration.” I did not answer, but he continued, very agitated: “You know, don’t tell your brother about all this, you may run into trouble. Anyway, there is a struggle going on in my mind. I don’t know what will happen to me, but I’d like to be 10,000 miles away from here.” I asked: “Why did you do it, what was the purpose?” This time his reply was explicit and cynical: “I did it because I already know you and your brother. I wanted to show this note to your brother, since at one of the meetings, he called on us to be vigilant. I planned to demonstrate my vigilance and see what he would say when he sees this record of a conversation by his sister.” I said: “But you yourself admit that whatever is in it is not correct, it is a lie.” He responded: “I am not saying that it’s incorrect any more, and I advise you, too, to confess that the note’s contents are accurate. You kept repeating “yes, yes, I am listening” over the phone. Thus, you have admitted everything. Don’t think that I alone heard you. There were witnesses who heard you saying “yes, yes.”
I could not stand that any longer and went to the district NKVD department where I declared what had happened.
I have known Benedek for 3 years, we live in the same building. He studied at the VKU where I was working. I always knew that he was mentally unsound. But I would never have suspected him of being so mean until, according to his own words, c. Bela Kun refused to give him a recommendation to the KUNMZ graduate school in June-August 1935. After that, he started telling me and c. E. Nagy[iv] things that aroused my suspicions that Benedek was either crazy or an agent provocateur.
Of all that he wrote down (and told me) only one thing corresponds to the facts. I have known Lazutov[v] since the session of a board of which we were members. In April 1936, I was standing in the doorway waiting for the rain to stop, since I planned to go shopping. Lazutov walked in and asked me how I was feeling. I answered: “Good.” He started lamenting: “Your life is good, and mine is bad. I was expelled from the party, removed from job. Comrades said that I was a Trotskyist, but I am as pure as gold.” I said that, if he believed himself to be innocent, and if comrades had indeed slandered him, he should appeal. The party does not expel useful and needed members.
He wanted to add something but, seeing that I started reading a newspaper, he left. He extended his hand to me but I pretended not to see him. This is all.
I know nothing more about Lazutov. Neither he nor I have [ever] visited each other.
RGASPI, f. 495, op. 199, d. 977, ll. 2-2ob.
Original in Russian. Typewritten.
[i] The statement by Irena Kun was probably sent to the ECCI’s Cadres Department. The document is a typewritten copy. The author’s style is retained unaltered.
[ii] Georg Benedek. Born in 1898, he was a member of the CPH between 1919-1935. In 1926, he was a member of the CP of Austria, and in 1927-1932, a member of the CPFr (its Hungarian section). In 1932, he went to the USSR with the permission of the CPFr’s Hungarian section. Between 1932 and 1937, he worked in the 1st Shoe Factory in Moscow. In August 1936, he wrote a statement to the CC VKP (Andreev’s Secretariat) about Irena and Bela Kun that was forwarded to the NKVD. On 27 January 1937, Benedek wrote a letter to Dimitrov asking to receive him so that he could convey certain facts regarding Bela Kun.
[iii] Stoianov – no information available.
[iv] Endre Nagy. Born in 1884 in Tashpad, Hungary. During WWI, he was a prisoner of war in Russia and participated in the POW movement. In 1918, he joined the CPH. Between March and August 1919, he was a collegium member in the People’s Commissariat for Education of the Hungarian Soviet Republic. After the fall of the Hungarian Soviet Republic, he was arrested and imprisoned from September 1919 to October 1920. After his release, he went to Czechoslovakia. In 1928, he was exiled from the country and, with the approval of the CC CPH, emigrated to the USSR. Between 1933 and 1936, he taught in the German sector of the KUNMZ. In February 1937, he was arrested.
[v] Lazutov – no information is available.