Letter from Razumova to Dimitrov requesting a review of her case.
kb-2 in[coming] No. 284108
OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
1st special department
“16” July 1945
No. 8/13 – 103342
C. C. of the VKP(B).
to com. DIMITROV, G. M.[ii]
Enclosed please find a sealed file from the prisoner RAZUMOVA-KHIGEROVICH, Anna Lazarevna addressed to you, with the reference information on her.
ENCLOSURE: as described.
DEPUTY HEAD OF THE SPECIAL DEPARTMENT OF THE NKVD USSR
HEAD OF THE 13th DEPARTMENT
TO THE MEMBER OF THE SUPREME SOVIET OF THE USSR
GEORGY MIKHAILOVICH DIMITROV.
From the prisoner RAZUMOVA-KHIGEROVICH, A. L.
In the Ukhta Women’s corrective labor camp, Komi ASSR
Ukhta, OLP 7.
Petition to review the case.
On 7. IV. 1938, I was arrested in Moscow by NKVD organs and, 13 months later, on 5. V. 1939, I was sentenced by the Military Board of the Supreme Court of the USSR to 15 years in a corrective labor camp under articles 58-II, 6, 7, 8 or 9 (I do not remember) over 17. I did not plead guilty during the trial. To the question of the chairman of the trial, what was correct in the indictment?, I replied: “I consider correct only the names of people who worked in the ECCI apparatus and whom I could not but know, since I have worked in that apparatus for 11 years in a row.” I learned specifically about what I was charged with only on 30 April 1939, five days before the trial. During the thirteen months in prison and in the course of daily interrogations, I was not charged with anything. They only suggested that I write a statement in Ezhov’s name admitting my “crimes.” Since I have never committed any crimes, in deed or even in thought, it is clear that I could not sign such a statement. These “suggestions” were accompanied by daily beating, insults, and mockery. The interrogations lasted: one for eleven days in a row; others, for three days with 15-20 minutes breaks to eat. During all these interrogations, I had to stand on my feet without any sleep. I suffered from hallucinations, my feet swelled so much that I was unable to move them. However, all the physical torture could not break me. The moral suffering was the hardest. I was afraid to mention any name, because whatever person I could refer to, it was said about him that he was a well-known spy, etc. I mentioned a number of facts that proved my genuine attitude to work. In particular, I mentioned all the documents that I had sent from abroad that dealt with shortcomings in the work of our apparatus. I was sure that all these materials were held in the Cadres Department or in the Eastern Secretariat. To name a few: my reports on the colonial affairs (about provocation in Indochina with photographs of the provocateurs; about provocation in the Arab communist parties in Syria, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine; references for the colonial workers sent to me in Paris, indicating the inadmissibility of sending such people); reports on the Trotskyists in Spain, about the volunteers from the French and other communist parties; reports on the inefficient work of the OMS [Department of International Relations], about poorly written documents, etc. Finally, a series of reports sent to you personally about the inefficient work of some of the workers in the apparatus which could negatively affect all our work. I said that, during the 11 years of [my] work in the ECCI apparatus (among them, 8 years abroad working in the underground), there was not a single failure of any person that I worked with, or of my own. You know about the nature of my trips and of the assignments that I fulfilled. You know that, if I practiced treason in any form, the results of it would have been terrible, and it would have been impossible not to know about it. To all my attempts to defend myself, they responded that I was lying, and that the materials to which I was referring did not exist in the ECCI, that the Cadres Department supposedly informed [them] that they had received nothing from me. These conversations and everything that was going on provoked strange thoughts in my mind: as if there were indeed, in the ECCI apparatus, some enemies who were destroying all of the carefully collected materials that helped us to restructure [our] work, to get rid of provocateurs and Trotskyist elements. It seemed to me that is was essential to remember, to reconstruct, [so as] to inform the NKVD and the Comintern. Having refused to write a statement to Ezhov, I asked for paper to write about everything. They told me that they would give me paper if I would write a statement to Ezhov, as if I knew anything about being a member of a c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization within the Comintern. They even dictated to me the text of such a statement. I again refused to write it, and the investigator again slapped me and threw a stone paper-weight at me. After that I stood for 11 days without sleep, was mocked during the day and regularly beaten at night. They beat me with the armrests of a chair and punched me in the chest, and then let me stay for one night in my cell. Then these terrible interrogations resumed. My only wish was to commit suicide so as not to remember that I was in a Soviet prison, that I was being tortured and accused of betraying my motherland which I love more than anything else and to which I have been faithful despite everything. After lengthy consideration, I decided that it was necessary to somehow inform the Comintern and the NKVD about what they supposedly did not know. I decided to obtain paper by writing the [required] statement to Ezhov, and later to write another statement to Ezhov from my cell stating that, if it was necessary to sacrifice myself in order to reveal what I had to tell, I was ready to do it. I thought that they would shoot me, that I alone would suffer, but [at least] the NKVD would learn how badly prepared for the war is our apparatus, how saturated is our apparatus abroad (in short, everything that I informed about after each trip abroad). And so I did. I wrote the statement dictated by the investigator, and got the paper that I had tried so hard to obtain. I started writing. [However,] they ripped up my testimony and instead gave me a plan to follow in which I had to describe everything from the viewpoint of a member of a c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization within the ECCI. In reply to the question, who sent me to China, France, Spain, etc,. they would put not some ECCI workers, but a member of a c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization within the ECCI; all the documents and travel money I received [came] not from the appropriate ECCI workers, but from the members of a c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization. In general, all my work ties, relation and assignments were portrayed as ties and relations within a c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization. It was reflected in the examination record as follows:
“Q. – Who provided you with money to travel?
Ans. – Melnikov and Gregor.”[iii] (The examination record: “money for c[ounter]r[evolutionary] activities received from the members of the Melnikov’s c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization, etc.”). Could I go abroad without money, without documents? Who but the responsible workers of the ECCI apparatus could have provided me with all this? Thus, all my work, all my life, all my connections, all of it became c[ounter]r[evolutionary], although I have never been a member of a c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization and never even suspected its existence in the ECCI system.
However, despite the totally inadmissible methods of interrogation, I still believed those NKVD officials because I thought it impossible that, within the NKVD, there were entrenched enemies of the people who were interested in perverting the truth. If that would have been the case, I would have behaved differently during the interrogations. I had gotten used to being mentally ready to be captured by fascists, and I knew how to behave at a fascist trial. But here I treated my investigators as comrades whom I had to help to cleanse the party and the country of all sorts of garbage. I could not even think about meeting insult with insult or defending myself when I was beaten, or yelling and cursing the way they did it. Only on 30. 4. 39, five days before the trial, was I able to read the indictment. I demanded to see the prosecutor for an explanation. They promised me [a meeting], but they never fulfilled that promise. The indictment states that I was recruited into the c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization by Fokin,[iv] that I spied for all the [capitalist] countries, that I plotted something against Manuilsky, etc. I do not remember the details because I only read that rubbish once and was indignant at this material that had nothing to do with me. I never read the verdict, I listened to it as something unrelated to me personally, I did not even remember the article under which I was accused. My file contains testimony by Fokin, Brigader, Melnikov, Rylsky, and some Korean (I do not remember his name) – I think this is it.
Fokin says that he recruited [me] into the c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization in order to obtain information about colonial work. According to him, I was supposed to pass that information over to Grant.[v] I have never had either revolutionary or c[ounter]r[evolutionary] ties to Fokin. I knew him only because he worked in the KIM and later in the Eastern Department of the Profintern, and I attended the same meetings of the Eastern Secretariat that he attended, and lived in [the Hotel] Luks as he did. Grant was an analyst in the Eastern Secretariat of the Profintern specializing in Indochina, and we used to exchange newspapers from Indochina since we subscribed to different newspapers to save money. This was before my trip to France, which means in 1930. From 1931 to [my] arrest, i. e., for 8 years, I neither heard of nor saw those people.
Also, Brigader testified that he had heard from somebody that Arnot recruited me to spy for England. I have never talked with Brigader or with Arnot about anything but work. I informed you about Brigader shortly before he was arrested. He had provided the NKVD with incorrect information about the American Negro Haiswood,[vi] having concealed that the latter was a member of the Lovestone group.[vii]
Melnikov testified that he gave me money for trips abroad. Rylsky informed that he provided me with a passport, and so on. Both these facts are correct. These people were in charge of providing money and passports, and I received from them everything necessary, not as the members of a c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization, but as workers of the ECCI apparatus. The examination record contains my answers to the question, what goals did the c[ounter]r[evolutionary], rightist-Trotskyist bloc set for itself? All of the Soviet people knew about it, and I knew about it. I described the tasks of the c[ounter]r[evolutionary] organization in the Comintern the way it was depicted at party meetings and at meetings of the ECCI’s Political Secretariat. It was known to every [Comintern] worker, because it was discussed at our meetings.
I implore you to request this examination record for review in order to satisfy yourself of the mythical quality[viii] of the whole case. For example, I was held responsible for the fact that the students who were expelled from the Chin[ese] University were sent, in accordance with the decision of the Org[anizational] Bureau of the CC VKP(b) (after the purge), to work in the factories of Moscow, Vladivostok, and other cities. Of course, you realize that I played no role in that decision. I was accused of surrounding myself with provocateurs in France, while I was writing protests against the people being sent to me from Moscow. Besides, being in France, I could not send back people [coming] from Moscow.[ix] In general, everything that I wrote, everything that I did to correct the inflexibility of the East[ern] Secretariat of the ECCI was turned against me. You remember my confrontation with the Arabs at the VII CI Congress,[x] and how you yourself dealt with it. That conflict is a clear proof that I was fighting for the ECCI line, not for them.
I cannot lay out in sufficient detail everything that I was charged with. Since then, 7 years have passed, and I have neither the verdict nor the indictment, and I was interrogated round the clock, daily for 13 months. If I had indeed committed some crime, I would have clearly remembered what it consisted of. However, since I did nothing [wrong], I could not remember this legend.
I know that behind my arrest stands Moskvin. I stated it at the session of the trial by the Military Board, and it is written down in the minutes. Moskvin several times (jokingly) threatened me with arrest.
I ask you to initiate a petition to review my case. I have little faith that it will be successful, but maybe our Procurator and the Supreme Court will be able to investigate all these problems better than before the war. In any case, whatever the result of this appeal may be, nothing can possibly change my attitude toward the party and the Soviet government. I have been, and will be, loyal to them until the end of my days. Unfortunately, I cannot prove my devotion with anything but my work. Therefore, despite repeated offers to change my work assignment, I continue to perform hard physical labor [as I have done] for all these 7 years, dedicating the last of my strength to it. Even in dying, I will be able to say to myself that, even under the worst circumstances, I glorified the Party and Soviet power, and gave to it all my forces.
4. III. 1945.
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REFERENCE FOR THE PRISONER.
The prisoner RAZUMOVA-KHIGEROVICH, Anna Lazarevna, came to the NKVD’s Ukht[a] Wom[en’s] c[orrective labor] camp on 29/VI-39. She is in custody in OLP No. 7 - Vetlosian, and works on the milling machine in the joiner shop. At work, she has shown herself to be an efficient and enterprising worker, systematically overfulfilling her tasks by 200 percent and higher. She has rewards for her good work. Her personal life is exemplary. She has never incurred an administrative penalty.
Prov[isional] head of the OURZ Ukhta
of the NKVD Izhemsky camp: Tarasevich
S[enior] inspector of the ORUZ: Skriabina.
25 June 1945.
RGASPI, f. 495, op. 65a, d. 8364, ll. 192-199.
Original in Russian. Typewritten.
[i] This document was received in the CC VKP on 18 July 1945. On 22 April 1953, the personal file of A. Razumova-Khigerovich, which had been held by the 5th Sector of the General Department of the CC CPSU, along with the enclosure, was transferred for storage. The cover note, addressed to E. Golubeva, a worker in the Sector, read: “After finding out whether Razumova is still in prison, send a copy of this document to the Minister.” A. Razumova-Khigerovich was released and rehabilitated in January 1955. She died in Moscow on 5 October 1973.
[ii] Handwritten across the text:
To c. Mirov
Investigate and report.
20. 7. 45 GD
A letter sent to com.
Merkulov, V. N.
7. 9. 45 <…>
[iii] Gregor Vujovic, Mitrovic. Born in 1901 in Serbia, he joined the Yugoslav Komsomol in 1920, and the CP of Austria in 1922. In 1924, he joined the VKP. Between December 1922 and June 1924, he worked in the Vienna department of the OMS. Between 1924 and 1926, he was the OMS’s secretary in Moscow. In 1926, he was sent to Yugoslavia to conduct underground Komsomol work. In 1926-1928, he was a member and a secretary of the Yugoslav Komsomol’s CC. At the 5th KIM Congress (1928), he was elected candidate member of the EC KIM and left to work in the KIM. After contracting tuberculosis and undergoing treatment, he was appointed the head of the ECCI’s Balkan Secretariat. In 1932-1934, he was the CPYu’s representative in the ECCI. In 1934, he was sent by the OMS to work in Chita. Upon his return to Moscow, he headed a sub-department in the ECCI’s OMS. On 16 June 1937, he was relieved of work and put at the disposal of the ECCI’s Cadres Department. On 14 July 1937, the ECCI’s party organization expelled Gregor from the VKP. He was arrested in 1937. On 28 October, the Military Board of the Supreme Court of the USSR sentenced him to be shot.
[iv] Nikolai Alekseevich Fokin. Born in 1898, he was a member of the RKP(b) from 1919, and Secretary of the EC KIM from 1925. Between 16 September 1930 and 1 September 1933, he was deputy head of the Profintern’s Eastern Department. On 1 September 1933, the CC VKP transferred him to work in the Political department of the Transcaucasian Railways.
[v] Kai Aleksandrovich Grant. Born in 1903, he joined the RKP(b) in 1919. Between January 1919 and October 1921, he served in the Red Army. In 1930-1935, he worked in the Profintern as an analyst in the Eastern colonial section, as head of the cadres section, and as head of the construction of the international school of the Profintern. After July 1935, he worked in the All-Union Administration for highways and earthen roads of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR.
[vi] Otto Edward Heiswood (Edward Mason). Born in 1893, he joined the CP USA in 1919. He was a candidate member of the ECCI between 1928 and 1935. He did underground work for the Comintern and the Profintern. Between 1935 and 1937, he worked in the OMS of both the Comintern and the Profintern. In 1937, he was head of the International Committee of the Negro Workers.
[vii] Jay Lovestone (real name – Jacob Liebstein). Born in 1898 in Lithuania. When he was nine years old, he and his parents emigrated to the USA. In 1917, he was a member of the Socialist Club the City College of New York. At the founding congress of the American Communist Party in September 1919, he was elected to the Central Executive Committee, and in October, he was elected Secretary of the CP USA. In March 1925, he was a member of the American delegation to the enlarged ECCI plenum. In 1924, he was named Secretary General of the CPUSA. At the Comintern’s 6th Congress (1928), he was elected member of the ECCI. In May 1929, he was recalled by the Comintern to Moscow and relieved from the position of Secretary General. After his return to the USA, he left the CP USA and formed an oppositional communist party which, until 1933, was called Independent Worker’s League of America. After its dissolution in 1940, Lovestone was one of the leaders of the American Federation of Labor (until 1974).
[viii] In the text: legendarnost. (Trans.)
[ix] Another way to read this sentence: “I could not select for myself people from Moscow.” (Trans.).
[x] There is no information available about this event.