Letter from Z. Szanto to Dimitrov about the arrest of his relatives and the expulsion of his brother, Bela Szanto, from the VKP. 24 January 1938.


The materials read by:

com. Manuilsky  Manuilsky

com. Moskvin       Moskvin

com. Gottwald     Gottwald[i]


Top secret.

24 January 1938

Dear comrade Dimitrov,[ii]

Upon my arrival in Moscow, I learned that:

1)   My brother Bela Szanto[iii] was expelled from the VKP(b);

2)   The husband of my sister Elsa,[iv] Georg Samuelli,[v] was arrested by organs of the Commissariat for Internal Affairs along with the anti-party group of Bela Kun;

3)   Stefan Natonek,[vi] the husband of my sister Rosa,[vii] with whom my daughter lives, was arrested by organs of the Commissariat for Internal Affairs.

By informing you about these facts, I ask you to explore whether these circumstances will impede my work in the Communist Party of Hungary.

24. I. 1938.

With communist greetings,

Zoltan Szanto

Z. Szanto.

Show to cc. Manuilsky, Moskvin and Gottwald.

G. D[imitrov].

25. I. 38.


RGASPI, f. 495, op. 73, d. 57, l. 28.

Original in German. Typewritten.



[i] This list appears on a separate cover page for the document. (Trans.)

[ii] This letter from Z. Szanto (in German) was received by the Secretariat of Dimitrov on 24 January 1938, on the same day it was written. Dimitrov read the letter on the next day.  The document is stored in the files of Dimitrov’s Secretariat; on the letter are the signatures of Manuilsky, Moskvin and Gottwald certifying that they had read it.


[iii] On 25 December 1937, Bela Szanto  was expelled from the VKP. One of the reasons for his expulsion was his pamphlet “The Class Struggle and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in Hungary,” written in 1919 and published in 1920 by the Comintern with a foreword written by Karl Radek. On 4 February 1938, he was readmitted to the party. On 24 February 1938, he was arrested; in spring 1940, he was released and rehabilitated. In 1945, he left the USSR for Hungary.

[iv] Elsa Szanto-Samuelli. Born in 1886, she was a Soviet citizen and a non-party member. She worked in a library in Tomsk. After WW II, she left the USSR for Hungary.

[v] Georg Samuelli. Born in 1899 in Hungary, he joined the CPH 1918, and the VKP in 1922. Between July 1935 and 1937, he was Deputy Chairman of the Moscow City Soviet and later worked in its institute Mosgoroformleniie. He worked for the Comintern on special assignments. In 1937, he was arrested  and sentenced to be shot.

[vi] Stefan Natonek. Born in 1895 in Hungary, he graduated from the Eastern Academy in Budapest. During the Hungarian Soviet Republic, he worked for the Danube Steamship Line. After the fall of the Soviet republic, he and other colleagues organized communications between the Foreign Bureau of the CPH in Vienna and the Budapest Communist organization. He was arrested and imprisoned. In March 1922, he arrived in the USSR after being exchanged for POWs. In 1923, he joined the VKP. He worked in the People’s Commissariat for Communications and in Gosplan. From June 1931, he was the head of the Planning-Economic Sector in Gosplan’s Water Transport Department. He was arrested by the NKVD and, on 7 May 1938, sentenced to be shot.

[vii] Rosa Szanto. Born in 1896, she was a physician. She was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Hungary in 1917-1918, and of the CPH (and the VKP) from 1918. During the Soviet Republic in Hungary, she worked as an analyst in the People’s Commissariat for Social Security of Hungary. In 1922, she arrived in the USSR after being exchanged for POWs. In 1931, she took Soviet citizenship. She was expelled from the VKP in connection with the arrest of her husband, S. Natonek. On 8 October 1949, she left the USSR for Hungary.