Evidence of Leon Trotsky’s Collaboration with Germany and Japan – Grover Furr 2/2

Evidence of Leon Trotsky’s Collaboration with Germany and Japan ky’s Collaboration with Germany and Japan_ Grover Furr

The document never discloses what exactly “moral pressure” is. Though this
sentence seems to hint that defendants were asked to confess to things they never did “for
the good of the Party,” this is never directly asserted. Someone who, by her own
admission, gave false testimony once “for the good of the Party” may do it again. There
is no way to know whether it may have been her testimony in 1956 to Khrushchev’s
“rehabilitators” that was the false testimony given “for the good of the Party.”
The 1989 “rehabilitation” document itself gives the lie to the charge of torture – if
that’s what “illegal methods of pressure” means. It quotes Zinoviev himself as saying that
his treatment has been good.
May 6 1935. If I could only hope that sometime I might be granted to erase my
guilt, if only in a small degree. In prison I am treated humanely, I receive medical
treatment, etc. But I am old, I am shaken. . . . (Rehabilitation I, 90)
Strangely, given the political tendency of the “rehabilitation” document, Zinoviev
is quoted as hoping that his “guilt” will be forgiven and declares that he is “no longer an
enemy” (ia bol’she ne vrag, 89). Zinoviev is quoted in this “rehabilitation” document as
having written this phrase twice. These documents by Zinoviev are still secret in Russia.
But it seems that Zinoviev never claimed he was innocent in them, or those passages
would surely have been published. Instead, Zinoviev laments his guilt in several passages,
although the only published excerpts never make it clear what acts Zinoviev is
proclaiming his guilt of.
Getty is the most recent – indeed at this writing, the only – scholar to have gained
access to, studied, and published concerning the pre-trial evidence against the 1936 Trial
defendants. Getty summarized what he found as follows:
By 23 July [1936], Kamenev was admitting membership in a
counterrevolutionary center that planned terror, but he denied being one of the
organizers; he implicated Zinoviev as being closer to the matter. Three days later
Zinoviev was confronted by one of his followers, Karev, who directly accused
him. Zinoviev asked that the interrogation be stopped because he wanted to make
a statement that, in the event, amounted to a full confession of organizing

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assassination and terror. Shortly thereafer, he submitted to his interrogators a
540-page manuscript he had written in prison. In “A Deserved Sentence” he
“There is no question about it . . . It is a fact. Whoever plays with the
idea of ‘opposition’ to the socialist state plays with the idea of
counterrevolutionary terror. . . . Before each who finds himself in my
position this question stands in sharp relief. If tomorrow war comes – it
stands yet a million times sharper and bigger. And for myself this
queston in prison for a long time is irreversibly decided. Rise from the
dead! Be born again as a Bolshevik! Finish your human days conscious
of your guilt before the part! Do everything in order to erase this guilt.”44
Furthermore, we now have Zinoviev’s appeal of his death sentence, published in the
same issue of Izvestiia as that of Natan Lur’e. In it he makes the same statement right
after a renewed confession of his guilt:
I have told the proletarian court everything about the crimes I have committed
against the Party and Soviet authority. They are known to the Presidium of the
I beg that you believe me, that I am no longer an enemy. . . .
Zinoviev’s insistance of his guilt and of the truth of his testimony at trial, his
private communication assuring the authorities that he is being treated humanely, and
Safonova’s inability – it can’t be called anything else – to lie convincingly to support the
charge that the defendants had been tortured, plus the proof that the “rehabilitation”
document of the defendants in the 1936 trial makes the demonstrably false statements as
outlined above, are all consistent with the hypothesis that the charges and testimony at
the 1936 Trial were not fabricated or obtained by torture. In this they serve to corroborate
44 J. Arch Getty and Oleg V. Naumov, Yezhov. The Rise of Stalin’s “Iron Fist.” New Haven: Yale
University Press, 2008, p. 191. Zinov’ev’s 540-page confession “Zasluzhennyi prigovor” in two parts has
recently been declassified as a part of Ezhov’s file. The archival identifiers of this document are the same
as those cited by Getty. See <http://www.rusarchives.ru/secret/bul5/70.shtml&gt;. At this writing it appears
that Getty is the only scholar to mention this material.

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Ol’berg’s testimony concerning Trotsky’s and Sedov’s approving his work with Nazi
Archival Evidence and Sedov’s Red Book
In October 1936, after the First Moscow Trial that August, Leon Sedov published
The Red Book on the Moscow Trials in French. We have already discussed how Trotsky
lied to the Dewey Commission; we also note that Sedov failed to tell the truth in this
book. In Chapter 9 he wrote:
Of course the Russian Bolshevik-Leninists didn’t enter into my kind of a bloc
with a single of one these groups.
The Left Opposition was always an intransigent opponent of behind-the scenes
combinations and agreements. For it, the question of a bloc could only consist of
an open political act in full view of the masses, based on its political platform.
The history of the 13-year struggle of the Left Opposition is proof of that. (Sedov
Ch.9 n. 41)
We have pointed out above that Getty has shown that Trotsky both knew of and
approved the bloc but lied about this to the Dewey Commission. Therefore, Sedov is
lying here. Trotskyist researcher Pierre Broué recognized this too. After quoting Sedov’s
denial that any bloc existed Broué wrote:
Ce texte, écrit au lendemain du premier procès de Moscou, est en totale
contradiction avec le document à l’encre sympathique de 1932 de la main de
Sedov attestant l’existence du “bloc” et des pourparlers qu’il mène avec les
“trotskyists” d’U.R.S.S., avec la lettre de Trotsky approvant la constitution du
“bloc” en tant qu’alliance et non fusion, avec les commentaires de Trotsky cités
plus haus (95). (Broué 29)
[This text, written right after the first Moscow trial, stands in complete
contradiction to the 1932 document in secret ink in Sedov’s handwriting and that

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Above: Trotsky with his son, Leon Sevdov.
The Swedish text in the upper left states, “A
glimpse behind the curtains. No contact for
many years between Trotsky and the accused.”
attests to the existence of the “bloc” and of the negotiations he was carrying on
with the “Trotskyists” in the USSR; with Trotsky’s letter approving the
formation of the “bloc” as an alliance, not a unification; and with the comments
of Trotsky cited above.]
But Broué’s objectivity deserts him when in the next paragraph he writes:
A quoi eût servi en 1936 de reconnaître l’existence d’un bloc éphémère en 1932?
[What would have been the point in 1936 of admitting the existence of an
ephemeral bloc in 1932?]
In truth Broué did not know that the
bloc was “ephemeral,” or that it had existed
only in 1932. To be sure, the only evidence of
the bloc that remains in the Harvard Trotsky
archive is from 1932. But the archive has been
purged! Neither Broué nor anyone else has any
way of knowing what evidence once existed or
how long the bloc lasted. Evidently Broué was
assuming, believing, even hoping, that it had
been ephemeral – for the sake of Trotsky’s and
Sedov’s reputations.
Sedov also wrote “The author of these
lines keeps himself apart from active politics”
(Foreword to the French Edition). We know
that is false too. Sedov was assiduously aiding his father’s political work long before
1936. Getty discovered materials in the Harvard Trotsky Archive indicating that while he
lived in Germany Sedov helped his father maintain contact with persons passing in and
out of the USSR. As Sedov had moved to Paris from Berlin just before Hitler seized
power in 1933 this means his political activity dated from before that time. According to
materials in the former Soviet archives Mark Zborowski, the NKVD agent who became
Sedov’s confidant, reported to his handlers that Sedov had proposed in June 1936 he go

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to the USSR to do illegal Trotskyist work (Zborowski refused). Zborowski was Sedov’s
assistant in the writing of The Red Book.45
“No one lies when the truth is on his side.” That Trotsky had something to hide is
the inescapable conclusion. Furthermore, Trotsky’s and Sedov’s deliberate lying in their
attempts to refute the charges made against them at the 1936 Trial not only undermine
their own credibility. They are consistent with the hypothesis that the testimony at the
1936 trial was basically accurate. The archival documents analyzed above are also
consistent with this hypothesis.
The January 1937 Trial: Piatakov, Radek, Sokol’nikov, Shestov, Romm
In the January 1937 Trial defendants Piatakov, Radek, Sokol’nikov, and Shestov
all testified to having been given explicit instructions by Trotsky himself concerning
collaboration by either Germany or Japan. We’ll briefly review that here.
The espionage activities of the Trotskyites on behalf of the German intelligence
service were covered up in a number of cases by their connections with certain
German firms.
The investigation in the present case has established that an agreement
was concluded between L. Trotsky and certain German / 16 / firms by virtue of
which these firms financed the Trotskyites from a fund formed by raising the
price of goods imported into the U.S.S.R. from Germany.
On this point the accused Pyatakov, referring to his conversation with
Trotsky’s son, L. L. Sedov, now in emigration, testified:
“. . . Sedov conveyed to me Trotsky’s instructions to try and place as
many orders as possible with the firms Demag and Borsig, with whose
representatives Trotsky has connections.
45 J. Arch Getty, “Trotsky in Exile: The Founding of the Fourth International.” Soviet Studies 38, 1
(January, 1986), 27; Victor Serge, “Obituary: Leon Sedov,” originally published February 21, 1938, at
<http://www.marxists.org/archive/serge/1938/02/sedov.htm&gt;; Zborowski report, Volkogonov Archive;
John Costello and Oleg Tsarev, Deadly Illusions (NY: Crown, 1993), 282. Tsarev, a KGB officer, obtained
privileged access to Trotsky’s files in former Soviet archives that have since been reclassified.

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“You, added Sedov, will have to pay higher prices, but this money will
go for our work.” (Vol. I, p. 227) (1937 Trial 15-16)
. . .
Sedov said that only one thing was required of me, namely, that I should
place as many orders as possible with two German firms, Borsig and Demag, and
that he, Sedov, would arrange to receive the necessary sums from them, bearing
in mind that I would not be particularly exacting as to prices. If this were
deciphered it was clear that the additions to prices that would be made on the
Soviet orders would pass wholly or in part into Trotsky’s hands for his counterrevolutionary
purposes. There the second conversation ended. (26-27)
. . . I recall that Trotsky said in this directive that without the necessary
support from foreign states, a government of the bloc could neither come to
power nor hold power. It was therefore a question of arriving at the necessary
preliminary agreement with the most aggressive foreign states, like Germany and
Japan, and that he, Trotsky, on his part had already taken the necessary steps in
establishing contacts both with the Japanese and the German governments. (53)
. . . In connection with the international question Trotsky very
emphatically insisted on the necessity of preparing diversionist cadres. He
rebuked us for not engaging energetically enough in diversive, wrecking46 and
terrorist activities.
He told me that he had come to an absolutely definite agreement with the
fascist German government and with the Japanese government that they would
adopt a favourable attitude in the event of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc coming
to power. But, he added, it went without saying that such a favourable attitude
was not due to any particular love these governments cherished for the
Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc. It simply proceeded from the real interests of the
fascist governments and from what we had promised to do for them if we came
to power. (63-64)
. . .
Pyatakov: Here I must first make one explanation. Trotsky again said that from
this standpoint, too, from the standpoint of the negotiations he was conducting
and of what he had already achieved, it was extremely important to build up an
46 For the word “wrecking” it’s best to substitute “sabotage.” “Wrecking” is a clumsy translation that
makes the original sound forced. The Russian word is !”#$%&#'()&!*, from “vred” = “harm.”

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active, concrete and real force. He then told me that he had conducted rather
lengthy negotiations with the Vice-Chairman of the German National-Socialist
Party – Hess. It is true I cannot say whether there is an agreement signed by him,
or whether there is only an understanding, but Trotsky put it to me as though an
agreement existed, one which it is true still had to be given definite shape by
certain other persons, of whom I shall speak in camera. (64)
. . .
First, the German fascists promise to adopt a favourable attitude towards the
Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc and to support it if it comes to power, either in time
of war, or before a war, should it succeed in doing so. But in return the fascists
are to receive the following compensation: a general favourable attitude towards
German interest and towards the German government on all questions of
international policy; certain territorial concessions would have to be made, and
these territorial concessions have been defined – in particular, mention was made
of territorial concessions in a veiled form which were called “not resisting
Ukrainian national-bourgeois forces in the event of their self-determination.”
Vyshinsky: What does that mean?
Pyatakov: It means in a veiled form what Radek spoke about here: should the
Germans set up their Ukrainian government, ruling the Ukraine not through their
German Governor-General but perhaps through a hetman – at any rate, should
the Germans “self-determine” the Ukraine – the Trotskyist-Zinovievite bloc will
not oppose it. Actually, this meant the beginning of the dismemberment of the
Soviet Union. (64)
. . .
Vyshinsky: And what about diversive acts in case of war?
Pyatakov: That was the last point. . . . In the event of military attack the
destructive forces of the Trotskyite organizations which would act within the
country must be co-ordinated with the forces from without acting under the
guidance of German fascism. The diversive and sabotage activity which is being
conducted by the Trotskyite-Zinovievite organization within the Soviet Union
must be carried out under the instuctions of Trotsky, which are to be agreed upon
with the German General Staff. (65)
. . .

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Radek: . . .The third point that emerged from Trotsky’s conversation with
Pyatakov was that Germany demanded complete freedom of action for the
advance of Germany to the Balkan and Danube countries. This is also a very
important fact.
Vyshinsky (To Pyatakov): Did you say that? Do you confirm that?
Pyatakov: Yes. Radek is relating it very exactly. It is all quite true. (445)
Radek: This was in May 1934. In the autumn of 1934, at a diplomatic reception, a
diplomatic representative of a Central European country who was known to me,
sat down beside me and started a conversation. He said (speaking German): “. . .
Our leaders” (he said that more explicitly) “know that Mr. Trotsky is striving for
a rapprochement with Germany. Our leader wants to know, what does this idea
of Mr. Trotsky’s signify? Perhaps it is the idea of an émigré who sleeps badly?
Who is behind these ideas?”
It was clear that I was being asked about the attitude of the bloc. . . . I
told him that the realist politicians in the U.S.S.R. understand the significance of
a German-Soviet rapprochement and are prepared to make the necessary
concessions to achieve this rapprochement. This representative understood that
since I was speaking about realist politicians it meant that there were realist
politicians and unrealist politicians in the U.S.S.R.: the realist politicians were
the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc. And he also understood that what I meant was: if
the bloc comes into power it will make concessions in order to bring about a
rapprochement with your government and the country which it represents. (108-
. . .
Radek: . . . Several months later, approximately, November 1935, at one of the
regular diplomatic receptions, the military representative of that country. . . .
The President: Do not mention his name or the country.
Radek: . . . approached me and began to complain about the complete change of
atmosphere between the two countries. After the first few words he said that
during Mr. Trotsky’s time the relations between the armies of the two countries
were better.

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He went on to say that Trotsky had remained true to his old opinion
about the need for Soviet-German friendship. After speaking in this strain for a
little while longer he began to press me hard as one who had formerly pursued
the Rappalo47 line. I replied to this by uttering the same formula which I had
uttered when I was first sounded, namely, that the realist politicians of the
U.S.S.R. appreciate the significance of Soviet-German friendship and are
prepared to make the necessary concessions in order to ensure this friendship. To
this he replied that we ought at last to get together somehow and jointly discuss
the details, definitely, about ways of reaching a rapprochement. (444)
. . .
Radek: As regards Japan, we were told she must not only be given Sakhalin oil
but be guaranteed oil in the event of a war with the U.S.A. It was stated that no
obstacles must be raised to the conquest of China by Japanese imperialism.
Vyshinsky: And as regards the Danube countries?
Radek: As regards the Danube and Balkan countries, Trotsky said in his letter
that German fascism was expanding and we should do nothing to prevent this.
The point was, of course, to sever any of our relations with Czechoslovakia
which would have contributed to the defense of that country. (115-116)
. . .
And, finally, after receiving Trotsky’s directives in 1934, I sent him the
reply of the centre, and added in my own name that I agreed that the ground
should be sounded, but that he should not bind himself, because the situation
might change. I suggested that the negotiations should be conducted by Putna,48
who had connections with leading Japanese and German military circles. And
Trotsky replied: “We shall not bind ourselves without your knowledge, we shall
make no decisions.” For a whole year he was silent. And at the end of that year
he confronted us with the accomplished fact of his agreement. You will
understand that it was not any virtue on my part that I rebelled against this. But it
is a fact for you to understand. (545)
47 In 1922 Soviet Russia and Germany signed a treaty at Rapallo that provided for economic and especially
for secret military collaboration.
48 Corps Commander Vitovt Kazimirovich Putna was the Soviet military attaché to Great Britain when he
was named by one or more defendants at the August 1936 Moscow Trial, whereupon he was recalled and
arrested. In 1937 he confessed to conspiring with other military leaders and was tried and executed in what
has become known as the “Tukhachevsky Affair.”

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And, finally, when Pyatakov returned from abroad, he casually remarked
when speaking of the conversation with Trotsky that Trotsky had told him that
cadres of people were being formed who had not been corrupted by the Stalin
leadership. But when I read about Olberg and asked others whether they had
known of the existence of Olberg, and none of them had heard about him, it
became clear to me that in addition to the cadres who had passed through his
school, Trotsky was organizing agents who had passed through the school of
German fascism. (548)
During my meeting with Sedov I asked him what our leader, Trotsky, thought,
what were the specific tasks he placed before us Trotskyites. Sedov began by
saying that it was no use sitting and whistling for fair weather; we must proceed
with all forces and means at our disposal to an active policy of discrediting
Stalin’s leadership and Stalin’s policy.
Further, Sedov said that his father held that the only correct way, a
difficult one but a sure one, was forcibly to remove Stalin and the leaders of the
government by means of terrorism. . . .
Seeing that I was being influenced by his words, he switched the
conversation to a new subject. He asked me whether I knew any of the directors
of German firms, Dehlmann in particular. I told him that I remembered such a
name, that he was a director of the firm of Fröhlich-Klüpfel-Dehlmann. This firm
was rendering technical assistance, under a contract, in sinking mines in the
Kuzbas. Sedov advised me to get in touch with that firm and make the
acquaintance of Herr Dehlmann.
I asked him why I should get in touch with him. He said that this firm
was of help in sending mail to the Soviet Union. I then said: “Are you advising
me to make a deal with the firm?” He said: “What’s terrible about that? You
must understand that if they are doing us a favour why should not we do them a
favour and furnish them with certain information.”
I said: “You are simply proposing that I should become a spy.” He
shrugged his shoulders and said: “It is absurd to use words like that. In a fight it
is unreasonable to be as squeamish as that. . . . I met Smirnov about the middle of

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July and he asked me bluntly: “Well, how is your mood?” I told him that I had no
personal mood, but I did as our leader Trotsky taught us – stand at attention and
wait for orders. . . . I detained him and ask: But Ivan Nikitich, Sedov ordered me
to establish connections with the firm of Fröhlich-Klüpfel-Dehlmann . . . that was
engaged in espionage and diversive work in the Kuzbas. In that case, I said, I will
be a spy and a diversionist. To this he replied: Stop slinging big words like “spy”
and “diversionist” about. . . . He said: What do you find terrible in enlisting
German diversionists for this work? . . . He insisted that there was no other way.
After this conversation I consented to establish connection with this firm. (235-
Romm testified that he had met with Sedov and Trotsky personally and passed
five messages to and from them and Radek. We reproduce here only his account of his
face-to-face meeting with Sedov.
Vyshinsky: Tell us how you received the letter from Trotsky, what commission
you were given, and how you carried out that commission.
Romm: . . . In the summer of 1931, in passing through Berlin, I met Putna who
offered to put me in touch with Sedov. I met Sedov and in reply to his question as
to whether I was prepared, if necessary, to serve as liaison man with Radek, I
consented and gave him my addresses in Paris and Geneva.
A few days before my departure for Geneva, while in Paris, I received a
letter posted in Paris, containing a short note from Sedov asking me to convey a
letter enclosed in the envelope to Radek. I took this letter with me to Geneva and
handed it to Radek when I met him. (137-138)
Romm seems to have functioned mainly as a courrier. His talks with Trotsky and
Sedov touched on Trotsky’s plan for using his forces to guarantee the defeat of the USSR
in a war with Germany in order to facilitate his return to power. Romm said he met with
Trotsky in person in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris at the end of July 1933.

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Vyshinsky: For what purpose did Trotsky meet you?
Romm: As far as I could understand, in order verbally to confirm the instructions
contained in the letter I was taking to Moscow. He started the conversation with
the question of creating the parallel centre. He said there was a danger in the
predominance of the Zinovievites, but that the danger would be great only if the
Trotskyites were not sufficiently active. He agreed with the idea of the parallel
centre, but only on the imperative condition that the bloc with the Zinovievites
was preserved and also on the condition that the parallel centre shall not be
inactive but shall actively engage in gathering around itself the most stalwart
cadres. Then he went on to say that not only terrorism, but sabotage activities in
industry, and in the national economy in general, were assuming special
significance. He said that, apparently, there was still wavering on this point, but it
had to be understood that loss of life was inevitable in carrying out acts of
sabotage, and that the main object was, by means of a number of sabotage
operations, to undermine confidence in Stalin’s Five-Year Plan, in the new
technique, and in that way, to undermine confidence in the Party leadership.
Emphasizing the necessity of extreme measures, Trotsky quoted the Latin
proverb to the effect: “What medicine cannot heal, iron will heal, and what iron
cannot heal, fire will heal.” I remember that, somewhat perplexed, I suggested
that this would undermine the defence capacity of the country at a time when,
with the accession of Hitler to power, the danger of war, and particularly the
danger of an attack on the U.S.S.R. by Germany, was becoming particularly
acute. To this question I did not get a comprehensive reply, but Trotsky hinted
that it was precisely the growing acuteness of the war danger that may place
defeatism on the order of the day. (141-142)
Romm’s meeting with Sedov in April 1934 in Paris touched on the same matter.
Sedov told me that in connection with my going to America Trotsky had asked to
be informed in case there was anything interesting in the sphere of Soviet-
American relations. When I asked why this was so interesting, Sedov told me:
“This follows from Trotsky’s line on the defeat of the U.S.S.R. Inasmuch as the
date of the war of Germany and Japan against the U.S.S.R. depends to a certain

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extent on the state of Soviet-American relations, this cannot fail to be of interest
to Trotsky. (144)
Assessing the Evidence
Piatakov testified at length that he had personally spoken to Trotsky and received
letters from him concerning the latter’s agreements with both Germany and Japan.
Likewise Radek said that Trotsky had discussed his, Trotsky’s, agreements with both
Germany and Japan in letters to him. Vladimir Romm, a Soviet journalist, testified that
he had passed letters between Trotsky and Radek hidden in a book.
As we’ve seen, Getty said that Trotsky had sent letters to Radek, Sokol’nikov,
Preobrazhensky “and others” in 1932. Evidently the Trotsky Archives at Harvard do not
make it clear whether the “others” included Piatakov, nor whether Trotsky continued to
send letters to his supporters in the USSR after 1932. Shestov said that he had received
Trotsky’s instructions through a face-to-face talk with Sedov.
Piatakov claimed Sedov had told him to order through German firms that would
“kick back” funds to Trotsky. American engineer John Littlepage read this passage in the
trial transcript and wrote that he found it credible. Littlepage claimed that in Berlin in
1931 he had learned of fraudulent orders for useless mining equipment being made by
Russian émigrés acting for Soviet companies. He said that if Piatakov had made such
orders the German companies would not have found it unusual, so Piatakov’s story did
not seem at all farfetched to him.49
Archival Documents and The 1937 Trial Transcript: Sokol’nikov and Radek
Concerning Trotsky’s Relations With Japan and Germany
In the course of his indictment at the start of the 1937 Trial Soviet Prosecutor
Andrei Vyshinskii said that in pretrial confessions Sokol’nikov had testified that a foreign
diplomat had informed him of Trotsky’s contact with his country:
49 John D. Littlepage with Demaree Bess, In Search of Soviet Gold. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co,
1938, pp. 102-3. According to the late Prof. John N. Hazard of Columbia University Littlepage was an
anticommunist but basically apolitical engineer who had no reason to lie to make the Soviet charges “look
good.” As a student of Soviet law Hazard stayed with the Littlepage family in Moscow in the mid-1930s.
(Hazard interv. by Furr April 1981)

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The accused Sokolnikov also admitted that, taking advantage of his position as
Assistant People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs, he, on L.D. Trotsky’s
instructions, carried on secret negotiations with representatives of a certain
foreign state.
The accused Sokolnikov testified:
“At the conclusion of an official conversation held in my office, when
Mr. — and the secretary of the embassy were about to leave, Mr. — stopped
“At that time both interpreters had already left my office. Taking
advantage of this opportunity, Mr. —, while I escorted him to the door,
exchanged a few sentences with me. Mr. — asked me: ‘Are you aware that Mr.
Trotsky has made certain proposals to my government?’
“I replied: ‘Yes, I have been informed of this.’
“Mr. — asked: ‘How do you appraise these proposals?’
“I replied: ‘I think the proposals are quite serious.’
“Then Mr. — asked: ‘Is this only your personal opinion?’
“I replied: ‘No, this is also the opinion of my friends.’”
(Vol. VIII, pp. 235, 236) (1937 Trial 9)
To this day not one of the many volumes of the preliminary investigative
materials of this, of the other two Moscow Trials, and of many other such proceedings,
has ever been opened to researchers. But the investigative materials pertaining to this
particular passage were published in 1989 and again in 1991 a volume on the
“rehabilitation” process. Its content is important for our purposes. First, because it shows
that these many volumes of preliminary investigation materials do exist (or did in 1989).
Second, because this passage, quoted from those preliminary materials, show clearly that
the country in question was Japan.
. . . to the file was associated a copy of notes of a talk between G. Ia.
Sokol’nikov, who was at that time the vice-commissar of Foreign Affairs, with
the Japanese ambassador Ota of April 13, 1935 on the question of the petroleum,
fishing, and anthracite concessions on Sakhalin [Island]. At the preliminary
investigation and at the trial G. Ia. Sokol’nikov confirmed the fact of this talk and

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stated that after the talk he supposedly had a short conversation with Ota on the
subject of L.D. Trotsky’s proposals to the Japanese government. The contents of
the conversation, as it is reflected in the transcript of the interrogation of G. Ia.
Sokol’nikov of December 12, 1936, was as follows:
Sokol’nikov: . . . when Ota and the secretary of the embassy were about to leave,
Ota stopped awhile. At that time both interpreters had already left my office.
Taking advantage of this opportunity Ota, while I escorted him to the door,
exchanged a few sentences with me.
Question: Please reproduce your conversation with Ota word for word, as far as
Answer: Ota asked me: “Are you aware that Mr. Trotsky has made certain
proposals to my government?” I replied: “Yes, I have been informed of this.” Ota
asked: “How do you appraise these proposals?” I replied: “I think the proposals
are quite serious.” Then Ota asked: “Is this only your personal opinion?” I
replied: “No, this is also the opinion of my friends.” On this point our
conversation ended.
Question: Did Ota return to the question of contact between the bloc and the
Japanese government after that?
Answer: No. This conversation with Ota took place at the very end of my
negotiations with him. Shortly after that I stopped working in the NKVD and did
not meet with Ota again.50
There is no basis to conclude that Sokol’nikov was forced to fabricate this
statement, and then again forced at trial to leave out the name and any indication of what
country’s government was in question. It’s precisely these details that strongly suggest
the statement was not a fabrication. This statement was never intended to see the light of
day. The text of this part of Sokol’nikov’s confession is strong corroborative evidence
that both it and his testimony at the Moscow trial are truthful.
The text of Radek’s similar statement at a preliminary investigation has not been
published, though it is briefly summarized on p. 229 on the Reabilitatsia volume, right
after the quotation from Sokol’nikov we’ve just reviewed. But a version of that text was
50 Reabilitatsiia. Politicheskie Protsessy 30-50-x godov. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Politichesoi Literatury,
2001, pp. 228-9. Originally published in Izvestiia TsK KPSS No. 9 (1989).

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reprinted in a 2004 volume of NKVD materials sent to Stalin. It occurs in a part of the
draft of Vyshinsky’s opening statement at the 1937 Trial. (Lubianka B 11-12) Though
expurgated to remove the names of the German figures identified in the original
interrogation (which is still secret) the name of the government – Germany, in this case –
was left in in the draft, while it was omitted in the Trial transcript. (1937 Trial 7-9)
In the following section:
• the passages that are common to both versions of Vyshinsky’s remarks are in
normal type.
• the passages that are only in the Trial transcript are in italics.
• those passages that are only in the pretrial draft of Vyshinsky’s remarks
published in 2004, but are not in the Trial transcript, are in boldface.
The most important result of this textual analysis is this: the draft version
published in 2004 contains many more specific references to Germany and Japan, to
German individuals, and to an outline of Trotsky’s purported agreements with them.
As testified by the accused Pyatakov, L. Trotsky, in his conversation with the
accused in December 1935, informed him that as a result of these negotiations he
had concluded an agreement with the said leader of the National-Socialist Party
HESS on the following terms:
“1) to guarantee a generally favourable attitude towards the German
government and the necessary collaboration with it in the most important
questions of an international character;
“2) to agree to territorial concessions;
“3) to permit German industrialists, in the form of concessions (or some
other forms), to exploit enterprises in the U.S.S.R. which are essential as
complements to German economy (iron ore, manganese, oil, gold, timber, etc.,
were meant);
“4) to create in the U.S.S.R. favourable conditions for the activities of
German private enterprises;
“5) in time of war to develop extensive diversive activities in enterprises
of the war industry and at the front. These diversive activities are to be carried
on under Trotsky’s instructions, agreed upon with the German General Staff.

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These principles of the agreement, as Trotsky related, were finally
elaborated and adopted during Trotsky’s meeting with Hitler’s deputy, Hess.
Likewise, said Trotsky, he had well-established connections with the
Japanese government. (Vol. I, pp. 267, 268)
The nature of this agreement and the extent of the territorial concessions
proposed were communicated by L. Trotsky in his letter to the accused Radek in
December 1935.
. . .
On this point the accused Radek, during examination on December 4,
1936, testified:
“. . . Trotsky’s assertion about his communication with the
representatives of the — government was not idle talk. I was able to convince
myself of this from conversations I had had at diplomatic receptions in 1935-35
with the military attaché German Mr. General K., the naval attaché, if I am
not mistaken, Mr. B and finally with the press-attaché of the German embassy,
Mr. B, a very well informed representative of Germany.
“Both of them, in a cautious way, gave me to understand / 9 / that the —
government was in communication with Trotsky.
And further:
“I told Mr K— that it was absolutely useless expecting any concessions
from the present government, but that the German government could count upon
receiving concessions from “the realist politicians in the U.S.S.R.,” i.e. from the
bloc, when the latter came to power.” (Vol. V, pp. 119, 121)
We should note that even Vyshinsky’s draft has been expurgated of some details.
For example in the summary of Sokol’nikov’s confession Ota’s name is replaced by “O.”
in this draft, while in the Trial transcript itself even this letter is omitted and we read “Mr.
—.” Hess’s name is mentioned in the Trial transcript, presumably because Hess was an
official of the Nazi Party, not a member of the German government. The Soviets insisted
upon making a distinction between the policies of the Soviet government that wanted
good relations with capitalist countries in diplomacy, trade, etc., and the policies of the
Bolshevik Party that pursued subversive ends. It is logical that they would make a similar
distinction in the case of Germany.

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By analogy with Sokol’nikov’s interrogation we may assume that all the names
were present in the still-secret transcript of Radek’s interrogation. Explicit identification
of German and Japanese individuals is more frequent in the draft of Vyshinsky’s remarks,
yet Hess’s name does get into the Trial transcript, though the word “Japan” is excised, as
are the ranks and initials of the German officials and, in the last quotation, the word
“Germany” itself. This appears to show considerable uncertainty within the Soviet
government as to how much to reveal publicly. Perhaps they did not want to “burn their
bridges” to the government and military of any of the Western countries, who after all
could not be blamed for espionage since every country did it and the Soviets were doing
it too.
Assessing This Evidence
As in the case of the Sokol’nikov passage, these differences between the various
versions of the same testimony are hard to explain unless one assumes that the original
testimony was genuine. It is simply not necessary in the slightest to create multiple levels
of fake confessions. But real confessions that were obtained in many interrogations over
an extended time, then edited down in several versions of the indictment, and finally
edited again, we must assume, in the final draft of the Trial transcript, would leave this
kind of documentary trail.
Radek’s and Sokol’nikov’s interrogations were still in existence in 1989 when the
excerpt from it was published. We have evidence that the texts of many other
interrogations, as well as other vital investigative materials, still exist but are kept top
secret in Russian archives. They probably have a great deal more evidence to support the
existence of the conspiracies, including those with Trotsky, Germany and Japan. Since
the archives have been scoured for any evidence that could support the “rehabilitations”,
and thus the supposed innocence, of the defendants, it seems safe to assume that most
material that is still secret is of a different, inculpatory nature.
There appear to be three kinds of documents.
• The published Trial transcript has the fewest details concerning German and
Japanese collaboration by Trotsky and the Trotskyists.

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• Vyshinsky’s draft presentation had more such details, including some that
were excised before he delivered it or, at the very least, before it was
• Transcripts of the defendants’ actual interrogations and confessions have the
most detail of all.
The relatively few such pretrial confession transcripts that have been published –
Bukharin’s first confession, plus Frinovsky’s, Ezhov’s, Yagoda’s, Enukidze’s,
Fel’dman’s, and a few by defendants at the 1936 trials like Zinov’ev and Kamenev –
confirm the impression that they contain primary evidence of outstanding importance. It
is highly probable that a great deal of such evidence remains extant and secret.
In a famous passage in his trial testimony Radek mocked the idea that he might
have been coerced into making the statements he did, saying that it was he who had
“tormented” his interrogators.
When I found myself in the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs, the chief
examining official realized at once why I would not talk. He said to me: “You are
not a baby. Here you have fifteen people testifying against you. You cannot get
out of it, and as a sensible man you cannot think of doing so. If you do not want
to testify it can only be because you want to gain time and look it over more
closely. Very well, study it.” For two and a half months I tormented the
examining official. The question has been raised here whether we were
tormented while under investigation. I must say that it was not I who was
tormented, but I who tormented the examining officials and compelled them
to perform a lot of useless work. For two and a half months I compelled the
examining official, by interrogating me and by confronting me with the
testimony of other accused, to open up all the cards to me, so that I could see
who had confessed, who had not confessed, and what each had confessed. (1937
Trial 549; emphasis added)
We have no evidence that the testimony in these confessions was extracted by
threat or force – that is, was false. Why go to the trouble of having a suspect concoct a
detailed confession, naming names, and then take out those names for the sake of a trial?

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By far the most likely reason for omitting the names at trial is that they were genuine in
the first place. Given the absence of any evidence that these confessions were false, and
given the logical progression from more detail in the secret documents to the least detail
in public ones, any objective student would conclude that we should consider these
confessions genuine unless and until evidence to the contrary should be discovered.
But the practice among most scholars of this period of Soviet history is to do precisely
the opposite. Any evidence that tends to support the theory that Trotsky or any of those
accused of espionage, sabotage, conspiracy to overthrow the government or treasonable
contacts with foreign governments did in fact so conspire, is routinely dismissed. The
evidence itself is not evaluated.
There is never any reason to “dismiss” – to refuse to consider – any evidence. All
evidence needs to be evaluated on its own merits and in conjunction with the rest of the
evidence available, as we have done here. The evidence is strong that Radek testified
truthfully both in his pretrial interrogations and at the trial. That means either that Trotsky
was involved with Germany and Japan or, at the least, that Trotsky told Radek he was.
The March 1938 Trial: Krestinsky, Rozengol’ts, Bessonov, Rakovsky
In this trial Nikolai Krestinsky testified that in 1922 he began collaborating with
the German General von Seeckt, at Trotsky’s behest and for factional Trotskyist aims.
Krestinsky said that the clandestine Trotskyite organization did some kind of espionage
or intelligence services for the German General Staff in return for a considerable sum of
money to further their factional work within the Bolshevik Party.
KRESTINSKY: I began my illegal Trotskyite activities at the end of 1921, when
on Trotsky’s suggestion I consented to the formation of an illegal Trotskyite
organization and to my joining its centre, which was to be made up of Trotsky,
Pyatakov, Serebryakov, Preobrazhensky and myself, Krestinsky. Trotsky made
this proposal to me immediately after the Tenth Congress. . . . (1938 Trial 262)
A year later I committed a crime – I refer to the one I spoke about during the
examination of the accused Rosengoltz – the agreement I concluded on Trotsky’s
instructions with General Seeckt, with the Reichswehr in his person, about

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financing the Trotskyite organization in exchange for services of an espionage
nature which we undertook in this connection to render the Reichswehr. . . . (262)
VYSHINSKY: Will you tell us how much money you received?
KRESTINSKY: Beginning with 1923 until 1930 we received annually 250,000
German marks in gold.
VYSHINSKY: This makes approximately two million gold marks altogether
during these years?
KRESTINSKY: Yes, approximately two million gold marks. (265)
Krestinsky made a point of stressing that he had contacted von Seeckt as early as
the previous year, 1921, but that his illegal, criminal contacts with von Seeckt dated only
from 1922.
VYSHINSKY: Inasmuch as you are winding up the story of this period of your
criminal activities, I want to get more precise information on one question. You
said that in the winter of 1921-22 you evolved your calculations on the German
KRESTINSKY: The plans to utilize the German Reichswehr for criminal
Trotskyite purposes appeared in the spring of 1922.
VYSHINSKY: Did your Trotskyite organization maintain contact with Seeckt
even before 1921?
KRESTINSKY: There was a contact with him of which I do not want to speak at
an open session. It was a contact established by a member of our organization
who at that time was not yet a member of our organization, and it was not a
contact of a Trotskyite nature. (267-268)
. . .
VYSHINSKY: The question of money for Trotskyite purposes from the German
Reichswehr – is that an official aspect or not?
KRESTINSKY: This was the secret Trotskyite aspect, a criminal thing.
VYSHINSKY: Which refers to 1921-22?
KRESTINSKY: To 1922. (269)

It is hard to see why he would have insisted upon such precision over an insubstantial
matter unless he were telling the truth.
Krestinsky also claimed that he had met personally with Trotsky in Meran,51 Italy
in October 1933, where Trotsky told him that collaboration with Japan was also essential.
KRESTINSKY: When I told him [Bessonov, another of the defendants – GF]
that I wanted to meet Trotsky he said that there was a possibility of arranging it.
At the same time I said that I would stay in Kissingen to the end of September,
and that I would spend the rest of the time up to the 10th of October in Meran,
and I gave him the address of the Kissingen sanatorium in which I always
stopped, and also my address in Meran. . . .
Trotsky arrived in Meran around the 10th of October together with
Sedov . . . Trotsky, as he told me, arrived with somebody else’s French passport
and he travelled by the route of which Bessonov spoke, that is to say, over the
Franco-Italian border, and not through Switzerland and Germany. For Trotsky,
the questions which bothered us in Moscow were irrevocably settled and he
himself proceeded to expound his instructions with regard to this. He said that as
since 1929 we had developed into an organization of a conspiratorial type, it was
natural that the seizure of power could be consummated only by force. . . . (275-6)
Krestinsky said that Trotsky personally informed him that he was continuing to
work personally with the Germans, and with the Japanese through Sokol’nikov.
He undertook to carry on the negotiations with the Germans. As for the Japanese,
of whom he spoke as a force with which it was also necessary to come to terms,
he said that, for the time being, it was difficult for him to establish direct
connections with them, that it would be necessary to carry on conversations with
them in Moscow, that it was necessary in this connection to use Sokolnikov, who
was working in the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs and, as it happened,
was in charge of eastern affairs. And inasmuch as this conversation would be
held only with an official person, and the preliminary conversation would only be
51 The city is called “Meran” in German and Russian, and “Merano” in Italian. We use “Meran” here
because this is the spelling in the English translation of the 1938 Trial transcript.

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in the nature of soundings, it would be sufficient to confine ourselves at first to
general statements to the effect that if a government of a bloc of the opposition
groups assumed power in the Soviet Union, it would display a favourable attitude
towards the Japanese and take into consideration the wishes of the Japanese
during the discussion and settlement of the controversies existing between the
Soviet government and the Japanese government. (277-278)
Rozengol’ts testified that he had contacted von Seeckt and Chief of the German
General Staff Haase in 1923 when ordered by Trotsky and for Trotskyist purposes.
(Krestinsky too had confessed to meeting with von Seeckt and Haase.)
My espionage activities began as far back as 1923, when, on TROTSKY’S
instructions, I handed various secret information to the Command-in-Chief of the
Reichswehr, SEECKT, and to the Chief of the German General Staff, HASSE.
Subsequently, direct connections with me were established by the —
Ambassador in the U.S.S.R., Mr. N, to whom I periodically gave information of
an espionage character. After Mr. N’s departure I continued my espionage
connections with the new Ambassador, Mr. N.” (Vol VI, p. 131 reverse) (9)
He insisted that this is when his conspiratorial work began – that is, that this
contact was not work for the USSR, which had trade and military agreements with
Weimar Germany at the time.
VYSHINSKY: . . . So you, Rosengoltz, established connections with the German
intelligence service already in 1923?
ROSENGOLTZ: With Seeckt directly.
VYSHINSKY: Do you draw a line between the two?
ROSENGOLTZ: I am saying it merely for the sake of exactitude.
VYSHINSKY: So since 1923 you, accused Rosengoltz, began to supply
espionage information to foreign states?
ROSENGOLTZ: That is right. (261)

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Rozengol’ts’ distinction here is correct. Contact with the German General Staff is
not the same as contact with German intelligence, even though espionage for both would
be equally illegal. Here too it is hard to imagine why Rozengol’ts would have taken the
trouble to be so precise unless he were telling the truth. Liars can feign precision, but in
this case there seems to be no reason to fabricate this kind of distinction.
He testified to working with both Germany and Japan on Trotsky’s instructions.
In addition to instructions I received from TROTSKY through KRESTINSKY
and SEDOV to carry on sabotage activities in the sphere of foreign trade with the
object of rendering direct assistance to Germany and Japan, the character of my
sabotage activities was also determined by instructions I received from the
— Ambassadors in the U.S.S.R., Mr. N and Mr. N, connections with whom
played an important part in this matter, as I had to be guided in my work by their
definite instructions.
After I had established contact with TUKHACHEVSKY and RYKOV, I
informed the former through KRESTINSKY, and the latter I myself informed, of
TROTSKY’S instuctions regarding sabotage activities, and both approved of the
work I had done.
As a result of all this, sabotage activities in foreign trade proceeded
mainly along the following three lines: first – economic assistance to Germany
and Japan at the expense of the U.S.S.R.; second – causing economic loss and
damage to the U.S.S.R.; third – causing political damage to the U.S.S.R. (Vol. VI,
p. 49) (15-16)
ROSENGOLTZ: I shall enumerate the main points. Sedov also conveyed
directions from Trotsky about the organization of terrorism, stating that at that
period these instructions about terrorism should have no direct practical bearing
on Krestinsky and myself from motives of secrecy, since special instructions
were being given on this score to the terrorist organization of Ivan Nikitich
Smirnov. In 1933 directions and instructions were received with regard to
sabotage in the sphere of foreign trade. As Sedov had told me that Trotsky had an
agreement with certain German circles, from this standpoint sabotage was of very
essential importance to Trotsky for the maintenance of his prestige and the

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preservation of the agreement. The principal line in sabotage was to further the
interests of Germany and Japan in the sphere of foreign trade. (246)
Rozengol’ts said that he met personally with Sedov in both 1933 and 1934.
In so far as TROTSKY had an agreement with Germany and Japan, of which I
had been informed (both during the negotiations – at my meeting with Sedov in
1933; and of the agreement that had been reached – at my meeting with him in
1934), I received corresponding instructions from TROTSKY, and my sabotage
activities in the sphere of foreign trade served the same purpose. (Vol. VI, p. 48)
Bessonov said that he had received a letter from Trotsky in 1934, and also met
Trotsky in Paris in that year.
BESSONOV: I received a short letter through Johannson, a note from Trotsky, in
which he wrote about arranging a meeting with one of the Trotskyites in
Germany to inform him about the events of June 30 in Germany. I was the only
person who could go. At the end of July 1934 I arrived in Paris by the day train
and also left by the day train. The whole talk took place in a hotel at which
Johannson always stayed. Trotsky said that he knew me very well from
Pyatakov’s letters and from Krestinsky’s accounts. (63)
Here Trotsky urged him to pressure the Germans to come to some official agreement with
the Opposition, saying:
VYSHINSKY: What did you and Trotsky say about your underground Trotskyite
BESSONOV: He imposed on his followers working in the diplomatic field the
task of adopting the line of sabotaging official agreements in order to stimulate
the interest of the Germans in unofficial agreements with opposition groups.
“They will come to us yet,” said Trotsky, referring to Hess and Rosenberg. He
said that we must not be squeamish in this matter, and that we might be ensured

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real and important help from Hess and Rosenberg. He said we must not stop
short at consenting to big cessions of territory. (63)
Khristian Rakovsky testified that in September 1934 an important Japanese
official had spoken to him directly concerning an agreement with the opposition.
RAKOVSKY:.. In September 1934 I was sent to Tokyo at the head of the
Soviet Red Cross Delegation to an international conference of Red Cross
Societies, which was to take place there in October. The day after I arrived in
Tokyo, I was stopped in the corridor of the Japanese Red Cross building by a
certain prominent public man of Japan. I can mention his name.
THE PRESIDENT: No, there is no need.
RAKOVSKY: Very well, I will name him at the session in camera. He invited
me to tea. I made his acquaintance. He held a position which had some relation to
my mission – I want to say, not my mission as one who belonged to the
opposition, but my governmental mission. I accepted his amiable invitation.
During the conversation this persion (here I omit various compliments,
commonplaces, flattering remarks) said that the interests of the political trend to
which I belonged in the U.S.S.R. and the interests of a certain government fully
coincided, and that he personally welcomed my arrival in Tokyo because it
would give him the opportunity to discuss certain questions concerning both
sides, . . . (289-290)
Rakovsky then said that during 1935 and the first half of 1936 he had had five
communications with Naida, a Japanese agent. Naida gave him to understand that the
Japanese had relations with Trotsky. Rakovsky communicated with Trotsky about this.
During the second and third meeting with the public man who headed a big
public organization in Japan we established the nature of the information which I
promised to supply to the agents of the Japanese intelligence service in Moscow
and also the technique of transmitting this information. While still in Tokyo, I
drew into this work Dr. Naida, secretary of the Red Cross Delegation, of whom I
already knew that he was a member of the underground counter-revolutionary

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terrorist organization. I sent Dr. Naida with my card to the public man and he
arranged with him as to how and with whom Dr. Naida was to meet in Moscow;
it was he who acted as liaison agent between me and the Japanese intelligence
service. In Tokyo I had yet another meeting, with a third person… I was
introduced to this third person by the second high personage. He asked me to
take coffee with him – this was after dinner; we sat down at a table and began to


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