About the United Front with Grzezinsky

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Author(s) Leon Trotsky
Written 20 September 1933


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Source: The Militant, Vol. VI No. 46, 7 October 1933, p. 3.
Keywords : Germany, SPD, United front

The Devil’s Grandmother Again

L’Humanité of September 19th reproduces the photograph of Grzezinsky, the former social-democratic chief of police of Berlin, in the role of witness before the London counter-trial in the case of the burning of the Reichstag. It is clear that the poor editors of L’Humanité did not think about the significance of their printing this photograph. Otherwise, they would have resigned with shame, admitting that they have no right to be in charge of a workers newspaper.

The London counter-trial which attempts to establish the truth in the matter of the burning of the Reichstag is an act of political struggle against Fascism. The judges, witnesses, experts make their appearance at this trial not through compulsion but in order to achieve a definite political aim: the struggle with the bands of Hitler. Grzezinsky detests Communism; he proved it in deeds, having shot down Communist workers. However, the same Grzezinsky voluntarily appears at the London counter-trial to testify in favor of the Communists: Torgler, Dimitrov and others against the Fascist Goering and Co. By publishing the report of the London counter-trial and in particular the photograph of the witness Grzezinsky, L’Humanité participates in a united front with Grzezinsky against Goering. Is this not clear?

More than two years ago we wrote that in the struggle against Hitler we are ready to make a united front not only with the devil and its grandmother but even with Grzezinsky himself. The unfortunate editors of L’Humanité and the Cahiers de Bolshevism spilled not a little ink then, trying to prove our complete adherence to social Fascism. Truly fate is unmerciful to these people. Grezinsky could have died in time, or could have gone over to Fascism so as to lighten somewhat the lot of the ill-fated editors of L’Humanité. But Grzezinsky lived through, emigrated, appeared at the trial in favor of the tried Communists and thereby forced L’Humanité to print his photograph as an ally in the united front.

The London counter-trial, no matter how modest its political significance, is nevertheless very much worthwhile. Perhaps the readers of L’Humanité – the editors are hopeless – will surmise that a united front with the social-democracy should have been started before and not after the victory of Hitler, not when Communists and social-democrats are routed and Torgler imprisoned, but when there was still a full possibility for victory over Hitler.

Had the leaders of the Comintern known the first lessons of the Communist ABC, and not repeated obediently the idiotic formula that social-democracy and Fascism are “twins”, not Torgler would be sitting in jail but Goering and Hitler himself. More than that, it is very probable that by now Grzezinsky would have had time to join them, for his forced participation in the struggle against Fascism could not free him finally from the responsibility before the proletarian court for the murder of the Berlin workers. Will not the editors of L’Humanité have to appear someday before the proletarian court for the systematic confusion of the minds of the workers? They can hope for acquittal only on the basis of the formula: “they knew not what they did”.


September 20, 1933

L.T.