Lubianka. Stalin I NKVD NKGB GUKR
SMERSH. 1939 mart 1946.
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No. 37. Communication from L.P. Beria to J.V. Stalin about N.I. Ezhov with attachment of the transcript of his interrogation
April 27, 1937
No. 1268/b Top secret
Attached to this I am sending you the transcript of the interrogation of Ezhov of April 26, 1937. Interrogation continues.
Peoples Commissar for Internal Affairs of the Union of SSR L. Beria
TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERROGATION
OF THE ARRESTED PERSON EZHOV NIKOLAI IVANOVICH
Of April 26 1939
EZHOV N.I., year of birth 1895, native of the city of
Question: At the last interrogation you confessed that over the period of ten
years you carried out espionage work for
Answer: I must admit that, although I gave truthful confessions about my
espionage work for
Question: With what aims did you try to lead the investigation away from your espionage ties with the Germans.
Answer: I did not want to confess to the investigation about my direct espionage ties with the Germans, all the more since my collaboration with German intelligence is not limited only to espionage work assigned by German intelligence, I organized an anti-Soviet conspiracy and was preparing a
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coup d'état by means of terrorist acts against the leaders of the party and government.
Question: Confess concerning all the espionage ties of yours that you tried to conceal from the investigation, and the circumstances of your recruitment.
Answer: I was recruited as an agent of German intelligence in 1934 under the
following circumstances. In the summer of 1934 I was sent abroad for treatment to
Question: Who is Norden?
Answer: Norden is by nationality a German, who moved from Frankfurt to
Question: Namely who?
Answer: As far as I know, Norden treated Chubar, Gamarnik, Iakir, Veinberg, and Metalikov.
Question: Who recruited you?
Answer: I was recruited for collaboration with German intelligence by Doctor Engler, who is the senior assistant of Norden.
Question: I dont understand what connection Dr. Engler has to the work of German intelligence?
Answer: To answer that question in detail I ask that you permit me to tell about the circumstances under which I was recruited by Engler.
Answer: Upon my arrival in
In the third week of my stay at the sanatorium I entered into an intimate relationship with a nurse whose name I do not remember. The first night everything went well, but during her next shift Dr. Engler suddenly entered my room, found me in a compromising position with the nurse and raised a scandal. He immediately called the nurse, who ran out of the room with a cry, and Engler began to explain himself to me in broken Russian.
He declared: We have never had such a scandalous event at the sanatorium. This is not a house of pleasure, you will ruin the good name of the sanatorium. Here we have scientists from the whole world, and yet you are doing things like this. I must expel you from the sanatorium, and we will inform our government of this disgraceful affair. I cannot guarantee that this scandalous story will not appear in the press.
I began to beg Engler not to do that and offered him money. Engler became even more heated and demonstratively left.
The next day I went myself to Engler to apologize for my rudeness, for the money I offered him, and told him I would like to settle the whole affair in peace. In a tone that did not permit of any objections, Engler offered me this: Either you will collaborate with the Germans in future, or we will discredit you in the press. Choose.
Then and there Engler told me that he knew very well who I was, what I do in the USSR and what position I occupy in the part (at that time I was working as the chief of the industrial section of the Central Committee of the ACP(b) and as vice-chairman of the Commission of Party Control).
I was nonplussed and understood that the nurse had been sent to me according to a previously-arranged plan, and asked Engler permission to think a bit. He agreed.
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Since I was not hurrying to decide this question on the second or third day Engler himself approached me and asked: Well, you have thought enough, what have you decided to do? Again I tried to beg him to settle everything nicely, without any scandalous stories. He completely refused. Engler declared directly that that day he would report this story to the president of the police, and tomorrow a report about my disgraceful behavior would appear in the Austrian press. Consider, he continued, that besides debauchery in the sanatorium you have also tried to bribe our employees.
I decided to agree to Englers proposal.
Question: The conditions of your recruitment by German intelligence that you have related do not inspire belief.
It is incomprehensible and strange that you should have agreed to be recruited when all you had to fear was publicity in the foreign press about your intimate relationship with some woman.
Speak plainly: how did German intelligence get its claws into you?
Answer: At that time I had only just been promoted to important political work.
Publicity about this incident would have discredited me in the
Question: And you tied yourself to the obligation to work for the Germans too?
Answer: I had to. Engler demanded from me a short written promise about collaboration with German intelligence, which I did.
Question: That is you gave them a written promise?
Question: Did they give you a code name?
Question: What else?
Answer: After my recruitment was formalized I asked Engler to inform me with
whom and how I was to maintain my relations with them. Engler answer that he himself was a
collaborator with the military intelligence of
He said, in his own words, that he would maintain ties with me personally.
Question: Its unclear how Engler could maintain ties with you if he lived
Answer: It was the case that Engler proposed to move to
As head doctor of this sanatorium it had been proposed to invite one of Nordens
assistants. Engler informed me that negotiations were being conducted with him, and he had
given his agreement to move to
Question: You have just said that negotiations had begun with Engler concerning
his move to
Answer: Engler told me that he was negotiating with Metalikov, the former chief
of the medical directorate of the Kremlin, who would come to
Question: What tasks did Engler give you after your recruitment?
Answer: Above all Engler gave me the task of rendering any cooperation I could
towards the quickest resolution of the question of his invitation to
Question: Did you fulfill this demand of Englers?
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Answer: Upon my return to
After a little time Metalikov informed me that the CPC had rejected this proposal. Then I advised Metalikov to put the question to the Central Committee of the ACP(b).
The Politburo of the CC ACP(b) decided not to invite Engler and instead to send a team of Soviet doctors to Norden to work, and after that to select specialists from among them for the position of chief doctor for the Barvikh sanatorium, which would be founded anew along Nordens line.
This is why Englers arrival in
Question: Did you pass to Engler for German intelligence any information that
constituted specially guarded state secrets of the
Answer: During the time of my direct contact with Engler in
Question: You are avoiding a direct answer. The investigation is interested in the question of what information of an espionage character was given by you to Engler?
Answer: Within the limits of what I knew by memory I told Engler everything about the situation of armament and military preparedness of the Red Army, especially emphasizing the weakest places in the military preparedness of the RKKA [Workers and Peasants Red Army, the full name for the Red Army at that time GF]. I told English that the Red Army was very backward in artillery, both in the quality of artillery weapons and in their quantity, and was significantly behind the artillery armament of the leading capitalist countries.
In touching upon the general economic situation in the
Further I informed Engler of the immense disproportion in the growth of different sectors of industry which had a strong effect on the general economic situation in the country. I especially stressed the backward condition in the group of nonferrous metals and special alloys that was holding back the development of the military preparedness of the Red Army.
Question: You have confessed that you were not successful in arranging for
Englers entry into the
Answer: I have already confessed that there was a decision about sending a group
of Soviet doctors to work with Norden. Upon their return from
Question: When and under what circumstances was your espionage connection with this doctor established?
Answer: That was approximately at the beginning of 1935. Doctor Taits was always present at the consultations of high-ranking employees who were sick, so I already knew him well. The first conversation, during which he established espionage relations with me in Englers name, took place in my apartment,
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to which he came under the pretense of a regular examination. After the usual questions
about my health he began to tell me about his trip to
In our conversation about Engler Taits carefully told me about the incident that had
taken place in
Question: Where is this Taits at present?
Answer: He was arrested in 1937 and, as far as I remember, was shot.
Question: How long did your ties with him last?
Answer: Roughly throughout the year 1935.
Question: Where did your conspiratorial meetings take place?
Answer: On all the occasions when I had to transmit one or another bit of espionage information our meetings took place in my apartment. Taits would come to me under pretense of checking up on my health.
Question: What assignments for espionage work did you receive from Taits?
Answer: According to Taits, Engler was interested most of all in secret
information about the armament of the Red Army and in all the facts about the defense
capabilities of the
In the PCC there was a military group headed by
I know that Taits photographed most of these notes and passed them on to the proper party.
Question: Did he tell you about this?
Answer: Yes, once I was interested in how and where he transmitted the information he received from me. Taits told me that he transmitted this information in photographed form to a certain person in the German embassy who then would transmit these photographs to German intelligence.
Question: How did he get into the German embassy?
Answer: Besides his basic work in the medical directorate of the Kremlin doctor
Taits also cared for the workers in the German embassy in
Question: Do you remember the nature of the information that you passed to Taits?
Answer: Yes, I remember.
Question: Please be specific.
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Answer: During the time of my relations with doctor Taits I passed on a large quantity of reports and notes on questions of armament, of the materiel and food acquirement, of the moral and political condition and military preparedness of the Red Army. These materials contained exhaustive numerical and factual information of various military forces, types of armament, and condition of military districts.
During this same time I passed on to Taits information about the course and the insufficiencies in military aviation, about the slow penetration of new and more perfected types of aviation engines, about the rates of accidents of military aircraft, about the plan for training aviation cadres and about tactical and technical information that characterized the quality and quantity of the aviation motors and airplanes that we produced.
Besides that I passed through Taits to German intelligence information that the PCC had about the condition of tank armaments of the Red Army. I drew the Germans attention to the poor quality of Soviet armor and the failures to integrate the tanks with diesel motors instead of the aviation motors that were used at that time.
Further, I passed on to Taits exhaustive information about the great insufficiencies in the area of material and food acquirement and quartermaster management of the RKKA. On these questions, by the way, there was a special session of the CC ACP(b), the decision of which I also passed on for the information of German intelligence.
The materials I communicated gave a clear picture of the situation in this important branch of the military. From them it was clear that at the very beginning of a war the Red Army would face serious difficulties.
I passed analogous materials to Taits about the condition of the chemical, light arms, and engineering equipment of the RKKA, and in addition some materials that characterized the condition of military preparedness and political and morale condition of units of the Leningrad, Belorussian, Privolga, and Central Asian military districts, which were supervised by the PCC.
Question: In what did your further collaboration with German intelligence consist?
Answer: At the beginning of 1936 upon the recommendation of the medical
directorate of the Kremlin Norden was invited to
Of the large number of persons whom Norden consulted I specifically remember Gamarnik, Iakir, Chubar, Petrovsky, Kosior, Veinberg, and Metalikov. Norden also consulted me.
Question: Did you establish relations with Norden in your espionage work?
Answer: Yes, I established ties with Norden.
Question: Under what conditions?
Answer: In order to continue special clinical examination I was sent to Barvikh where I was assigned a separate apartment where I remained for 8 10 days.
On one of those days Norden came to me and gave me greetings from Engler. He said:
Engler is satisfied with your attention and is very sorry that he was not able to go
I told Norden that I was healthy and saw no need for any special trip abroad. Then Norden gave me directly to understand that it was the Germans who required my trip abroad and that it was not so much a matter of what I wanted than of the demands of German intelligence.
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Then I asked Norden to give me an appropriate conclusion about the condition of my
health, which he did later saying that it was essential that I follow a course of
treatment in his
Question: Does Norden speak Russian?
Question: So how did you communicate with each other?
Answer: I communicated with him through my wife Evgeniia Solomonovich Ezhov, who knows German, English and French.
Question: Did you take that trip abroad?
Answer: In the summer of 1936 I travelled to
However there was nothing for me to do there, since in fact I did not need any
treatment. I asked Norden what I should do. He recommended that I go to the spa in Merano
Before my trip to Merano Engler said that there a man to whom Engler himself was subordinate in intelligence work would have a talk with me.
Three or four days after I arrived in Merano there arrived Kandelaki, the former trade representative to German, who suffered from diabetes.
Question: Did Kandelaki come to Merano for treatment?
Answer: Merano is a spa where one is treated with grapes which, of course, is contraindicated for Kandelakis disease.
Question: Then what was the cause of Kandelakis arrival?
Answer: As I came to learn later Kandelakis arrival in Merano, like my own, was connected with espionage matters about which I will confess below.
Question: Continue with your confession?
Answer: Soon after Kandelaki Litvinov arrived in Merano, and then Shtein, the
political representative of the
On the fifth or sixth day of my stay in Merano Kandelaki informed me that the prominent German general Hammerstein had arrived at our sanatorium in the company of the Polish minister of trade whose name I cannot now recall.
After Hammerstein Engler also came to Merano.
Here I consider it necessary to note the following: once when I was walking through the park of the sanatorium I noticed that Kandelaki greeted Hammerstein and entered into a conversation with him.
One evening Litvinov dropped in on me and invited me to go with him to the café. Litvinov addressed himself in German to Hammerstein, who was seated at the table next to us, and exchanged greetings with him. The next day Engler introduced me to Hammerstein.
Question: How did this take place?
Answer: Engler came to my room and said: I want to examine you, and then and there informed me that Hammerstein had to meet with me.
My meeting with Hammerstein was organized by Engler under the guise of a joint walk
with Engler in the
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At the beginning of our talk Hammerstein declared: We are very grateful for all
the services you have rendered us. He declared that he was satisfied with the
information that the Germans had received from me. But, declared Hammerstein, it was all
trivial stuff! The position in the
Question: What kind of political assignments?
Answer: Hammerstein, knowing that I had already been elected secretary of the Central Committee of the ACP(b), declared: You have the possibility not just to inform us but also to influence the policy of Soviet power.
Further Hammerstein made known to me the very serious, in his words, relations that the
Germans had in the circles of the high command of the Red Army, and informed me of the
existence in the
Hammerstein told me that a number of high-ranking military workers were dissatisfied
with the situation in the
The Soviet governments present policies, continued Hammerstein, will inevitably
Since Hammerstein did not know Russian I asked him, with Engler serving as interpreter,
how serious the relations of leading circles in
Hammerstein answered: We have relations with different circles among your military. Their goal is the same but, evidently, their points of view are different, and they cannot reach any agreement amongst themselves even though we have categorically demanded it.
Question: What assignments did Hammerstein give you?
Answer: Hammerstein proposed that I contact these military circles, and with Egorov first of all. He declared that he knew Egorov very well as one of the most important and influential figures among that part of the military conspirators who understood that without the German army, without a solid agreement with Germany it would not be possible to change the political order in the USSR in the desired direction.
Hammerstein proposed to me that through Egorov I should be current with all the
conspiratorial matters and influence the conspiratorial groups that existed in the Red
Army in the direction of bringing them close to
At this Hammerstein departed after notifying me that he would have several more meetings with me.
Question: In whose name did Hammerstein speak with you?
Answer: In that of Reichswehr circles of
Question: Did your further meetings with Hammerstein take place?
Answer: Yes, I had three more meetings with Hammerstein. At the second meeting Hammerstein expressed interest in the details related to the mur-
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der of S.M. Kirov, and about how serious the influence of Trotskyites, Zinovievites and Rights in the ACP(b) was.
I gave him exhaustive information, and specifically noted the fact that there was at
that time a sense of despair among Chekists and that Iagodas position in connection
I smiled and answered that that does not depend upon me.
My third conversation with the German general concerned the conspiratorial work of the
military men in the
My fourth, and last, meeting with Hammerstein took place in the café.
Question: Give a detailed account of your last meeting with Hammerstein.
Answer: Once Kandelaki suggested that we go to a typical German café. I agreed. Into that café soon came Hammerstein, with whom Kandelaki exchanged greetings and then invited him to sit with us at our table.
Kandelaki talked about something in German with Hammerstein, and then said: It
seems that you are already acquainted with the general? After my affirmative answer
Hammerstein declared that he often met with Kandelaki in
Before he left, while saying his goodbyes, Hammerstein asked me to send a hearty greeting to Alexander Ilich (Egorov).
Question: What did you understand by best wishes that Hammerstein decided to pass on to you through Kandelaki?
Answer: I understood that Kandelaki, like I, was in contact with Hammerstein on espionage work and would serve in future as one of the channels of my contacts with German intelligence, all the more since a few days later after Hammerstein had departed Kandelaki too left for Berlin, and during his whole stay at the spa he had never received any treatment at all.
After Kandelakis departure Litvinov began to look in on me frequently and invite me for walks or to the café.
Once, while sitting in the café, Litvinov asked me: What impression did
Hammerstein make on you? I, somewhat embarrassed, answered: The impression of
an intelligent man. Yes, said Litvinov, Hammerstein is one of the
most intelligent and farsighted generals of the Reichswehr. The military circles of
I remember that the conversation with Litvinov took place in the presence of my wife
Litvinov danced the foxtrot and then carried on with me a rather strange conversation.
He declared: Here we are relaxing, going to restaurants, dancing, and if they knew
about this in the
When I doubted this Litvinov answered: Theres nothing strange in this, but you see, we have no culture, our political leaders have absolutely no culture of any kind.
Here you have made the acquaintance of general Hammerstein, continued
Litvinov, and what can come from this acquaintance except usefulness to the
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with foreign countries would be smoothed over. And here you are returning to
At this point the conversation with Litvinov ended. Soon I left Merano for
Question: Was this trip related to your espionage work?
Question: Did you confide in your wife about the espionage character of your meetings with Hammerstein?
Answer: No, I did not say anything to her at that time, I told her about the nature of my ties with Hammerstein later.
Question: You will tell us about that when you touch upon the espionage activities of your wife Evgenia Solomonovna Ezhova, but for now pass on to your practical work in carrying out Hammersteins assignments.
Answer: In the conversation with Hammerstein it was agreed that I would maintain
communications with him through Egorov and Kandelaki, during the latters trips to
Soon after my return to
On a non-workday he came to my dacha and the first conversation took place in which Egorov told me that he already knew about my meeting with Hammerstein, with whom he himself had long had ties.
Our conversation was interrupted by the unexpected appearance at my dacha of guests, in view of which Egorov and I arranged to continue the conversation we had begun in the next few days.
Question: Did this following meeting with Egorov take place?
Answer: Yes. After three or four days Egorov came to my place against and this time told me in detail about the existence in the RKKA of a group of conspirators consisting of important military men and headed by himself, Egorov.
Egorov further gave me the names of the participants of the conspiratorial group that he led: Budiennyi, Dybenko, Shaposhnikov, Kashirin, Fedko, the commander of the Transbaikal military district, and a number of other important commanders whose names I will remember and give in a supplement.
Further Egorov said that in the RKKA there exist two more groups competing with each other: the Trotskyist group of Gamarnik, Iakir and Uborevich, and the officer-Bonapartist group of Tukhachevsky.
Question: You will tell us later in detail about the nature and makeup of each group in particular. For now, please discuss in detail your further conversation with Egorov about Hammerstein.
Answer: In my conversation with Egorov I told him in detail about all my meetings and conversations with Hammerstein and notified him that I already knew from Hammerstein about the existence in the RKKA of several conspiratorial groups.
Then I communicated to Egorov that Hammerstein saw as one of our fundamental tasks to unify all the military conspiratorial groups into one powerful organization for a more successful realization of the plans for an anti-Soviet conspiracy. I said that I would do everything I could to carry out Hammersteins task.
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Egorov told me that he too was in contact with Hammerstein on espionage work, that he
maintained this contact through Koestring, the military attaché at the German embassy in
On the day we had agreed Egorov together with Koestring, who was dressed in civilian clothes, arrived at my dacha and parked not far away as for an emergency. As though I had by chance noticed Egorov by his automobile I invited him together with Koestring to look over my new dacha. Egorov and Koestring agreed, and we proceeded to the dacha.
After breakfast the following conversation took place between Koestring and myself. Koestring, having presented himself, declared: I have received the assignment of talking with you personally and establishing a full mutual understanding of our common tasks.
Question: Does Koestring speak Russian?
Answer: Yes, he speaks Russian fluently. Then Koestring informed me that my appointment as Peoples Commissar of Internal Affairs opened up the perspective of uniting all those dissatisfied with the existing political leadership and that, at the head of this movement, I would be able to create a considerable force.
Koestring said: We military men think like this: for us the decisive factor is
military strength. Therefore the first task which, as it seems to us, presents itself is
the unite the military forces in the interests of the common task. WE must strengthen in
every way our influence in the Red Army, so as to direct the Russian army at the decisive
moment in a manner corresponding to the interests of
Koestring especially emphasized the necessity of orientation towards the Egorov group.
He said that Alexander Ilich is the worthiest figure who is suitable to us,
and by its aims his group completely corresponds to the interests of
That is why afterwards, in my practical work in the NKVD I tried in every way to keep Egorovs group from failing, and Egorov and his group were only uncovered thanks to the involvement of the Central Committee of the ACP(b).
Question: Did your conversation with Egorov end with this?
Answer: No, Koestring touched on the NKVD. He said: In the general plan of the tasks we face, the Peoples Commissar for Internal Affairs must play a determining role. Therefore for the success of the coup d'état and our seizure of power you must create in the NKVD a broad organization of those who agree with you, and it must be united with the military men. Koestring declared that these organizations, in the army and in the NKVD, must be prepared in such a way as to guarantee united actions at the outbreak of war towards the goal of seizing power.
Question: And what was Egorov doing at this time?
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Answer: Egorov listened to Koestring and he and I together agreed with his proposals.
The conversation lasted one and one-half to two hours, after which Egorov took Koestring with him and went off.
Question: Did you realize your contact with German intelligence through Koestring alone?
Answer: No, I also realized my contact with German intelligence through Kandelaki.
Question: Tell us in detail about your meetings with Kandelaki.
Answer: In the spring of 1936 Kandelaki arrived in
Question: What concrete tasks did German intelligence put before you via Kandelaki?
Answer: Kandelaki oriented me in detail about the subversive work that he was leading as trade representative of the USSR in Berlin by means of concluding negotiations with the German government that were harmful for the USSR.
Question: We are not asking you about this. Do not sidestep the question, answer directly: did you establish espionage contact with German intelligence through Kandelaki?
Answer: Yes, Kandelaki was, as it were, the control contact of German
intelligence with me. He would ask me about the pace of fulfillment of the tasks presented
to me by Hammerstein, and upon his return to
Question: What did Kandelaki say to you concretely about his contacts with Goering?
Answer: At one of his meetings with me, at the end of 1936 or the beginning of 1937, Kandelaki informed me that he had made contact with Goering through Hammerstein.
Goering had directed Kandelaki upon his arrival in the Soviet Union to inform the
Soviet government that he, Kandelaki, had succeeded in pressuring the German government in
the sense of offering the
Kandelaki said further that Goering had informed Hammerstein about my collaboration
with German intelligence and asked me to work in concert with the conclusion of a credit
agreement between the
Question: Why was your help needed to conclude this agreement?
Answer: Because it corresponded entirely to the interests of
Question: What did you undertake to do in order to accomplish the Germans task?
Answer: I promised Kandelaki my support and in fact I did negotiate with Rozengolts about the desirability of concluding such an agreement. As a re-
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sult the Peoples Commissariat for Foreign Trade rendered a positive decision concerning this agreement.
Question: How did your espionage work proceed further?
Answer: In the summer of 1937, after the trial of Tukhachevsky, Egorov in the name of German intelligence set before me the question of the necessity to build all the espionage work in the army and the NKVD in such a way as to organize, under certain conditions, the seizure of power without waiting for a war, as we had agreed according to the preliminary plan.
Egorov said that the Germans explained this alteration by the fear lest the destruction which had begun of the anti-Soviet formations in the army reach us, i.e. me and Egorov.
According to Egorov the Germans proposed that we communicate to them our concrete ideas about this question as soon as possible.
We discussed this new situation with Egorov and arrived at the conclusion that the
Party and the popular masses were behind the leadership of the ACP(b) and that the soil
for this coup d'état had not been prepared. Therefore we decided that it was necessary to
get rid of Stalin or Molotov under the flag of some other kind of anti-Soviet organization
in order to create the conditions for my further advancement towards political power.
After that, once I occupied a more leading positioni, the possibility would be created for
further, more decisive, changes in the politics of the Party and the Soviet Union that
corresponded to the interests of
I asked Egorov to transmit to the Germans through Koestring our ideas and to request
the opinion of governmental circles in
Question: What answer did you receive?
Answer: Soon after that, according to the words of Koestring, Egorov informed me
that the government circles of
Question: What measures did you undertake to realize your traitorous designs?
Answer: I decided to organize a conspiracy within the NKVD and to attract to it people through whom I could carry out terrorist acts against the leaders of the Party and government.
Question: Can it be that it was only after your talk with Egorov that you decided to form a conspiratorial organization within the NKVD?
Answer: No. In reality the situation was as follows: long before this conversation with Egorov, at the time of my appointment as Peoples Commissar for Internal Affairs, I took a group of workers with me into the NKVD who were closely tied to me in counterrevolutionary work. In that way my confession that I began to organize a conspiracy should be understood only in the sense that in connection with my negotiations with Hammerstein and the establishment of contact with the military conspirators it was necessary in the NKVD to develop more broadly, to force, the patching together of the conspiratorial organizations in the NKVD itself.
Question: Give the names of those persons who were tied with you in counterrevolutionary work whom you took with you into the NKVD?
Answer: Litvin, Tsesarsky, Shapiro, Zhukovsky and Ryzhov.
Question: Who from among the old NKVD workers was drawn by you into the anti-Soviet conspiracy?
Answer: Once I was Peoples Commissar for Internal Affairs after a certain space of time I drew closer some from among the NKVD workers, and many former members of the conspiratorial organization in the NKVD, both Iagodists and North Caucasus men, were moved into responsible positions.
All these three groups were headed by me.
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Question: Name the participants of these conspiratorial groups in the NKVD.
Answer: 1. Members of the group which I personally formed were: Litvin, Tsesarsky, Shapiro, Zhukovsky and Ryzhov;
2. Among the members of the conspiratorial group of North Caucus men were: Frinovsky, Dagin, Evdokimov (although Evdokimov was not an NKVD worker, but I will give exhaustive confessions about him and his group of NKVD workers separately);
3. The third group of conspirators consisted of Belsky, Uspensky, Zhurbenko, Reikhman, Liushkov, Passova, Gendin, and Iartsev.
These persons were in the conspiratorial organization headed by Iagoda and Balitsky even before I drew them into anti-Soviet work.
I kept these cadre of conspirators and at different times drew them into anti-Soviet work in the NKVD that was carried out under my leadership.
I will give exhaustive confessions separately about all of these members of this group.
Question: Did you bring those whom you have mentioned above up to date?
Answer: Yes, I made known to each of these persons to one degree or another the organization of the conspiracy, the goals and tasks that we were pursuing. In sum, all of them knew about the existence of the conspiracy and carried out the orders given to them in the course of anti-Soviet conspiratorial work. Each of them was given by me the task of broadening our organization by means of attracting people who were capable of carrying out without question all our directives concerning anti-Soviet work.
As for Evdokimov and Frinovsky, they were fully brought up to date by me about the
conspiracy, knew absolutely everything, including about my contacts with the group of
military conspirators in the RKKA and with military circles of
Question: The investigation is letting you know in advance that you will be specially interrogated about the conditions of the recruitment of each of the participants of the conspiracy whom you have named. But now confess how your contact with German intelligence was carried out after this?
Answer: Contact with German intelligence I continued to carry out through Koestring.
Question: Where did your conspiratorial meetings with Koestring take place?
Answer: In the conspiratorial apartment of the NKVD on Gogolevsk boulevard (Balitskys former villa).
Question: How many conspiratorial meetings did you have with Koestring and how were they organized?
Answer: I had two conspiratorial meetings with Koestring at this apartment. As previously arranged between us Koestring appeared at this apartment under the name Ivanov. The persons who took care of the apartment were informed well in advance by me to let Ivanov through unhindered.
Question: And did the personnel who took care of the apartment know who Ivanov was?
Answer: No, no one knew about my meetings with Koestring.
Question: Tell us Koestrings external characteristics.
Answer: Koestring is taller than average height, of normal build, with a typical German face, an even nose, prominent chin, shaves his beard, has a moustache.
Question: Summarize the contents of your talks with Koestring.
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Answer: The fact is that not long before my second meeting with Koestring there appeared the accusation against Egorov to the Central Committee exposing Egorov in anti-Soviet conversations.
As a result of a verification that was carried out specially about this accusation Egorov was freed from the post he occupied and transferred to work in the Transcaucasus military district.
Egorov took his removal from the office of first assistant to the Commissar of Defense very hard and regarded this fact as the beginning of his exposure.
In a conversation with Koestring I informed him about the removal of Egorov from the post he occupied, to which Koestring urged me to preserve Egorov from exposure at any cost.
I also informed Koestring that I had formed a conspiratorial organization in the NKVD
Question: About what did you negotiate?
Answer: Koestring proposed to me that, in the event of emergency, to contact him through Fedko, who had also been drawn into espionage work and to whom Koestring had official access since he was the Vice-commissar for Defense.
Question: Why was it necessary for you to maintain contact with Koestring through yet another intermediate link, if you were in contact with him directly? There is something missing in your account.
The investigation demands that you stop trying to avoid answering and give a truthful confession.
Answer: This proposal did not come from me but from Koestring, and here is why. According to my agreement with Koestring I maintained permanent contact with him through Egorov, and only in extraordinary cases could a direct meeting with me be arranged.
This arrangement of contact was dictated by the needs of conspiracy.
After Egorov left for work in the Transcaucasus Koestring wanted for contact with me instead of Egorov to use Fedko, who because of the position he occupied was able to meet with Koestring without fear. But since I had never even met Fedko, even though I agreed in principle to have an intermediary person for contact with the Germans, I still rejected Fedkos candidacy.
Question: Whom did you decide on?
Answer: I personally did not propose anyone and asked for a chance to think over the question before our next meeting and come up with an appropriate person.
Question: Whom did you name?
Answer: I personally did not name anyone. At my next meeting with Koestring which took place approximately in July 1938 Koestring gave me the names of several persons through whom he considered it possible to maintain contact with me.
As contact persons Koestring proposed: Zakhar Belenky, Zhukovsky (my former assistant) and Khoziainov, the assistant to the chief of the Naval Directorate of the Peoples Commissariat for Water Transportation.
Question: Which of these did you use for contact with Koestring?
Answer: I decided upon Khoziainov.
Answer: Because I knew Belenky as a talkative, unorganized person, and Zhukovsky was famous for his former ties
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to Trotskyists. I preferred Khoziainov to them because I had the ability to meet with him at any time in the Peoples Commissariat of Water Transportation under the cover of work relations.
Question: Is this how your conversation with Koestring ended?
Answer: No, I informed Koestring about further arrests among military workers and declared to him that I did not have the power to prevent these arrests, and in particular I reported about the arrest of Egorov, which had the possibility of causing the ruin of the whole conspiracy.
Koestring was extremely upset by all these events. He sharply put to me the question that either we immediately take some kind of measures to seize power, or we will be destroyed one at a time.
Koestring again returned to our old plan of a so-called short blow and demanded that it be executed immediately.
Question: You will be interrogated about your villanous plans, but for now continue you confessions about your further espionage contacts with Khoziainov. Did you establish contact with Khoziainov?
Answer: Yes, I established contact with Khoziainov. During one of the frequent
working meetings with him, in my work office in the Peoples Commissariat for Water
Transport, I asked Khoziainov whether he had been abroad. He replied in the affirmative
and declared that in his capacity at the Peoples Commissariat for Foreign Trade he
worked in the
A few days later when he was in my office for a report Khoziainv asked about the reasons for my interest in his work abroad. It was during this conversation that Khoziainov informed me that he had instructions from the Germans to get into contact with me. I agreed.
Question: Did Khoziainov name Koestring to you?
Answer: No, as far as I remember Koestring, when he listed the names of Belenky, Zhukovsky, and Khoziainov, these last were in contact with German intelligence through another worker at the embassy but not through Koestring, who carried out intelligence work only along military lines, while the persons named were utilized along the lines of general espionage.
Question: Did you have any more meetings with Koestring?
Answer: I did not meet personally with Koestring any more. After that contact between us took place through Khoziainov.
Question: Did Khoziainov know about the terrorist acts which you were preparing against the leadership of the Party and government?
Answer: Yes, he knew. Khoziainov had been made aware of that not only by me but by German intelligence, since during the first meeting after we had established contact between us Khoziainov transmitted to me a directive of the Germans: to speed up at all costs the carrying out of terrorist acts.
Besides that Khoziainov transmitted to me the directives of German intelligence that in connection with my dismissal from work in the NKVD and the naming of Beria as Peoples Commissar for Internal Affairs German intelligence considered it essential to assassinate someone among the Politburo members and by this means to provoke a new leadership in the NKVD.
In this same period in the NKVD itself there began arrests of the active members of the conspiracy which I headed, and then we concluded that it was essential to organize a mass action on November 7, 1938.
Question: Who is we?
Answer: I, Ezhov, Frinovsky, Dagin, and Evdokimov.
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Question: What was your mass action of November 7, 1938 supposed to consist in?
Answer: In a putsch.
Question: Please be precise. What kind of putsch?
Answer: The hopelessness of the situation had brought me to despair and pushed me to any adventure that might prevent the full collapse of our conspiracy and my exposure.
Frinovsky, Evdokimov, Dagin and I agreed that on November 7, 1938 at the end of the
parade, during the demonstration, when the military forces were going away, we would
create a cork in
Question: How did you apportion the roles amongst yourselves?
Answer: The organization and direction of the putsch was undertaken by me, Ezhov, Frinovsky, and Evdokimov. As for the terrorist acts, their practical execution was given to Dagin. Here I must add in advance that I reached agreements with each of them separately.
Question: Who was supposed to do the shooting?
Answer: Dagin told me that for these purposes he had trained Popashenko, Zarifov
and Ushaev, secretary to Evdokimov, a former Chekist of the
According to my agreement with Dagin, on the eve of November 7 he was supposed to inform me about the concrete plan and those who would directly carry out the terrorist acts. However on the 5th of November Dagin and the other conspirators from the Okhrana division, including Popashenko and Zarifov, were arrested. All our plans collapsed. Here I consider it essential to mention that when on November 5 L. Beria presented the question of arresting the conspirators from the Okhrana division of the NKVD to the CC of the ACP(b), including Dagin, Popashenko, and Zarifov, I tried in every possible way to defend these men and delay their arrest, giving as my reasons that, supposedly, Dagin and the other conspirators from the Okhrana division were needed to guarantee order during the days of the October celebrations. Paying no heed to that the CC of the ACP(b) proposed the arrest of the conspirators. Thus all our plans collapsed.
Question: Remember that the investigation will demand that you give up all conspirators and terrorists. You will not succeed in hiding even one of these traitors.
Answer now, what measures did you undertake to carry out terrorist acts after the failure of your perfidious plans?
Answer: In the last days of November 1938 I was dismissed from work in the NKVD. Then I finally understood that the Party did not trust me and the moment of my exposure was approaching. I started to seek a way out of the situation I had created and decided not to stop at anything in order to either carry out the assignment of German intelligence, to kill one of the members of the Politburo, or to flee abroad myself and save my skin.
Question: How did you plan to accomplish these plans of yours?
Answer: Now I decided to personally train a person who would be capable of carrying out a terrorist act.
Question: Whom did you recruit for these purposes?
Answer: Lazebny, a former Chekist, chief of the port directorate of the Peoples Commissariat for Water Transport.
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I knew that in the NKVD there were confessions against Lazebny about his participation in anti-Soviet work, and decided to use this circumstance to recruit Lazebny.
In one of the meetings in my work office in the Peoples Commissariat for Water Transport I informed Lazebny that there were materials in the NKVD that compromised him, and that either today or tomorrow he would be arrested and that ruin threatened him.
I told Lazebny: There is no way out for you, you are going to be destroyed in any case, but by sacrificing yourself you might save a large group of people. When Lazebny questioned me about this I informed him that the murder of Stalin would save the situation in the country. Lazebny agreed.
Question: What basis did you have to hold such a frank conversation with Lazebny?
Answer: In general Lazebny had gone around recently like someone half-drowned, was in a state of hopelessness and more than once expressed the desire to kill himself. Therefore he accepted my proposal without hesitation. Lazebny even agreed that after carrying out the terrorist act he would commit suicide at the site of the crime.
Question: Who else besides Lazebny did you recruit as a terrorist?
Answer: Besides Lazebny I prepared as terrorists my old friends Konstantinov
Question: Why did you fix your choice as terrorists precisely upon Dementev and Konstantinov?
Answer: In addition to my long personal friendship with Konstantinov and Dementev, I was tied to them by physical propinquity. As I have already communicated in my declaration in the name of the investigation, I was tied to Konstantinov and Dementev by depraved relations, i.e. homosexuality.
Question: You will be interrogated separately concerning the circumstances of recruitment of Konstantinov and Dementev and the specific tasks you gave them. Now tell by what means you planned to accomplish your flight abroad?
Answer: With the goal of avoiding my inexorable arrest I instructed Khoziainov
to put the question to the Germans of organizing my flight abroad. After a few days
Khoziainov informed me that the Germans did not agree to transfer me to
Question: What then, did you agree with the instructions of German intelligence?
Answer: No, I did not agree, and determined to go abroad at any cost I considered turning to the British for help.
Question: What have the British to do with this? Were you connected with British intelligence?
Answer: It was not I who was connected with British intelligence but my wife, Evgenia Solomonovna Ezhova.
Question: How did you know this?
Answer: In the Spring of 1938 I was asked in the CC of the ACP(b) about the nature of my relations with Konar. From this fact I concluded that they were checking up on me, and I began to get nervous and because of this, to get drunk. My wife Evgenia Solomonovna Ezhova asked me many times why I was getting drunk. I was certain about her devotion to me and determined at last to open up to her and tell her about my anti-Soviet work and connections with Polish and German intelligence.
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Evgenia Solomonovna Ezhova soothed me and informed me that she too was connected with
the British intelligence services, that she had been drawn into espionage work for the
English by her former husband Gladun already in 1926, when they were in
Question: Where is Gladun at the present time?
Answer: As far as I recall in 1937 Gladun was the chief of construction for one of the factories in Kharkov.
Question: That means Gladun is also an English spy?
Answer: Yes, Gladun, according to the words of Evgenia Ezhova, is an old English spy and, as I confessed above, drew her into espionage work in the service of English intelligence.
Question: What did Ezhova tell you about her ties with British intelligence?
Answer: Ezhova told me that she was tied with the intelligence service of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of England and gave information about the situation in the
Question: You are lying. You were aware of your wifes, E.S. Ezhovas, connections with English intelligence long before 1938, and you not only knew about this but actively collaborated with your wife in the service of the English. For this reason you must answer before the investigation.
State frankly with whom else was Ezhova connected in her espionage work in the
Answer: With Zinaida Glikina and Mikhail Koltsov.
Question: The investigation will return to the question of the nature of the espionage connections of Ezhova, Glikina, and Koltsov, but now confess how you wished to have recourse to the aid of English intelligence to organize your flight abroad?
Answer: Since my wife died in December 1938, and the Germans refused to convey
Question: What measures did you undertake to establish ties with the English?
Answer: From the materials of the NKVD I knew that the chief of the Baltic
steamships in Leningrad Melnikov was tied in espionage work with a British agent,
the former chief of the
I informed Evdokimov about these materials and proposed that he recruit Melnikov into our conspiratorial organization.
Soon Evdokimov informed me that he had been able to recruit Melnikov and the latter agreed to participate in the anti-Soviet conspiracy.
In about the end of January or the beginning of February of this year Melnikov
turned to me with a declaration about permitting him to go to
I decided to make use of this pretext and tell Melnikov about the materials I was aware of about his espionage work with the English spy Bronshtein.
Further, I decided to say to him that I knew from Evdokimov about Melnikovs participation in an anti-Soviet conspiracy, and to give him the task upon his trip to England to contact English governmental circles and ask in my name for help in getting me to England, reminding them that my wife E.S. Ezhova had been a collaborator with English intelligence.
Question: Did you have such a conversation with Melnikov?
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Answer: No, that conversation did not take place, since at about that time the
Party conferences began. I postponed Melnikovs work trip to
After the congress I was arrested.
Question: Your confessions about Melnikov are unconvincing. You are attempting, completely in vain, to hide your real connections with English intelligence.
Answer: I have no intention whatsoever to hide anything from the investigation. I ask that you give me the possibility to remember everything that I know about this question, and at one of the next interrogations I will give truthful confessions about them.
Question: The investigation is aware that the poisoning of your wife E.S. Ezhova, as a result of which her death followed, was an affair of your hands.
Do you confess yourself guilty of this?
Answer: Yes, I do confess.
Question: For what purpose did you poison your wife?
Answer: I feared her arrest and that in the investigation she would give up everything that she knew about my conspiratorial and espionage work.
Question: How did you accomplish this poisoning?
Answer: After it had been suggested to me to divorce E.S. Ezhova and I informed her of this she became depressed and often stated her intention to commit suicide. I arranged for her to be admitted to a psychiatric sanatorium and attached to her, on her request, Zinaida Glikina and a doctor of the VIEM [All-Union Institute of Experimental Medicine GF] Ekaterina Golts.
Soon Zinaida Ordzhonikidze, having visited my wife, brought me a note in which Ezhova informed me that she had firmly decided to take all steps necessary to end her own life and asked me to bring her some sleep-inducing medicine.
Question: Did you fulfill Ezhovas request?
Answer: Through Dementev, whom I mentioned in this present transcript, I sent her fruit, a statuette of a gnome, and a large quantity of luminal, which Dementev personally gave to E.S. Ezhova in turn, after he had received from her a note for me.
Question: What answer did Dementev bring you from Ezhova?
Answer: Dementev brought me a note from Ezhova in which she said goodbye to me.
Besides that; I received a second letter through Zinaida Ordzhonikidze in which E.S. Ezhova again said goodbye to me.
When I received this letter Ezhova was already dead, having poisoned herself with the great quantity of luminal that I had sent her.
Question: Consequently, you are a primary culprit in the death of E.S. Ezhova?
Answer: Yes, I confess that I am guilty of this.
Question: The investigation affirms that you continue your hostile position and conduct yourself insincerely. That is expressed in that you
1. Remain silent about your ties with Polish intelligence after 1937;
2. Do not tell everything concerning the question of your espionage work for
3. As persons who took part in your conspiratorial and espionage work you name either the dead or official collaborators of foreign embassies;
4. You hide the persons who together with you led the treasonous work of organizing a
counterrevolutionary coup in the
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Consider that you will be questioned again about all these questions tomorrow and you will have to give exhaustive confessions. This interrogation has ceased. Written down from my works accurately, read through by me.
Chief of the investigative division Kobulov
Aide to the chief of the investigative division Shvartsman
Senior investigator Sergienko
AP RF F. 3 Op. 24. D. 375. L. 122-164. Original. Typewritten.