The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov: 1933-1949 by Ivo Bana (ed) - review by Donald Rayfield

Donald Rayfield

A Communist’s Progress

The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov: 1933-1949

By

Yale University Press 495pp £27.50 order from our bookshop
 

GEORGI DIMITROV SPRANG from obscurity to worldwide fame in spring 1933, when the Nazis burnt the Reichstag. an institution of the Weimar Republic that stood in the way of their total control over the state. The German authorities arrested the stooge Marinus van der Lubbe, who had, probably at Goering's instigation, actually set fire to the building, and for good measure three Bulgarian Communists as well, Georgi Dimitrov and his Trotskyist comrades. Vasil Tanev ind Blagoi Popov.T he three men had felt safer in Hitler's Germany than in Bulgaria, where they would have I been arrested and murdered. Ironically, Dimitrov, accused of I masterminding the Reichstag fire, was already under sentence I of death for an atrocity that he had not committed: blowing UD I the cathedral in Sofia and, with it, a substantial number of Bulgaria's political elite.

1n Leipzig and Berlin, through the autumn of 1933, Dimitrov defended himself with such vigour that he won the admiration of the world. He forced (or rather induced) Goebbels and Goering to make cynical and self-incriminating statements hm the witness box, so that Dimitrov seemed the accuser, not the defendant, and

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