Texter och bilder, Dennis

söndag 30 juni 2019

Jan Valtin: Out Of The Night/Ur nattens djup

This is the start of a planned project to publish the entire text of the original 1940 version of ”Out Of The Night”. So far the first seventeen chapters have been posted. However, the first twelve chapters are for the moment removed for maintenance.

By Jan Valtin
New York, 1940


I.               ”LUMPENHUND”
II.             SAILOR´S WAY
III.           I STRIKE OUT
V.              ”DID YOU EVER KILL A MAN?”

XV.          FIRELEI



WHO´S WHO (Not included in original 1940 edition. Added to 1941 edition.)
Generally on this blog, text in bigger font size was published in the longer 1940 edition only. ”Out Of The Night” exists in: 1) the longer original 1940 version, 2) the abridged 1941 version, on which also all translations are based and 3) in even more abridged/censored versions, like the UK 1941 version, the Swedish 1942 version ("Ur nattens djup") and the German 1957 version ("Tagebuch der Hölle").
Here the bigger font size text is generally in both English and Swedish; the Swedish translations © Dennis Renfors.
--> Jan Valtin´s real name was Richard Krebs, 1905-1951. Sometimes his book has been marketed as a novel, and sometimes (like the 1941 edition) as an autobiography. To this day his book is highly controversial. ”Out Of the Night” contains an incredible amount of accurate information. Names, dates, tasks. Also it is a both deeply shocking and at times highly amusing book. I, Dennis Renfors, get more fascinated and horrified for each reading. According to several of Valtin´s/Krebs´s biographers/critics, some claims in the book are exaggerated, or fantasies. Still remains, his pageturner of a book reflects the brutal time of politics inside and outside the Weimar Republic, a political climate also recently reflected in the great TV epic ”Babylon Berlin”.     
The life of best-seller writer Valtin/Krebs has been described by among others Ernst von Waldenfels with his book "Der Spion, der aus Deutschland kam", Karin Ney, Michael Rohrwasser, Dieter Nelles, Erik Nørgaard and Lars Borgersrud. 
The publishing on this web page of "Out Of the Night" has been approved by the Valtin/Krebs family.
Comments can be posted to: dennisskargard@yahoo.se



Chapter Thirteen
A THOUSAND DAYS I LIVED behind the gray walls of San Quentin, wearing the gray felon’s garb, rubbing shoulders with thousands of fellow convicts under the eyes and the clubs and the guns of the guards. I entered the prison in a mutinous mood, breathing and talking rebellion, and thinking of ways of escape. A man in prison is supposed to rot. Prisons are built to break men, and when a man is broken, society has consummated its revenge. But I was determined not to be broken. I recognized quickly how impotent even the toughest criminal was against the massive authority of the prison administration. As time went by I discarded all plans of escape, crushed the inner urge to play the futile role of a mutineer, and settled down in earnest to defeat the purpose of imprisonment by making myself stronger and more capable to fill my place in the revolutionary struggles of the future. Through the first year I toiled in the roar and clatter of the prison jute mill. In the second year I advanced to the job of a prison li­brarian. And the third year saw me as a teacher of languages and mathematics in San Quentin’s educational department. They were not peaceful years; prison life is not monotonous, but brimful of struggle and strife, victory and defeat in manifold forms.
   Neither were they empty years, despite the utter absence of privacy and women. I was too occupied to suffer under such mild hardship. Far more important to me than yearning for pleasures beyond my reach was the forward plunge into a new world of zestful discoveries and intensive self-education. San Quentin gave me far more than it could take away. It had developed in me a passionate reverence for the universe of letters. I read and studied almost everything I could lay my hands on, from Lord Jim and Jean Christophe to Darwin’s Origin of Species and Bowditch’s Epitome of Navigation. I mastered English, learned French and Spanish, studied Astronomy, Journalism and Map-Making,—courses made available to the inmates of San Quentin by the University of California. I became a contributor to the prison maga­zine, the Bulletin, and in its printing plant became proficient in the craft of typesetting. Throughout this period I remained the loyal legionnaire of the Comintern. I had established a secret prison library of revolutionary literature, and had organized Marxist schooling circles and an atheist league among the convicts. Despite the prison censorship, I had maintained contact with the Comin­tern network outside. So immersed was I in my self-imposed task that I at first regarded my parole and subsequent release as an un­welcome disturbance of an engrossing life. However, the Comin­tern expected my return to Berlin. I left San Quentin in the first days of December, 1929.
   "Luck to you," grinned the guard at the front gate.
   Three days later I boarded a steamer bound for Europe. Le Havre was the first port of call. During the routine customs and police examination of passengers and crew a French official with wine-happy eyes singled me out for special attention. I had no French visa; neither had I any baggage or money.
   "Monsieur," he said, "you cannot travel in France. We must detain you."
   He escorted me to the Immigrant Home near the waterfront. There I was led to a room which contained a bed, a table, a washstand and a chair.
   Departing; the officer said, "In the morning the authorities will decide what to do with you."
   I did not wait for morning. My room had a tiny window, and twelve feet beneath the window ledge was the sidewalk of a quiet street. Throughout the night a middle-aged sentry patrolled around the building, passing every two or three minutes under my window. The night was raw and squally. I watched until the sentry had rounded a corner; then I wriggled out, feet first until I hung from the ledge. I let go, and dropped to the pavement. The wind whistled between the houses. At the end of the street, lights shone on a wharf. I ran. I was free!
   I tramped the streets of Le Havre all night, intoxicated with deep draughts of freedom. A man lives his life only when he is marching, I thought, when he keeps marching onward at any price. When he stops marching, he decays. The joy of life is the joy of the experi­ence that comes from feeling one’s own strength. In the thousand days spent in San Quentin I had never stopped marching. That is why I strode the streets of Le Havre, through driving rain and darkness, with eager delight, drinking the raw December air like a honeymoon wine. I climbed high to the top of the steep promon­tory, where the lighthouse looms, for no other purpose than to shout my gladness and my challenge into the wind-filled night.
   I came to my senses toward dawn. My shabby suit had wilted like burlap in the rain. The wind had carried away my cap, and my shoes were oozing water and mud. For two hours I wandered about in search of the offices of the Communist Party of Le Havre, but in vain. I did not ask for directions. People might become sus­picious at the sight of a disheveled foreigner inquiring for the communist headquarters.
   I made my way to the harbor. Beyond a breakfast and a chance to dry my clothes there were three things I wanted most. I wanted to hear the word "Comrade." I wanted a woman. I wanted to feast my eyes and brain on something that was imper­sonal and beautiful at once. The first ship I boarded in my quest for breakfast was a British weekly boat from Cardiff. A Cockney officer, belching vituperation with enormous lung power, drove me off. It was good to hear the old Limey salt-water curses. Next I boarded a Norwegian Far Eastern freighter. The Norseman was as clean as the English ship was dirty, and the Norwegian sailors met me with the traditional hospitality of their country. They gave me a powerful breakfast of coffee, oatmeal, French bread, salt fish and chewing tobacco, and while I ate they unstintingly praised the temperament of the Le Havre wenches and the natural beauties of Norway. I stripped and hung my clothes over a radiator to dry.
   At noon, while the crew was in the mess room for lunch, a young Scandinavian from ashore entered, and started out on a political harangue. He then pulled wads of leaflets from under his belt and distributed them to the sailors, who addressed the new­comer as Comrade Söder. The headline on the leaflets ran: "Who are the enemies of the seamen?" The emblem they displayed—a globe crossed by an anchor and a flag—was the insignia of the Maritime Section of the Comintern. Söder was a member of the Havre "activist" brigades. I almost hugged him for joy, and told him who I was.
   "Welcome, comrade," he said.
   "Comrade" was still a magic word to me. Toward evening we walked ashore together.
Söder warned me:
Söder varnade mig.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   "Be careful about what you say when you meet the comrades higher up. You’ve been away a long time."
   "Why careful?"
   "Well, just be careful. There’ve been big clean-ups in the Comintern. The Comintern has changed its face. It has been unified. It is now going like a torpedo. One direction only. No more vagaries. No internal discussions. No compromises."
   I was to learn much more about this change of face during the coming weeks.
The revolutionary wave which had swept over the world in the years following the Great War had spent itself in 1927, with the catastrophic defeat of the Comintern in China.
SW: Den revolutionära våg som hade svept över världen åren efter första världskriget dog ut 1927 med Kominterns katastrofala nederlag i Kina.
    Zinoviev and Trotsky had been purged. Bukharin was pushed away from the helm of the Comintern. Stalin now dominated Russia and, therefore, the Comintern as well. He had launched the gigantic industrialization program of the Five­Year-Plan, and those who opposed him were trampled into the gutter. Inevitably the factional strife in Moscow infected the entire world-wide body of the Comintern.
SW: Fraktionsstriderna i Moskva smittade oundvikligen av sig på hela Kominterns världsomspännande organisation.
   Purges in Moscow were followed by purges in the Comin­tern, whose organizations changed their role of assault troops of the world revolution for the role of defense guards of the Soviet Union. And the most militant formations of the Comintern fell into line with fervor; the Five-Year-Plan would make the Soviet Union the strongest industrial and military power on earth. That was de­cisive. The immense strength of the new Soviet Union would guar­antee the victory of the great revolutionary offensive of the future.
   The panic and economic crisis which broke out in 1929 were hailed as signs that from truck to keel the ship of capitalism was cracking apart. From Moscow sounded the cry: Capitalism is down on the sick bed! Let us not permit it to recover! Let us prepare to administer it the coup de grâce!
   The whole Comintern was lashed to feverish action. The chief motive was perhaps fear, the fear of Stalin that imperialist powers would try to solve their troubles at home by an attack upon the Soviet Union. The task allotted to the Communist Parties was to prevent such an attack by aggravating the convulsions and internal difficulties of nations, by paralyzing them through strikes, civil strife and disruption of national morale. All hesitant elements inside the Comintern, all advocates of co-operation with left-wing organizations not under Stalin´s control were summarily expelled and denounced as enemies of Russia and traitors to the revolution. In France and Germany, in Belgium and Italy, in the United States and Mexico, in Czechoslovakia, Austria, China, Sweden and Spain, old leaders of the Party were hounded to obscurity at Stalin´s command, and men of unflinching obedience to the Kremlin were thrust into the stations of the purged.
Paniken och den ekonomiska krisen som bröt ut 1929 hälsades som tecken på att kapitalismens skepp höll på att falla sönder från masttopp till köl. Från Moskva ljöd ropet: Kapitalismen ligger på sjukbädden! Låt oss inte tillåta den att återhämta sig! Låt oss förbereda oss för utdela nådastöten!    
   Hela Komintern hetsades till febril aktivitet. Huvudmotivet var kanske rädsla, Stalins rädsla att imperialistiska makter skulle försöka lösa sina inrikes problem genom en attack mot Sovjetunionen. Uppgiften som lades på kommunistpartierna var att förhindra en sådan attack genom att förvärra nationernas konvulsioner och inre svårigheter, genom att förlama dem genom strejker, medborgerliga stridigheter och upplösandet av den nationella moralen. Alla tveksamma element inom Komintern, alla förespråkare för samarbete med vänsterorganisationer som inte var under Stalins kontroll uteslöts utan vidare och fördömdes som Rysslands fiender och förrädare mot revolutionen. I Frankrike och Tyskland, i Belgien och Italien, i Förenta staterna och Mexiko, i Tjeckoslowakien, Österrike, Kina, Sverige och Spanien, hetsades gamla partiledare på Stalins order ut i glömskan och män med osviklig lydnad mot Kreml kastades in på de utrensades poster.
   No army could boast of a more rigid organization or of a more uncompromising discipline than the Comintern under Stalin. In the consciousness of every communist the word Parteibefehl—Party Order—towered paramount and inexorable. Any display of inde­pendence and originality of spirit was regarded as caprice and manifestation of a bourgeois heritage. Courage, devotion, tenacity were demanded, and, above all, a blind trust in the idealism and the infallibility of the Politbureau in Moscow. With this policy, the backbone of the Comintern—the strata of "activists" between the top-flight leaders and the rank and file—was well content. An army whose generals were pulling in different directions was doomed to defeat.
   Söder was right. The Comintern must be like a torpedo, propelled and directed by a single force. After all, we had already been largely trained to regard Comintern Service as Soviet Service. The final aim of world revolution had not been abandoned. If we saw to it that Russia was made strong, the revolution would certainly win in the end.
Söder hade rätt. Komintern måste vara som en torped, framdriven och styrd av en enda kraft. När allt kom omkring hade vi redan till stor del utbildats till att betrakta Kominterntjänstgöring som Sovjettjänstgöring. Det slutliga målet med världsrevolution hade inte övergivits. Om vi ​​såg till att Ryssland stärktes skulle revolutionen med säkerhet vinna till slut.
   Söder led me to the resident liaison agent of the Comintern and G.P.U. in Le Havre. Such agents are stationed in all important harbor and inland cities. Their official duty was to provide con­tacts and safe conduct for international functionaries assigned to, or passing through, their districts. They provided cover addresses for all conspirative mail and literature consignments. They received and distributed the Comintern subsidies for the local organizations. Aside from this, they had the function of keeping a close check on the "activities" and the private lives of Party members in the area under their supervision. All official reports of the Party leaders were tested for accuracy in Berlin and Moscow by comparing them with the concurrent secret reports of the liaison agent on the spot. Invariably these agents were natives of the country in which they worked; invariably they were on the payroll of the G.P.U.
   They created their own Apparat, using only the most reliable and fanatic elements in the Party. These then formed the Party police and the espionage staffs of the Foreign Division of the G.P.U.
De skapade sin egen Apparat med enbart partiets pålitligaste och mest fanatiska element. Dessa utgjorde sedan partipolisen och spionagepersonalen i GPU:s utrikesavdelning.
   The man at the head of the Apparat in Le Havre was a French schoolteacher named Cance, a dark, hard-boiled little man with a clipped mustache, who thoroughly enjoyed his job. He was a cap­tain-of-the-reserve in the army of the French Republic. He was still at his secret post as late as 1937, at the time of the abduction in Paris of the White Russian leader, General de Miller, all traces of whom were lost at Le Havre, where a Soviet steamer left on the morning after the abduction. Second in command of the Le Havre Apparat was his wife, a beautiful, gray-eyed, flaxen-haired young woman. They lived in a spacious, well-proportioned house of their own (58, Rue Montmirail), atop a hill overlooking the town, the mouth of the Seine, and the wide sweep of the harbor with its cleverly camouflaged shore batteries and fortifications.
   M. Cance was a perfect host, and a marvel of efficiency. He jotted down the information I gave him about myself, put it instantly into code, and dispatched his young son to telegraph it to Berlin for verification. A few minutes later a succulent meal was on the table, together with wines and assorted liqueurs. Madame Cance was bewitching. Her cherry-red lips talked in a language that sounded like music. Before she married, she had been a dancer. Later in the evening she donned a flowing garment of raw silk, held together by a golden chain around her waist, and she danced while Cance played the fiddle. A pantomime which they called the "Death March of the Paris Commune" followed. It opened with a wild rhythm of advancing Communards and ended in a frantic "Vive la Commune!” and a piteous whimper before the exploding rifles of the firing-squad. Soon I was reeling through a voluptuous fog, not knowing whether it was due to the uncanny performance of Madame Cance, or the quantity of liquor I had poured down my throat. A score of times I saw the sanguine face of Cance bob through the mist and I heard his soldier voice yell:
   "Buvez, mon ami, et vivez joyeux!"
   I had been a hard drinker in my earlier years at sea, but I was no match for Comrade Cance. He kept my glass filled and urged me to drink and to keep on drinking. He exhorted me to recount "the best adventures" of my youth. He did it to sound me out to rock-bottom.
   "Certainement," Madame Cance laughed.
   "It is to your own advantage, camarade," her husband added.
   I talked like a waterfall, as men will talk when the pressure of prison has been lifted from their brains. It was Cance’s business to probe and to spy. I did not mind. I had nothing to fear. Their guest room, which was mine for the night, had sheltered, I was told, distinguished visitors: Romain Rolland, Bela Kun, Kuusinen, Albert Walter, Andre Marty, Tom Mann and a host of other Comintern agents, like the Finn Sirola, alias Miller, the Red Army General Gussev, alias P. Green, the Briton Harry Pollitt, who had stopped off here on their way from Moscow to New York. About each of them Comrade Cance had an amusing story to tell. Bela Kun had insisted that his interpreter must be a vivacious brunette, and willing to go to bed with him. Kuusinen had had a tom-cat’s aversion to cold water. General Gussev had brought his own vodka, and had demanded two girls at once. Harry Pollitt had blushed like a clergyman from Kensington. Albert Walter had been a perfect gentleman, but he detested women. Romain Rolland had droopingly regretted that he had taken his secretary along to Le Havre. And so on. With devilish versatility Comrade Cance impersonated them all. Madame Cance sipped liqueurs, and regarded her husband with steady eyes and a half-mocking smile. And then he unexpectedly produced the pictures of three girls. One by one he handed them to me, speaking the while as if explain­ing the layout of his garden to a friend:
   "Voici, Suzanne—bitter-sweet and demure. Voilà la petite Babette, of large experience, but exquisite. Et c’est Marcelle—who is a real filly. They are the brides of the Comintern au Havre. Choose. Which one shall it be?"
   I was too surprised to answer at once. Madame Cance leaned forward, and said earnestly: "Allez, camarade, pourquoi pas? To each according to his needs." Cance gave a barking laugh.
   "We are no ascetics," he announced. "The Bolsheviki and the Parisians—there are no truer hedonists in our century."
   "A comrade who comes from prison deserves the best," chimed in Madame Cance.
   Cance telephoned. Marcelle was away; she had gone to visit her mother in Rouen. Suzanne was at home. Cance grinned into the telephone. A comrade de l’Amérique? Just returned from prison? Young? Of course, she would come!
   Madame Cance retired. My host experimented with the radio. Dreamy waltz music streamed into the room.
   "We shall retain the best of bourgeois culture after we have destroyed the bourgeoisie," he observed. "You long for beauty! Don’t miss the Louvre when you pass through Paris."
   "The girl—is she a prostitute?" I asked.
   "Mais non," he replied quickly, "elle est une activiste!
   A message from Berlin, relayed over Basle to make it appear that it originated there, arrived in the middle of the night. It con­firmed my identity. I was awakened by singing at seven in the morning. In the vestibule of the house, Comrade Cance snapped commands as he, his wife and son were doing their morning gym­nastics. After breakfast of café-au-lait and dry French bread, my host supplied me with a hundred francs and an address in Paris, and drove me to the station. Suzanne was with us. She accompanied me to the train until a few seconds before its departure. Police agents looking for a supposedly homeless fugitive would never suspect him in a man escorted to a train by a chattering young lady.
Soon I was speeding toward Rouen, and on, along the winding valley of the Seine, plunging through tunnels and many times crossing the meandering river.
SW: Snart färdades jag i hast mot Rouen och vidare längs Seines slingrande dal, i det jag störtade genom tunnlar och många gånger korsade den ringlande floden.
   The sun shone on the boulevards when I arrived in Paris. The streets were strangely quiet. People were still resting from their Christmas celebrations.
   At a Metro station I studied a plan of the city. I sauntered away at random, choosing the boulevards the names of which best ap­pealed to my imagination, and late in the afternoon I came upon the Seine in the vicinity of the Bastille. I followed the Seine until I came to the Louvre. There I crossed a little bridge to the left bank, traversed a gloomy dungeon-like passage, and found myself in a narrow old street lined with shops of book merchants and dealers in pictures and antiquities. It was Rue de Seine. I looked for number 63, the address of the liaison agent of the G.P.U. A sulky concierge answered the bell. Following the directions I had been given by Cance, I asked to see Monsieur Ginsburg, the architect. The concierge snapped to alertness. She gave me a piercing look.    "Entrez, monsieur!". She led me through a silent courtyard and into a building in the rear. She opened a door, using a latch key.
   "Entrez, monsieur."
   I entered a small, completely empty room. Its only window opened into what seemed to be a narrow air shaft. I turned to the concierge that she had probably made a mistake. But the door had clicked shut. It had no knob on the inside. I was locked in. On the other side, the concierge mumbled, "Attendez, monsieur."
   After a while I heard a man’s voice, subdued, but angry. The door was opened. A slender young man of less than medium height greeted me. He had a pale, sharply cut and intelligent face, sharp greenish eyes, and a high forehead. He wore glasses.
   "Bitte tausendmal um Verzeihung," he said in cultured German, “Our friend Cance has telephoned me about you. The concierge is a fool. Please step into the atelier. My name is Ginsburg."
   The atelier was spacious and light. New steel furniture upholstered in bright colors, stacks of blueprints, bookshelves, office machines, maps, a vase full of yellow flowers, reproductions of famous paintings on the walls and a bronze miniature of the Laocoon Group on a pedestal in a corner, gave the place a mixed flavor of cold efficiency and cheerful warmth. R. W. (Roger Walter) Ginsburg was an architect, a thoroughgoing European of undefinable nationality. He had a charming young companion, a native of Alsace and a linguist of mark, whom he introduced to me as his wife. Her name was Doris. At a table, going through a stack of mail, sat two dusky, black-haired and black-eyed men. Hearing that I had come from the United States, they immediately engaged me in an excited conversation in which Doris Ginsburg acted as interpreter.
   This architect’s office in the Rue de Seine was probably the most cosmopolitan rendezvous of the Soviet secret services in Western Europe. Traveling instructors of the Comintern and agents of G.P.U., coming and going on the broad road that led from Moscow to Berlin and Paris, never neglected to call on Roger Ginsburg for their mail, for an exchange of passports, for money, for safe accommodation in the homes of Party members, or to contact collaborators, to collect material for internal intrigues, and to deposit their reports for delivery to the next courier to Berlin and Moscow. No incriminating written material, other than that which callers could carry in their pockets, was ever allowed to litter the atelier. For each branch of his department Ginsburg maintained a separate apartment in adjoining houses, the tenants of which were Party members assigned to serve the Apparat. The Parisian Sûreté, supposedly so crafty, was a laughing stock in Ginsburg’s atelier.
   The French detectives wasted much personnel and energy to keep the official headquarters of the communist organizations in France under constant, painstaking surveillance; but no Comintern man on a conspirative mission would ever think of entering one of the official buildings of the Party. The lines of communications between the open Party machine and the underground Apparat were maintained by a staff of couriers, each of whom had developed his own original tricks in shaking off all possible shadowers. Party members detailed to the Apparat were instantly freed from all regular Party duties. They would resign ostentatously from the Party, and join some harmless club or society to gain a neutral reputation. In the five days I lingered in Paris, I acquired more information about the organizational ramifications and working methods of the traveling corps of Comintern officials than an outsider could have learned in a year of diligent inquiry.
SW: De franska detektiven slösade mycket personal och energi för att hålla kommunistorganisationernas officiella huvudkontor i Frankrike under ständig och noggrann övervakning; men ingen Kominternman på konspirationsuppdrag skulle någonsin tänka sig att gå in i en av partiets officiella byggnader. Kommunikationslinjerna mellan den öppna partiorganisationen och den underjordiska Apparaten upprätthölls av en stab av kurirer, som var och en hade utvecklat sina egna originella knep för att skaka av sig alla möjliga skuggor. Partimedlemmar avdelade för Apparaten befriades omedelbart från alla vanliga partiuppgifter. De skulle iögonenfallande gå ur partiet och gå med i någon harmlös klubb eller förening för att få ett neutralt rykte. Under de fem dagarna som jag dröjde mig kvar i Paris fick jag mer information om de organisatoriska förgreningarna och arbetsmetoderna hos Kominterns utsända tjänstemän än en utomstående kunde ha lärt sig under ett år av flitiga efterforskningar.

   I was quartered in the Hotel d’Alsace, in a quiet street branch­ing off from the Rue de Seine. It was a Comintern hotel, staffed by communists, and managed by a husky blonde woman who ran­sacked the rooms of her guests whenever it pleased her, tolerating no scrap of evidence of revolutionary schemes in her domain. She spoke English in the American way. Her "Okays" rang through ceilings and walls. When someone telephoned, she insisted on listening to what was said, though she offered no objections when her guests brought girls into their rooms, provided that the pur­pose was not dictation, but l’amour!
   The two dark-haired individuals I met during my first call at the atelier turned out to be communist chieftains from South America. One was Urso, from Paraguay, the other was Perez,
the head of the Uruguayan Communist Party.
SW: …, ordförande i Uruguays kommunistparti.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   Both had come from Moscow, and they were stopping off in Paris to await the arrival of an important comrade from Berlin, one Harry Berger, to confer on the details of a certain campaign in the Latin-American coun­tries. I almost emitted a guffaw when I saw the powerful head and the square shoulders of "Harry Berger" appearing in the room. I recognized him in a flash. He was Arthur Ewert, who had been my political instructor at the Communist University in Leningrad. I gave no sign of recognition. Neither did he. To the South Amer­icans, he was Camarado Berger. After a few jovial preliminaries, he tore into them with sledge-hammer blows of broken Spanish, berating them, I gathered, for "syndicalistic tendencies" and "op­portunist deviations." Other callers interrupted, and the three de­parted to continue their conference in the Jardin des Tuileries.
   On two afternoons I helped Doris Ginsburg to translate reports and resolutions from German into English. One of the documents was a manifesto of the Western Secretariat of the Comintern, calling for the organization of hunger marches in every country on February 1, 1930. Another was a report on the decisions made by an international conference of negro delegates in Vladivostok. A third contained a long list of factories and mines in Algeria and Tunisia, in which communist cells had been established. This was mere routine to Doris. To me it was fascinating work. It gave me a conception of the vastness of the organization of which I was a part.
   The following morning Doris asked me to act as interpreter at a conference of a group of foreign communists, with Racamond and Frachon, the leaders of the Red Trade Union bloc in France, the CGTU, which counted several hundred thousand members and was the strongest section of the Profintern. Doris herself had other pressing work. I accepted her proposal with alacrity.
   The conference took place in a worker’s dwelling in the suburb of St. Denis. I met the two Frenchmen at the headquarters of the Red Trade Unions, a rambling agglomeration of buildings on Rue des Granges aux Belles, and together with a quiet girl secretary we made the tedious journey to St. Denis. Julien Racamond was a scarred old oak among men, slow-moving, quick-thinking, one of the rare communist leaders who really had influence among the masses. His colleague, Benoit Frachon, a thick-set but mobile man, enjoyed the reputation of being the foremost expert on revolu­tionary strategy and organization in France. Sitting between them in the Metro, I felt much like a junior lieutenant jammed in be­tween two grizzled generals.
   A strange group was waiting for us at the meeting place in St. Denis. There were four men and a woman. One was an emaciated and sad-looking East Indian. Beside him sat a pudgy, lively man whom the others addressed as Mustafa Sadi. He was a Syrian. The other two were Ratti, an Italian organizer from Marseilles, and Allan, a big, blond Scot, who looked like a prosperous merchant. The woman was quiet-eyed and reserved. She had rings on her fingers, and she crouched on the sofa with a fur coat wrapped around her. I later met her in England. She was the wife of
George Hardy, a British Comintern agent with a long record of intrigues in Ger­many, the United States, and China. All of them spoke English. But Racamond and Frachon knew only French. Sentence by sentence I translated English into German, and the girl interpreter then put my German into French.
   So, for the first time in my life, I had an opportunity to watch at first hand one of those informal conferences of conspirators of international caliber, which inevitably resulted in strikes, raids, shootings, headlines, and wholesale jailings in places hundreds and often thousands of miles away. This particular conference dealt with impending campaigns in Syria, Palestine, Transjordania, and Egypt.
Mrs. Hardy made a report on the political situation in the Near East. Julien Racamond, heavy-handed and gruff, laid down the policy and the general line of action for the future. Benoit Frachon cleared up fine points of tactics. The subject of the con­ference was to decide on ways of harnessing the militant nation­alist element among the Arabs to the Comintern wagon. Propa­ganda literature was to be shipped. Arms were to be smuggled. Agitators and organizers had to be placed in every coastal town between Alexandrette and Alexandria. Then there was talk of chartering a Greek or Turkish steamer; of a Jewish superintendent in Tel Aviv whom no one suspected of being a communist; of slogans which would not meet with the antagonism of the Moslems on religious grounds; of the organization of terror groups to harass the soldiery of Britain and France; of campaigns to fight the sur­render to France of Syrian rebels who had been caught by British troops in Transjordania; of Arabs who were to be sent to a university in Moscow; of strikes and passive resistance; and of the advisability of launching a wave of sabotage acts against the rail­roads.
SW: Ämnet för konferensen var att besluta om sätt att spänna framför Kominternkärran de militanta nationalistiska elementen bland araberna. Propagandalitteratur skulle skickas. Vapen skulle smugglas. Agitatorer och organisatörer måste placeras i varje kuststad mellan Alexandrette och Alexandria. Sedan talades det om chartrandet av en grekisk eller turkisk ångbåt; om en judisk poliskommissarie i Tel Aviv som ingen misstänkte vara kommunist; om paroller som inte skulle väcka anstöt hos muslimerna av religiösa skäl; om organiserandet av terrorgrupper för att trakassera brittiska och franska soldater; om kampanjer för att bekämpa överlämnandet till Frankrike av syriska rebeller som tillfångatagits av brittiska trupper i Transjordanien; om araber som skulle sändas till ett universitet i Moskva; om strejker och passivt motstånd; och om tillrådligheten att inleda en sabotagevåg mot järnvägarna.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)  
   The headquarters for the communist efforts in the Near East was located in Marseilles. Its traffic manager was Ratti, the Italian. Everybody present made notes, and everybody smoked and drank vin rouge.
   This meeting had no secretary and no chairman. Racamond ruled it, and, I gathered, that he controlled the subsidies of the Comintern for the whole Near East. Sums were mentioned: five hundred francs, seven thousand francs, twelve million francs. The East Indian bargained in a hollow voice. Mustafa Sadi got up and shrieked like a hysterical woman, tears rolling down his ample cheeks, pleading with Racamond for a thousand francs more. Allan, the burly Scot, waxed sardonic. But Racamond, ably seconded by the cold-blooded Frachon, ruled the meeting. Raca­mond would jump to his feet and shake his enormous fists over the head of Mustafa Sadi, as if he were about to murder him. In no time at all, five hours flew by. The meeting broke up. Racamond, cracking jokes, departed. Frachon followed him like a shadow. The East Indian looked as if he was about to fall asleep. Mustafa Sadi mopped perspiration from his forehead. Allan scanned a London Times. The Englishwoman yawned and wrapped her fur coat tighter about her angular figure. Things were settled. Soon the money would change hands, printing presses would thunder, couriers would start out with false passports and suitcases with double covers, and somewhere in the Near East gendarmerie and troops were scheduled to work overtime.

   Back in the Rue de Seine, where I went to receive final direc­tions for my departure to Berlin next day, Roger Ginsburg told me that Arthur Ewert wished to talk to me. Ginsburg said confidentially: "I think you should know that Comrade Ewert’s posi­tion in the Comintern is not very firm. He is a capable Bolshevik, but unfortunately he has a head of his own. He´s a conciliator."
   A ”conciliator” was a communist who rejected the uncompromising new line of the Comintern. A ”conciliator” was a man who favored cooperation with other groups and parties in the camp of labor. What of it? I had a high regard for Arthur Ewert. I went to meet him in a small café on the nearby Boulevard St. Michel.
En ”förlikare” var en kommunist som avvisade Kominterns kompromisslösa nya linje. En ”förlikare” var en man som gynnade samarbete med andra grupper och partier inom arbetarrörelsen. Än sen? Jag högaktade Arthur Ewert. Jag gick för att träffa honom på ett litet kafé på den närliggande Boulevard St. Michel.
   The Ewert I met was a very different man from the one who had whipped the two South American communists into submission a few short days before. He was…
SW:en väldigt annorlunda man mot den som hade piskat de två sydamerikanska kommunisterna till underkastelse några korta dagar innan. Han var…
very gentle and very human, almost soft, which was a strange thing in a fighter of his experience and ability. He spoke of his past. From his job in Leningrad, he had been sent to America, and for some time he had been the virtual dictator of the Communist Party of the United States. An intrigue spun by Thälmann in Berlin had brought him back to Moscow in 1929. In such cases, it was difficult to discern where the political motives ended and the personal motives began. The two leaders then aired their differences in Moscow in the presence of Molotov and Manuilsky. Arthur Ewert was the loser. Yet Ewert was convinced that he was right. He favored an alliance with the German Social Democrats and a united front against the rapidly rising National Socialist Party of Hitler. On the other hand, Thälmann, backed by Moscow, maintained that the Socialists, the rivals in the camp of labor, were the chief enemies of the communist movement. "Der Hauptfeind ist die Sozialdemokratie!" Molotov demanded that Ewert write a confession, admitting his bankruptcy, and that this document of humiliation be published in Imprecorr, the widely read foreign bulletin of the Comintern. Ewert was a true communist. A true communist cannot conceive of a life outside the Party.
SW: En sann kommunist kan inte tänka sig ett liv utanför partiet.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   He humiliated himself. His confession was published on February 23, 1930. Ewert, as he spoke, accentuated each sentence with an almost apologetic smile.
   "Why do you tell me all this?" I asked. "You are so much older in the movement than I."
   "Because you are returning to Germany, my boy," he answered. "You are young. Your name still has a good sound in the move­ment. And it is youth that finally will decide the great issues. The young comrades in Germany should know that not Social Democracy, but Fascism, is the chief foe of the workers. I tell you we are making a horrible mistake!" Mournfully he added: "They are sending me to South America. Nothing will be decided there. The decisive battles will be fought in Germany."
   This sounded convincing. But I remembered Söder’s admoni­tion, "Be careful. We are going like a torpedo. One direction only." And Ginsburg’s warning: "Unfortunately he has a head of his own."
   "How can I know you are not pulling a personal oar?" I brazenly demanded.
   Ewert emitted one of his broad, good-natured laughs. "Of course, I am," he said. "Tell me, who is not?"
   "I don’t understand you."
   "You will! The advent of Stalin has changed the Comintern. Obedience counts for more now than initiative, just like it was in the old Prussian army. Look around you with critical eyes. No Communist Party has a real, home-rooted leadership. And why? Because Moscow won’t permit it! The result is that a wooden-brained zealot like Ernst Thälmann leads the strongest Communist Party outside of Russia. A top-sergeant leading a Party on which hangs the fate of the world revolution!"
   I grew rebellious.
   "Comrade Thälmann has been elected by the Party Congress," I said. "We owe loyalty to the leaders we elect because the principle of democratic centralism is fundamental in the Party."
   "Rubbish," countered Ewert. "Stalin wiped out democracy and kept the centralism. Leaders are appointed, not elected. Every leader pulls his personal oar. Every leader strives to form his private net of spies and his secret private army to bolster him from the bottom. And the congress? I’ll tell you. Congresses are called when it is too late to check tyranny from the top. Congresses are convoked only to say ’Aye’ to cut-and-dried decisions. That may sound to your chaste ears like counter-revolutionary talk."
   I was by now completely bewildered. This man had been my teacher. He was an authority on the credo which I had accepted body and soul. For a cornered mind, salvation lies in action. I did not ask myself who was right and who was wrong. I broke into the open with a challenge.
   "Yes, Comrade Ewert, it does sound like counter-revolutionary talk!"
   "And it isn’t," Ewert growled.
   "You pursue factional interests. Even if your life is correct, it tends to disrupt Party unity."
   "I don’t want to disrupt. I want you to see the truth and to let others know it."
   "And then?"
   "I don’t want to be melodramatic. But an alliance between us and the Social Democrats might shift the course of history for many years. It must be an honest alliance."
   "We cannot make an alliance with traitors," I said.
   "By saying that we are driving the strongest trade unions in the world into the bourgeois camp. We are making an error that may cost us all our lives. I don’t want to bulldoze you to accept my opinion. But I want you to think it over. I want you to raise this question with the rank and file of the German Party. The whole future of the revolutionary movement hinges on what is happen­ing in Germany this year and the next."
   Arthur Ewert planted doubt and uncertainty in my mind. Was he simply angling for another partisan in the competition for power within the German Party? The German Party had more adherents than all the other Parties of the Comintern combined. But Stalin´s line prevailed. ”Destroy the Social Democracyt! Wreck the Trade Unions!” became in the coming crucial years the order of the day for us. Thus the two most powerful Marxist armies slashed away at each other, - and Hitler marched to power and destroyed them both.
Arthur Ewert sådde tvivel och osäkerhet i mitt sinne. Fiskade han helt enkelt efter ännu en anhängare i maktkampen inom det tyska partiet? Det tyska partiet hade fler anhängare än alla andra parter i Komintern tillsammans. Men Stalins linje segrade. ”Krossa socialdemokratin! Förstör fackföreningarna!” blev dagordningen för oss under de kommande avgörande åren. Så de två kraftfullaste marxistiska arméerna bekämpade varandra, - och Hitler marscherade upp till makten och krossade dem båda.
   I bade good-by to Arthur Ewert. His eyes, deep under a bulging forehead, followed me to the door. The cold night air, lapping against my throat and crawling up my sleeves, made me aware that I was mumbling to myself.
SW: Hans ögon, djupt under den spända pannan, följde mig till dörren. Den kalla nattluften, som drog i halsen och kröp upp i mina ärmar, gjorde mig medveten om att jag mumlade för mig själv.
   "No matter what our course," I told myself, "the Comintern is the only true revolu­tionary force in the world, and if men want social revolution they must follow the Comintern through fire and water, and not weaken it by bitter factional strife."
   At the Hotel d’Alsace I found a typewritten note.
   "See me immediately. R. G."
   I walked around the corner and a block along the Rue de Seine to Ginsburg’s atelier. Ginsburg was working over a blueprint.
   "You were with Comrade Ewert all this time?" he inquired pleasantly.
   "Yes . . . I am tired."
   "He gave you instructions?"
   "No. We talked unofficially."
   Roger Ginsburg put a portable Continental on a low steel table. He opened a drawer, and took out paper. "I will make a strong coffee with cognac," he said. "Sit down here. Write a report about everything Comrade Ewert said to you. Write it in detail, please."
   "But why?"
   Break the character and independence of your man, and you will have an obedient trooper. That was the new weapon of the Comintern. My duty as a communist was to betray Arthur Ewert, my respected teacher. Was treachery among comrades to become henceforth the price of loyalty?
   I wrote the report. Ginsburg kept toiling over his blueprints, never raising his head or looking around until I had typed the last letter of the last word and made ready to leave.
   "Better sleep at my place tonight," he said. "You’ll leave for Germany in, a few hours."
   Ginsburg’s pale face was like a mask. I saw through it. He was determined to give me no chance to warn Ewert before I left Paris.

Chapter Fourteen


A MOTHERLY FRENCHWOMAN OF CONSIDERABLE GIRTH, one of the couriers of the Paris Apparat, escorted me to the Gare de 1’Est, purchased my ticket, and put me aboard a train to Strasbourg. At the Strasbourg station, another courier recognized me by a Red Cross insignia in my coat lapel, and led me to the offices of the Strasbourg liaison agent, in a modern apart­ment house on Avenue Jean Jaures. The agent’s name was Sorgus. He was a dark-skinned Alsatian in his thirties, a conscientious worker, whose hobby was the collecting of butterflies.
Strasbourg was the bridgehead for underground Comintern traffic between Germany and France. Strasbourg had a far-flung harbor, cluttered with ships flying the flags of five nations. There was more shipping on the Rhine than on any other river on earth. Most of the cargoes leaving the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam came from the industrial centers on the Rhine. Shipping strikes on the Rhine could reduce the chief ports of Belgium and Holland to starvation. Docker´s strikes in Antwerp and Rotterdam could effectively cut off Alsace-Lorraine, the Ruhr industries and Switzerland, from their vital outlet to the sea. It was easy to see why Strasbourg was important. More-over, the proximity of the Maginot Line fortifications, with their parmanent garrisons, made Strasbourg a center of communist agitation among the military forces. Sorgus pointed out to me that the population of Strasbourg was German. After the revolution in Germany, Strasbourg would be the gateway through wich it would flood France.  

SW: Strasbourg var brohuvudet för Kominterns underjordiska trafik mellan Tyskland och Frankrike. Strasbourg hade en vidsträckt hamn, fylld med fartyg förande flaggor från fem nationer. Det fanns mer sjöfart på Rhen än på någon annan flod på jorden. Det mesta godset som lämnade hamnarna i Antwerpen och Rotterdam kom från Rhens industriella centra. Sjöstrejker på Rhen skulle kunna svälta ut Belgiens och Hollands viktigaste hamnar. Hamnarbetarstrejker i Antwerpen och Rotterdam skulle effektivt kunna skära av Alsace-Lorraine, Ruhr-industrin och Schweiz från deras livsviktiga utlopp till havet. Det var lätt att se varför Strasbourg var viktigt. Dessutom gjorde närheten till Maginotlinjens befästningar, med dess permanenta garnisoner, Strasbourg till ett centrum för kommunistisk agitation bland militärstyrkorna. Sorgus påpekade för mig att Strasbourgs befolkning var tysk. Efter revolutionen i Tyskland skulle Strasbourg vara slussen genom vilken den skulle översvämma Frankrike.

   On orders from Sorgus, a tall, thin, taciturn young girl from the Strasbourg Party office accompanied me at night to the village of Lauterburg, which lies at the point where the Rhine passes into German territory. Here the Comintern maintained a border post. In a little house, which seemed to be an overturned barge with windows cut into its sides, the girl introduced me to a brawny youth. He grabbed a fishing tackle and motioned me to follow him. We went to a point where several boats lay moored to a pole. The black water gurgled. The Rhine flowed swiftly between low grassy banks. We entered a boat and pushed off, drifting down­stream with the current, and pretending to fish. There were lights ahead of us. We passed them without being challenged.
   "We are now in Germany," the youth said.
   He brought out a pair of clumsy oars and pulled over to the right bank of the river. The oarlocks were wrapped in cloth, so that the rowing made no noise. I jumped ashore. My guide pulled away in the night. I stood on a wide meadow. The wind blew in cold gusts. I trudged away from the river toward a house without lights. There was a road. The road led into a highway. A sign at the junction read, "Karlsruhe-4 Kilometer."
   I did not go to Berlin by the shortest route. In San Quentin I had dreamt of freedom. In Paris, I had had experiences which still by heavily on my mind. I had spent almost nothing of the money I had received from Cance, Ginsburg, and Sorgus. So I decided to have a week for myself. I boarded the train from Karlsruhe to Heidelberg. I was back in my own country, but how little did I know it! The Rhine folk loved their land. They would live no­where else, and they were proud that their cradles had been rocked along the Rhine. "Nur am Rhein da möcht ich leben, nur am Rhein geboren sein . . ." It was here, in the country between the Neckar and the Main, that I had been born, only to be taken away before my mind was ripe enough to imbibe its enchanting contours. And now, after twenty-five years of vagabondage, I beheld for the first time this land of my birth.
   I took a room in a hotel overlooking the Neckar. Later in the day I mounted the ruins of the Heidelberg castle, and after that I tramped through the solitude of naked woods. The country, even in winter, was the most beautiful I had seen. The next day I again wandered alone through the woods.
   In the evening I went to a bar. It was Saturday night. There was music, and a crowd of young people were eating, drinking, danc­ing, seemingly without a care in their lives. I sat alone at a table, drinking Niersteiner, watching enviously, but I was too bashful to ask any of the girls to dance with me. They were all so carefree and innocently frivolous. They wanted to play, and I had already forgotten how to play. Then I saw a girl at another table who also was alone and looked melancholy. She was about twenty-six, blonde, with a round face and a good figure, and she was very drunk. To drown my dejected mood and to attract her attention, I looked at her and began to sing raucously, "Hiking is the miller’s joy."

"Vom Wasser haben wir’s gelernt,
"Vom Wasser . . .
"Das hat nicht Ruh’ bei Tag and Nacht,
"Is stets auf Wanderschaft bedacht,
"Das Wasser, das Wasser, das Wa-a-a-a-asser."

   That girl and I, the two outcasts in the happy-go-lucky Heidel­berg crowd, came together. Her name was Liese. I never asked for her second name, and she did not ask for mine. Two days we were together in Heidelberg. We bought rucksacks and provisions, and spent six glorious days hiking across the Odenwald mountains from Heidelberg to Darmstadt. Almost every mountain crest along the famous Bergstrasse bore an old, deserted castle with a moat, a drawbridge, dungeons, wells dug down into the base of the mountain, and walls often six to ten feet thick. The Comintern seemed as far away as Saturn. We were hardy and happy. Each day we grew younger.
   We parted in Darmstadt. Liese returned to Heidelberg. I traveled north.

   In Berlin, I reported at once to Communist Headquarters, the Karl Liebknecht House, a huge building commanding a wide square, the Bülowplatz. But for the block-long red banners in front, the Karl Liebknecht House appeared like any other business palace; but inside it was fortified and guarded like an arsenal. I gave one of the guards a written note, and asked him to report me to the organization department of the Central Committee. I waited. From somewhere came the dull hammering of presses. Doors banged and people rushed by. The hallways were plastered with blazing posters, diagrams, bulletins. In the courtyard, the bicycles and motorcycles of the Party couriers were parked by the dozen. At last the guard returned.
   "Comrade Ernst will see you," he announced. "Fourth floor, room thirty-nine."
   Room thirty-nine was small and bare. The windows had no curtains. There was a large desk, two hard chairs, and a picture of Stalin on the wall. The walls were painted a uniform battleship gray. Behind the desk sat a man. Two small, black, piercing eyes glowered at me.
   The man was short and burly. His thin hair was combed to cover a bald spot on his head. He had chunky hands, a hard round forehead, and a thick, straight mouth. His chunky face was of an unhealthy color, and the expression on it was the most saturnine I had ever seen. It denoted power, patience, ruthlessness, distrust. But the really outstanding feature in this man were his eyes—unblinking, glistening slits without a trace of white. Before a word was said, I knew who this man was. I had seen him before. He was the stoker from the battleship Helgoland, who in 1918 had hoisted the first red flag of revolution over the Imperial Fleet.
   Ernst Wollweber had traveled far since the day he had risen from the depths to kick one of the main props from under the Kaiser’s war machine. He had become a member of the inner bureau of communist strategists in Central Europe, a member of that anonymous aristocracy of professional revolutionists without whose expert and formidable assistance the constantly publicized top-rank Party officials would be naught but garrulous generals without an officer corps to lead their army. To obtain for him con­stitutional immunity from arrest by police, Ernst Wollweber had been elected to the Prussian Diet. As a member of that legislative body, Wollweber had also acquired the right to free travel on German railroads between the Rhine and East Prussia. Moreover, the government paid him the substantial allowance granted to all members of German parliaments. Thus the Weimar Republic financed the journeys and maintenance of a host of agitators and organizers, elected as deputies, whose policies and actions aimed at nothing less than the complete destruction of that Republic.
   "You are Comrade Ernst Wollweber," I said huskily.
   The man nodded. He gave the Party salute:

   "Rot Front!" Then he growled, "Sit down." We shook hands over the desk. Wollweber’s grip was hard. His face screwed itself into a mirthless grin, which revealed a row of irregular tobacco-stained teeth.
   "How long have you been away from German Party work?"
   "About seven years," I said.
   "How are the American prisons?"
   "Not bad."
   "You did good work there. But the political storm center is now Germany. We need you right here." He lit a fresh cigarette with the butt of the last. "By the way," he added, "have you already communicated with Comrade Albert Walter in Hamburg?"
   "Not yet. I shall write a report to him."
   "That is not necessary," Wollweber said. "The Party leader­ship is here. Give your report to me."
   "All right."
   As he continued to question me, I had the feeling that Woll­weber was circling around me with infinite caution, tightening his circle and coming a little closer after each of my answers. Suddenly he said:
   "I have read your report on your conversation with Comrade Ewert."
   I was startled. The Comintern’s previous usage had been to forward letters of denunciations to those who had been so de­nounced. This had been done in a spirit of frankness and comradeship. But now it was brought home to me once more how much conditions in the Comintern had changed. Denunciations and con­fidential reports of comrade against comrade were welcomed now in high places. The system of secret dossiers—to be produced "when needed"—was on the way to become a component part of almost every communist leader’s private arsenal.
   "Oh, did Ginsburg? . ." I began.
   "Say, Comrade Ginsburg," Wollweber interrupted. "The Party does not like the omission of certain accepted forms."
   "Comrade Ginsburg requested me to write it," I explained.
   I did not know where I stood. Ewert—Wollweber. . . . Were they friends or foes? As organization chief, Ernst Wollweber held the same position in the German Party which Ossip Piatnitzky held in the Comintern. The Org-Leiter could make and break men in his machine almost at will.
   "It was a very interesting report," Wollweber said. "Did you and Comrade Ewert agree to communicate privately in the future?"
   "Private communications between comrades sometimes have their value. More often, they are dangerous—to the younger correspondent. Your report on Comrade Ewert is in my possession. Consider that it was written for me—privately!"
   "All right."
   "What sort of work do you like best?"
   "Maritime organization."
   "Good. I’ll make certain proposals concerning you at the next session of the Central Committee. Maybe you’ll be put in charge of the Rhine, or the Danube, or the Berlin-Brandenburg canals. I’ll let you know in a few days. In the meantime, you can acclimatize yourself to Germany."
   When Wollweber spoke, each word seemed to come out in a slow sullen growl. He gave the impression of being a man who was never in a hurry, who was utterly without fear, whom nothing could surprise, and who had stripped himself deliberately of all illusions.
   Ernst Wollweber arranged for my board and lodging, pending my next assignment, and introduced me to the man who was in charge of the Party archive in the rambling cellars of the Karl Liebknecht House. For over a week I had the run of Party head­quarters. I read much to catch up on developments, talked with many members of the Karl Liebknecht House staff, and studied the official Party reports of the past two years. So I found my bear­ings in the most colossal communist machine as yet built up out­side the Soviet frontiers,—a machine which served in later years as a model for Communist Parties in all other countries.
   The Communist Party of Germany had at that time a quarter of a million members. It published twenty-seven daily papers, with a total circulation of about five million. A dozen weekly and monthly publications and hundreds of factory sheets augmented the regular Party press. Nearly four thousand communist cells functioned in Germany, with over six hundred of them in the city of Berlin alone. Surrounding the Party, was a belt of eighty-seven auxiliary organizations which received their orders from Moscow by way of the Karl Liebknecht House.

   The auxiliary forces ranged from the Young Communist League and the International Red Aid to scores of sport leagues, women´s societies, chess clubs, leagues of war victims, Proletarian Writers, Red Photographers, the Pioneer groups among school children, and many others. Two of the most important commmunist auxiliaries were the outlawed, but secretly functioning Red Front Fighter´s League (the military section of the Party), and the Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition (assigned to disintegrate and break up from within the powerful Social Democratic Trade Union Federation.)
Stödorganisationerna sträckte sig från Ungkommunisternas Förbund och Internationella Röda Hjälpen till massor av sportserier, kvinnoföreningar, schackklubbar, föreningar för krigsoffer, Proletära Författare, Röda Fotografer, Pionjärgrupperna bland skolbarn och många andra. Två av de viktigaste kommunistiska stödorganisationerna var de förbjudna, men i hemlighet fungerande Röd Front-förbundet (partiets militära del), och den Revolutionära Fackföreningsoppositionen (med uppdrag att inifrån upplösa och bryta sönder den mäktiga socialdemokratiska fackföreningsrörelsen.)

   Working silently and efficiently in the shadows of the ponder­ous communist edifice, was the underground G.P.U. network of the German Party. Its divisions included the "S-Apparat" for espionage, the "M-Apparat" for communist penetration into the army and navy, the "P-Apparat" for disintegration of police morale, the "BB-Apparat" for industrial espionage in favor of the Soviet Union, the Parteischutzgruppen —the armed bodyguards of Party leaders, the "N-Apparat" for passports, Party censorship, courier service and communications, and the various Zersetzungs Apparate for counter-espionage and disintegration work in the Social Democratic Party, the Catholic Center, the Monarchists, and among the military formations of the Hitler movement.

   The German Party also maintained some fifteen political training centers, a dozen publishing houses – most of them under neutral names and controlled by the Reichstag deputy Willy Muenzenberg. It also controlled large numbers of worker´s clubs, theatrical groups, vacation camps, schools for military training and civil war technique, a motion picture company, and even a corporation for the manufacture of pulp paper – the Peuvag.

SW: Det tyska partiet drev också ett femtontal politiska utbildningscentra, ett dussin förlag - de flesta under neutrala namn och kontrollerade av Reichstagssuppleanten Willy Muenzenberg. Det kontrollerade också ett stort antal arbetarklubbar, teatergrupper, semesterläger, skolor för militär träning och inbördeskrigsteknik, ett filmbolag och till och med ett företag för tillverkning av pappersmassa - Peuvag.

   Every department of the Party and every auxiliary organization was directed by a special emissary from Moscow, invested with extraor­dinary dictatorial powers.
   The expressive word "agent" is never used in Comintern circles; the official title of the foreign commissars of the Kremlin is the awkward "International Political Instructor." Each of these international agents was a specialist in a given field. There were specialists in propaganda technique, in strike strategy, in industrial organization, women’s specialists, espionage specialists, advertising experts, Red Army experts, business managers, police specialists, and specialists for each of the basic industries—steel, shipping, railroads, mining, textile, public utilities, agriculture and the chemical industry—and expert accountants sent to clear up financial tangles. Rarely were they known by their true names. They hardly ever lived in hotels. They had secret offices and secret quarters, usually in the homes of trusted Party members.
They never used the mails for confidential messages, never carried on their financial transactions through the banks, never used the telephone for confidential conversations. They bobbed up at conferences of Party chieftains, talking like machine guns, rasping out commands and cracking the political whip – and would vanish into hiding as suddenly as they had come.

SW: De använde aldrig ordinarie postgång för konfidentiella meddelanden, genomförde aldrig sina finansiella transaktioner via bankerna, använde aldrig telefonen för konfidentiella samtal. De dök hastigt upp vid konferenser för partichefer, pratade som kulsprutor, väste fram befallningar och svingade den politiska piskan – för att sedan försvinna lika plötsligt som de kommit.
   All these instructors were well dressed and well paid, and seldom did any of them appear in a meeting without the protective escort of a personal courier or an alert-eyed girl who served both as secretary and mistress. It was this elusive corps of Comintern agents that formed the real leadership of the Communist Party.
   But Berlin was more than the center of German communism; since 1929, it had become the field headquarters for the whole of the Communist International. Moscow was too remote from Western Europe and the Americas to carry on a close and con­stant supervision of the activities of its Foreign Legion. Besides, the laws of conspirative work demanded that the broad stream of international agitators in and out of Russia should be reduced to only the most necessary trickle. It was decided to let all threads end in Berlin, and to retain only a single line of communication between Berlin and Moscow. A Western Secretariat of the Comintern was therefore established in Berlin, whose jurisdiction reached from Iceland to Capetown. Appointed to act as its political chief was Georgi Dimitrov, who was responsible only to Molotov, the real ruler of the Comintern.
   I met Dimitrov through Willy Münzenberg, who had invited me, in his capacity as president of the World League against Im­perialism, to speak about America at a meeting of Chinese communist students attending the Berlin University. The meeting was a success. Late that evening, Münzenberg, who had taken a liking to me, remarked:
   "Something approaching a revolutionary situation is ripening in India. How would you like to go to Calcutta?"
   I answered that I was awaiting an assignment in Germany. I mentioned Wollweber’s name. Münzenberg flared up.
   "You have been doing international work. You should have reported to the Western Secretariat," he rattled out. "Not to Wollweber. Woll­weber is Germany."
   "Well, I’m a member of the German Communist Party."
   "That is correct. But as an international worker, you are not under the jurisdiction of the German Central Committee. Who is Wollweber? Wollweber is a Lokalpatriot. He thinks Germany is the whole world. A capable comrade, but no internationalist."
   I now discovered a new form of rivalry—the rivalry for power between the vertical national sections of the Comintern and the large number of horizontal international leagues. Despite all my loyalty to the Comintern, I found myself asking: "Who is stronger—Wollweber or Münzenberg?"
   ”I shall straighten this out with Comrade Wollweber,” I said. Muenzenberg shot back:
  ”No, no! Why enter jurisdictional struggle? Confront Wollweber with a fait accompli. Basta! I shall see to it that you meet Comrade Dimitrov,” he promised. ”We can´t permit Wollweber to go fishing in our international cadres.”
”Jag ska reda ut det här med kamrat Wollweber,” sa jag. Muenzenberg replikerade:   
   "Nej, nej! Varför gå in i strid om ansvarsområde? Konfrontera Wollweber med ett fait accompli. Basta! Jag ska ordna så att du får träffa kamrat Dimitrov, ”lovade han. ”Vi kan inte tillåta Wollweber att fiska bland våra internationella kadrer.”
   Two days later, in the early morning, there was a knock at my door. A determined-looking girl courier entered.
   "I come from the Westbureau," she announced. "Comrade Dimitrov wants to see you."
   Dimitrov was at that time almost unknown outside of the ranks of the Comintern aristocracy. Men of his type prized anonymity. For ten years, until 1923, he had been a member of the Bulgarian parliament. He then led an armed communist rising, which ended in failure, and escaped into exile. In his absence, a court in Sofia sentenced him to death. In Moscow, after being held responsible for the catastrophic defeat of communism in Bulgaria, Dimitrov wrote a document of self-humiliation, and won the friendship of Stalin. He became the head of the Communist Balkan Federation, and was later promoted to the leadership of the Western Secretariat of the Comintern. Among the large assortment of aliases he used in Berlin, the choicest were Dr. Steiner, Alfons Kuh, Professor Jahn, and Dr. Schaafsma-Schmidt.
   Dimitrov’s girl courier, wary of followers, piloted me to a house on the Wilhelmstrasse, number 131-132. Here, behind the camouflage of a modern bookstore and a publishing firm called Führer Verlag, the Comintern maintained a dozen departments, a host of typists, couriers, translators and guards. I was ushered into an elegantly furnished office. On the wall, in a massive black frame, was a portrait of—Bismarck.
   My first impression of Dimitrov was disappointing. I had expected to meet a steely man, a hardened veteran of many campaigns. Instead there came out of an inner office a large, soft, flabby-faced individual, stout and dark, dressed like a dandy and smelling of heavy perfume. He wore a thick ring on his left hand. His well-manicured fingers held a black cigar. His eyes were large and bold. I soon found that he was a driving, domineering person­ality. He spoke German with remarkable fluency. His words came loud and hard.
   "We’ve written finis to a ten-year period of revolutionary adventurism," he said. "Putschism is definitely discarded. Our program is now one of planned action; a plan extending over a number of years. We cannot achieve the revolution by fly-by-night coups, we can achieve it only with Bolshevist methods.
We must get off of the high horse and go down to the masses to organize the day-to-day struggle of the workers for day-to-day economic demands.
SW:  Vi måste kliva ner från våra höga hästar och gå ner till massorna för att organisera arbetarnas dagliga kamp för ekonomiska dagskrav.
   We must organize and lead every possible strike, even the smallest—and do it against the will of the socialist trade union bureaucracy. A continuous barrage of independent strikes will break the mass influence of the Social Democracy, disrupt the whole system of industrial production, and deepen the capitalist crisis until it reaches a point of collapse."
   Dimitrov grew more violent as he spoke:
   "The Social Democrats tell the workers that it is impossible to win strikes when there’s a crisis with millions of unemployed. They advise the workers to accept wage reductions without offer­ing resistance. Here is the opportunity we communists must seize! We must cultivate a hatred in the heads of the workers against their false leaders. Each and every day we must pound it into them ten thousand times: ’The Socialist and trade union leaders are traitors! They are the most dangerous enemies of the workers! They have sold out the workers to the bourgeoisie."
   "And the Nazi movement?" I asked, thinking of Arthur Ewert and his warning.
   "The Hitler movement has no followers among the workers," he countered. "Hitler promises everything to everybody. He steals his ideas from all sides. Nobody takes him seriously anyway. He has no tradition and no background. Not even a program. Don’t let yourself be distracted. The biggest obstacle on the road to proletarian revolution is the Social Democratic Party. Our foremost task is to liquidate its influence. Afterwards, we’ll sweep Hitler and his Lumpengesindel into the garbage-can of history."
   Suddenly Dimitrov asked me: "What do you think of the Ger­man Party?"
   "Compared with other Communist Parties, it is like an express train among pushcarts," I replied.
   Dimitrov smiled long at me. His eyes, his wide mouth, his whole mobile face were smiling.
   "Maybe so," he finally said. "But the locomotive might be rusty and burn a tremendous over-load of coal. Maybe ten stokers are necessary to make it move ten yards."
   I was dumbfounded to hear it from the mouth of the infallible leader.
   "We must never shy away from Bolshevist self-criticism," he continued. "Selbstkritik is a sharp weapon. The locomotive is not beyond repair. The rusty parts can be taken out; shiny, new, young parts can be put in. Maybe some of the stokers are saboteurs. Maybe the coal is not very good. Well?"
   "Let’s put on some good stokers and good coal," I said.
   Dimitrov laughed like a gleeful boy.
   "Why not?" he said. "It will run like the devil."
   Then he switched to my future work. "We are sending you to Moscow," he announced.
   I nodded, intent on hearing more.
   "Sailors belong to ships. You’ll continue with the Maritime Section. We must push ahead with full strength in the shipping in­dustry. When war comes . . . you know what it means. We must have capitalist shipping in our hands. The Soviet Union needs peace. Nothing is better for taming a capitalist shark than to cut off his exports and imports. You’ll meet Albert Walter in Moscow. A lot of other sailors will be there. You’ll all thrash things out with Comrade Losovsky."

   I was photographed on the top floor of the Karl Liebknecht House. Within a day, I received a Danish passport in the name of Rolf Gutmund, a commercial traveler and resident of Aalborg. It was a good passport. Except for a change of photograph, it had been left intact. A Soviet visa and a Polish transit visa were already entered in it. In addition, I received a special document of identifi­cation, typed in Russian, with instructions to show it only to the Soviet frontier police. I traveled with three other comrades, a Hungarian named Emmerich Sallai, a girl from Cologne sent to study at the Lenin University, and an apple-cheeked leader of the Communist Party of Switzerland. Sallai, seeing that my overcoat was shabby and light, supplied me with a heavy coat he had in reserve.
   An hour before my departure, I had unexpectedly chanced upon Wollweber in the restaurant of the Karl Liebknecht House. He sat alone at a table, hunched over a glass of beer, the personification of a creature continuously brooding over conspiracies and alliances. He looked askance at me when I told him that I was going to Moscow.
   "Who is sending you?"
   "Comrade Dimitrov."
   He gave a faintly sardonic smile. Then he shook my hand.
   "Gute Reise," he growled. "Don’t forget to come back."
   He exchanged a few curt remarks with my travel companions before he walked away, holding his hands clasped behind him.
   Lights danced in the eyes of the girl from Cologne. "Do you know Comrade Ernst’s nickname?" she purred intimately. "In meetings he imitates the gestures of Vladimir Ilyitch. We get him mad by calling him ’Little Lenin.’ They say he practices Lenin poses in front of a mirror when he’s alone."
   With uncanny precision, a messenger from the Profintern singled us out in the bedlam of the station in Moscow, upon our arrival there two days later. We were driven to the Bristol Hotel, a Comintern caravansary for communist transients from abroad. I was lodged in a room together with a Finn and a Lett. Three cots, three chairs, a table, a washstand, a samovar and a picture of Stalin made up the furniture. There was an outfit for cooking, but it had broken down and was long out of use. I had hardly spent two hours in the hotel—which was more like a cosmopolitan tene­ment than a hotel in the European sense—when a sly-faced Ger­man engaged me in a conversation about Russia. He was too friendly. And after a while, he began to criticize openly the Five­Year-Plan and Stalin’s qualities of leadership. I knew what he meant. The man was the inevitable house spy of the G.P.U. I told him to stop his counter-revolutionary nonsense or be kicked out of the room. Thereafter, whenever he saw me, he raised his right fist with a grin and shouted: "Heil Moskau!"
   The morning after our arrival our group scattered. The girl from Cologne moved to one of the students’ houses. The Swiss departed for a conference with Piatnitzky. I did not see him again. Sallai moved to the Hotel Savoy where his compatriot, Bela Kun, who had received the Order of the Red Banner, was the center of the Hungarian colony. I asked Sallai if he wanted back the over­coat he had, given me. He seemed to be hurt.
   "I have one just as good. Keep it, because I don’t need it."
   I wore the overcoat for three years. It lived longer than its original owner. For Emmerich Sallai, together with another Comintern man, was condemned to death for high treason in Budapest on July 28, 1932, and was hung the same night. Both were reported to have died with the cry, "Long live the proletarian dictatorship. We shall be avenged."
   The marine conference in the Profintern was already under way. Risking a rebuke from my superiors, I stole one short day to roam through Moscow. The Five-Year-Plan propaganda dom­inated public life as a high mountain dominates the surrounding sea—it was visible wherever one went and, to me, it was stirring. The Kremlin had decided to sacrifice for years the normal well-being of one hundred and sixty million people to win a titanic race against a century of backwardness. "Socialism or die!" To the young communist from abroad, this "all or nothing" cry was familiar and reassuring music. "Once the Five-Year-Plan is com­pleted, the Soviet Union will be so invincibly strong that it will insure the triumph of revolution outside of Russia." What was this not worth to a young fanatic, who was prepared to suffer every privation himself, even to give his own life for the revolu­tion? Such reasoning made the Bolshevist indifference to the ocean of human suffering stretching before our eyes appear in a noble light.
   The elite of the Maritime Section of the Comintern attended the conference in the Red Room of the Profintern building. A tall, lean Russian presided, a blond young man of reserved manners. It was Kommissarenko, the chief of the shipping and waterfront unions of Russia and Siberia. But the man who dominated the meeting was Losovsky, the head of the Profintern. He had a thin, almost hollow face, an ill-tended reddish beard, and quick, fanat­ical eyes.
He was a clever speaker, fond of sarcasm and possessed of a lashing vitality which I thought highly unusual in a man of his decrepit appearance.
SW: Han var en skicklig talare, förtjust i sarkasmer och hade en snärtig vitalitet som jag fann mycket ovanlig hos en man med hans skröpliga framtoning.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   The third important figure in the assembly was Albert Walter; his energetic bluffness and virility had not changed since I had seen him last. The rest were delegates from the maritime sections of the Communist Parties of nearly a dozen countries. The conference had been called to formulate plans for the organization of an International of Seamen and Harbor Workers, and of Red waterfront unions on all continents. The new International was to be created within a year, after a world-wide preparatory campaign. Its chief task was the mobilization of seamen for the protection of the Soviet Union in case of war, by tying up the shipping of nations antagonistic to Russia. Concurrently, the new International was to serve as a battering ram for the destruction of all maritime unions which could not possibly be brought under communist control. Campaign plans and tentative statutes were drawn up in great detail for each nation. It was decided to dispatch organizers to some forty countries to lay the first corner-stones of the new International. Subsidies and appointments to leadership in the various countries were discussed, as well as the establishment of communist marine schools, of a special department for agitation among negroes, and of another one to specialize in the communist penetration of the navies of capitalist countries. Albert Walter was nominated as the generalissimo of communist operations on the seven seas.
SW: Kampanjplaner och preliminära stadgar utarbetades i detalj för varje nation. Det beslutades att skicka organisatörer till ett fyrtiotal länder för att lägga de första hörnstenarna till den nya Internationalen. Bidrag och utnämningar till ledarskap i de olika länderna diskuterades, liksom inrättandet av kommunistiska sjöfartsskolor, av en speciell avdelning för agitation bland negrar, och av en annan som specialiserade sig i den kommunistiska infiltrationen av flottorna i kapitalistländer. Albert Walter utsågs till generalissimus för kommunistiska operationer på de sju haven.
   On the fourth day of the conference, Ossip Piatnitzky, the organization chief of the Comin­tern, addressed us on the technique of translating propaganda into organization, and organization into action. This lynx-eyed, aggres­sive, yet unassuming Old Bolshevik spoke of "our tasks in Malaya, Greece or America" as if these countries were garden patches in Moscow.
Of special interest to me were the reports on the steady progress of communism along the American seaboard ever since the early haphazard days when I had been one of the legion of traveling delegates from Hamburg to carry propaganda literature across the Atlantic. International Seamen’s Clubs had been established, with Profintern funds, in the nine most important ports of the United States. Using the working methods developed in Hamburg, these clubs had consolidated their growing influence, and gave rise to a national organization which was called the Marine Workers’ League. Losovsky had granted a special monthly subsidy for the publication of a communist newspaper for American seamen, the Marine Workers’ Voice. The Moscow conference, accepting a plan drawn up by Kommissarenko, decided that the time had come to engineer into existence a Red trade union of American waterfront workers. Two young American communists, possess­ing leadership qualities and the necessary ruthlessness, had risen from obscurity to a place high in Losovsky’s favor. Losovsky spoke of them with almost fatherly affection. One was George Mink. The other was Tom Ray. Losovsky and Walter agreed to give Mink the leadership of the Atlantic coast, and Ray that of the Pacific, with respective headquarters in New York and San Fran­cisco. Mink and Ray were placed on the payroll of the Profintern; Losovsky decreed that they should receive additional monthly allowances to cover the costs of the Marine Workers’ Voice, of the maintenance of the International Clubs, and of sending a crew of organizers into all harbors between Norfolk and Seattle. Like all Soviet funds for maritime work abroad, this money was to be conveyed to its destination through Albert Walter’s office in Ham­burg. Finances were also provided for a convention of American waterfront communists, held in April, 1930, three months after the Moscow conference, in New York, to organize the Marine Workers Industrial Union. It was attended by 118 delegates from Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Great Lake ports. George Mink, Tom Ray and a certain La Rocca were then summoned to Moscow to submit reports and receive further instructions.
Av särskilt intresse för mig var rapporterna om kommunismens stadiga framsteg längs den amerikanska kusten ända sedan de tidiga slumpartade dagarna då jag ingått i de mängder av resande delegater från Hamburg som fraktade propagandalitteratur över Atlanten. Internationella sjömansklubbar hade upprättats med Profinternfonder i USA:s nio viktigaste hamnar. Med hjälp av de arbetsmetoder som utvecklats i Hamburg hade dessa klubbar konsoliderat sitt växande inflytande och främjat skapandet av en nationell organisation som kallades Marine Workers 'League. Losovsky hade beviljat en särskild månatlig subvention för publicering av en kommunisttidning för amerikanska sjömän, Marine Workers 'Voice. Moskva-konferensen antog en plan som upprättats av Kommissarenko och beslutade att tiden var inne för att skapa en röd fackförening för amerikanska hamnarbetare. Två unga amerikanska kommunister, som hade ledaregenskaper och den nödvändiga hänsynslösheten, hade stigit från obetydlighet till att stå högt i kurs hos Losovskys. Losovsky talade om dem med nästan faderlig tillgivenhet. Den ene var George Mink. Den andre var Tom Ray. Losovsky och Walter kom överens om att ge Mink ledningen för Atlantkusten och Ray motsvarande för Stilla havskusten, med respektive huvudkontor i New York och San Francisco. Mink och Ray sattes på Profinterns lönelista. Losovsky beslutade att de skulle få ytterligare månatliga underhåll för att täcka kostnaderna för Marine Workers' Voice, drivandet av de internationella klubbarna och för att skicka en skara arrangörer till alla hamnar mellan Norfolk och Seattle. Som för alla sovjetiska fonder för maritimt arbete utomlands, skulle de här pengarna föras till sin destination genom Albert Walters kontor i Hamburg. Pengar tillhandahölls också för en sammankomst för amerikanska kommunister vid hamnarna, som hölls i april 1930, tre månader efter Moskvakonferensen, i New York, för att organisera Marine Workers Industrial Union. Där deltog 118 delegater från hamnarna i Atlanten, Stilla havet, Mexikanska golfen och Stora sjöarna. George Mink, Tom Ray och en viss La Rocca kallades sedan till Moskva för att lämna in rapporter och få ytterligare instruktioner.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   Each evening, after a day of drawing the blueprints for future campaigns, ended with an outright saturnalia. The only groups that kept aloof from these orgies were the Russians, the grave-faced Chinese, and the older communists, who withdrew to pre­pare their notes for the next day’s speeches and arguments. The rest of the delegates repaired to their hotels, the Bristol and the famous Lux, where most of the foreign Comintern workers had their crowded quarters. Vodka, wine and a variety of cheap candies and cakes were always on hand. Often there were as many as twenty-five of us in a room six or eight yards square. The sudden stripping of an unsuspecting newcomer, mutual dousing with cold water, vodka-drinking tournaments, and "nationalization of women"—a juicy satire on bourgeois propaganda—were popular games. Men appeared in women’s clothes, girls dressed as peasants or stevedores, and—with lights turned out—each partici­pant was obliged to regain his original outer garments before the master of ceremonies decided to switch on the lights. Mock "proletarian courts" then meted out punishment to those caught in diverse stages of dishabillement. Our frolics usually terminated at midnight; no communist wished to risk being caught catching up on his sleep during the next day’s duties. The older Bolsheviks knew new no pity in this respect.
   On the last day of the conference Albert Walter showed me a letter from Wollweber, written in Berlin. The "Little Lenin" was jealous of the attention Walter was receiving in Moscow. He com­plained to the Comintern that the most promising young elements were being stolen from the German Party for international assign­ments.
   "He is a peasant," Walter burst out. "Don’t let him dupe you."
   Every young professional had to choose his backer in the movement. By choosing Walter, who in turn was backed by Losovsky and Dimitrov, I inevitably incurred the hidden enmity of the German leaders. ”Comrade Wollweber will probably request you to write confidential reports on our affairs,” Walter warned me. ”Remember, the Profintern is not responsible to the German Central Committee.”
SW: Varje ung yrkesrevolutionär måste välja sin gynnare i rörelsen. Genom att välja Walter, som i sin tur stöddes av Losovsky och Dimitrov, ådrog jag mig oundvikligen de tyska ledarnas dolda fiendskap. ”Kamrat Wollweber kommer förmodligen att begära att du ska skriva konfidentiella rapporter om våra angelägenheter,” varnade Walter mig. ”Kom ihåg att Profintern inte är ansvarigt gentemot den tyska centralkommittén.”
   "But why all this confounded sneaking?" I cried.
   "Human nature is the most stubborn concoction imaginable," Walter replied grimly.
   The next day I was commissioned to go to Antwerp to take charge of the activities of the communist waterfront units and the International Clubs in Rotterdam, Antwerp, Ghent and Dunkerque. My monthly salary was $100; my monthly organizational budget $750. I was glad to return to the firing lines. I detested the life of a politician.
   News of the rising strife in Germany burst like a warning squall into the sleepy atmosphere of my compartment as I passed through Berlin. The news hawkers howled on the platforms, "Bloody Riots in Berlin and Hamburg! Nazi Sturmführer Murdered!" The Party had led the unemployed masses into battle against the police. There had been barricade fighting in industrial districts. Hamburg reported dead and wounded. On February 23, in Berlin, the Storm Troop leader Horst Wessel had died from bullets fired by communist assassins. Dr. Goebbels’ newspaper, the Angriff, clamored for revenge. The struggle for the conquest of Berlin, of Germany, of the world, was thrown into a swifter pace. From an adjoining railway car, packed with Brownshirts, singing came.
   It was the Horst Wessel Song, written by the murdered Nazi student, the battle-song which was destined to rank equal with Deutschland über Alles in later years.
   My train pulled out of Berlin. Westward it rolled, toward the Rhine. The first smell of spring was in the air.


Chapter Fifteen


   I saw her for the first time in the Museum of Art, where I occasionally went to enjoy a quiet hour away from strident reality. Among the full-bodied austerity of the Dutch masters she sat, a splash of living beauty and color, the daughter of an impu­dent and fearless age. She had an open sketchbook on her knees, and the crayon in her right hand flew over the paper. She had small, but able hands. She peered intently at the somber portrait of a woman on the wall in front of her. Her glance leaped to the paper on her knees and her right hand drew swift contours. And then her eyes swung back again to the likeness of the older, sturdier woman on the wall.
   I halted and looked over her shoulder. She was so absorbed in her work that she was unaware of my intrusion. Some powerful and intangible influence took hold of me. It was beyond explanation, and utterly new. There was an inimitable harmony between her attitude of concentration and the easy grace of her posture and motions. I came as close to her as I dared. A blue Basque cap clung smoothly to her dark blonde hair.
Her hair had a satiny hue; it glistened faintly under the lights.

SW: Hennes hår hade en satinliknande nyans; det glimmade svagt under lamporna.

(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)

   She was slender, and firmly made. Her knees and legs were of the kind that convinced one that there could be no trace of lassitude or laziness in her make-up. The skin of her arms and the nape of her neck had all the freshness of a Nordic woman addicted to sunlight and wind. It was a clear ivory, with the blood pulsing close to the surface. I watched with the breathless excitement of a half-starved wanderer who sees lighted trees through windows on a raw Christmas night, feeling empty-handed and poor.

   I was so close now that I touched her. She looked up in a flash. She had full, mobile lips. Her eyes were gray and searching. "What are you doing here? What do you want of me?" they seemed to ask. I dropped my glance. I murmured a silly excuse. Then I fled, hot with shame and anger at myself.
   I had much to do that day. A large consignment of literature had to be smuggled aboard a French vessel bound for Saigon. It had to be done with utmost circumspection, for not a month passed in Cochin-China without some heads of communist militants falling under the guillotine. Willy Münzenberg had sent an Annamite "activist," Le Huan, to Antwerp with orders to proceed to Saigon. I had to take care of him. But all these duties failed to draw my mind away from the girl I had seen in the Museum of Art.
   I cursed at myself: "You fool, know your limits. Such a fine girl is not for you! Call her a bourgeois bitch, and be done with it. Stick to the Komsomol girls and the sluts from Skipper Street. To them you are like a king. To her, you are a nuisance, a scavenger, a rootless ragamuffin . . . Call her a bourgeois bitch, and be done with it!"
   Yet the next day and the days following I hastened to the Art Museum and skulked for hours through the high-ceilinged halls, suffering pain from the knowledge that I was neglecting my duties as a revolutionist. I could not find her in the Museum.
   The sun shone warm, and the people of Antwerp began to come out to sit gossiping on their stoops. It was March. Le Huan was on the way to Cochin-China, not knowing that he was going straight to his death in the Prison of Annam. A melancholy young Polish Jew, named Hirsch, arrived from Paris with a mandate to go to Galicia. I put him aboard a ship bound for Gdynia. I received three postcards from him, in which he wrote that all was going well in Poland. Then came a curt note from Berlin, instructing me to strike Comrade Hirsch off my list. Hirsch had been caught by police. Some months later, on June 12, he was hung for high treason in Lemberg. Our campaign of agitation went on with meetings in the International Clubs, propaganda among the dockers and rivermen, and furious paper attacks against the socialists and their unconquerable trade unions. There were huge consignments of printed matter, arriving from Berlin and Moscow, for shipment to Jamaica, to Siam, to India. The sun shone warmer, and the boldest of the café owners on the Meir put out their first tables on the sidewalk.
   And then I suddenly met her again. I was sauntering along the waterfront. The harbor was full of ships and noise. The air was redolent of tar and brine, and the Antwerp cathedral stood mas­sively against the blue sky. On a rusty bitt, at the edge of a wharf, sat the girl. Her legs dangled over the green water of the docks. Again she was drawing, her eyes leaping diligently from the paper to a conglomeration of river craft moored nearby, and back. Behind the river ships reared an assembly of cranes and sheds, and beyond them the roofs of Antwerp and the tower of the cathedral glistened in the sunlight.
   I came nearer. This time I would speak to her. In the workaday patchwork of sunlight and shadow she seemed far less distant than in the church-like sanctity of the Museum. The harbor was my domain.
   The river barges had romantic names. They hailed from Amster­dam and Strasbourg, and some had come all the way from Rouen and Paris. On their decks, men squatted in the sunshine. Some smoked their pipes, resting. Big-hipped women called to each other from ship to ship. A fat little dog was barking at a line of fluttering laundry. The girl had drawn the stern of a French Rhine barge. There were mooring lines and the large horizontal steering wheel, and a contented woman nursing a baby in the shadow of a companionway. The girl saw me. She gave me a smile of recognition. I looked at her drawing.
   "It looks real," I said. She flushed.
   "It is so difficult to capture the moods of the docks," she observed.
   "Have docks moods?"
   She laughed and closed her sketchbook. She was a girl who liked to laugh. She was not "bourgeois." Hers was a captivating sim­plicity that made the application of a label seem idiotic.
   "You’ve forgotten the name of the ship," I said. "A ship must have a name. It’s Oran."
   "Yes, yes. I must put in the name." She hesitated for a moment. Then she opened the book defiantly. "So—O-R-A-N."
   She spoke in English, as I had before her. She formulated each word with utmost care. With a light toss of her head, she said:

   "English is the language of sailors, no?"
   "That’s right."
   "Are you a sailor?"
   "Where is your ship?"
   "I’m ashore. I’m looking for another ship."
   "I have an uncle who was a captain. He always said a sailor without a ship is like a pastor without a church. Where did your last ship come from?"
   "From Galveston."
   "Where is Galveston?"
   "In America. In Texas."
   "Oh—I have heard of Texas. What did you bring to Ant­werp-en?"
   "Grain," I said.
   "Sailors are lucky, I think."
   "Ha, why?"
   The girl did not answer at once. Then she leaned back and said: "Panama, Sumatra, Honolulu, Madagascar, Oran. . . . I like the names so much."
   She drew up her knees and clasped her arms around them. She looked toward the river, where a large Japanese ship was outbound in the wake of smoking tugs.

   "Do you like Antwerp-en?" she queried.
   "Yes. Is it your home?"
   She shook her head. "I am here to study," she said seriously.
   "Are you an artist?"
   "Oh, no." She smiled quickly. "I still must learn how to use my eyes and hands. I love lines and colors when they have a meaning, like sounds and moods. I wanted to study in Paris, but my parents would not permit it. So I came to Flanders."
   "You look like a Flemish girl."
   "My mother was Flemish. Flanders is rich! The town of Ghent was once the Venice of the North. It once had more ships and merchant princes than all of England."
   "Do you admire merchant princes?"
   The girl laughed merrily. A ship nosed into the dock. The Danish flag flew from its stern. Hoarse yells from rough throats hung in the wind.
   "Where is your home?" asked the girl.
   "Wherever ships are," I said.
   "Look!" she cried out.
   A group of men clambered ashore from a British steamer tied to the wharf a little way off. They were Lascars, cadaverous fellows, with turbans on their heads and bright cotton shirts protruding from under sweaters fluttering about their thin thighs. As they passed us, a tall man with velvety deer eyes and a drooping mustache bared all his yellow teeth in a grin.
   "Stokers," I said.
   "Where are they going?"
   "To Skipper Street."
   The girl made a grimace of distaste, and said resolutely:

   "Sit quietly on this bitt. I shall try to make a sketch of you."
   "What will you call it?"
   " ’A sailor looking for a ship,’ " she replied. "Hook your thumbs in your belt, and sit still."
   We spoke little. Winches rumbled near and far. From the river drifted a ragged concert of siren blasts. The eyes of the girl were now intent and strangely impersonal. They shuttled between the sketchbook and me. I became as self-conscious as a schoolboy whose secrets were being dragged into the light. A small cluster of stevedores drew up, and glued their eyes to the girl. One of them shouted admiringly:

   "Ah, la garçonne!"

   He brought the tips of his toil-hardened fingers to his mouth, in the French manner, releasing them with the sound of a vigorous kiss. The girl answered with a mischievous glance in their direction.
   "Please, my friends," she said in Flemish, "try not to disturb me."
   After that, she was able to finish her sketch, while we talked of many things.
   I called her Firelei. The name fitted her well, I thought. We met as often during the following weeks as I could contrive to snatch a few hours’ leave from the constant rush of my duties. I was hopelessly, vehemently in love. I had considered love a hypocritical habit of the despised bourgeoisie. But now I wanted Firelei to be my mate and comrade at any price. She liked me. I was of a differ­ent tribe than the young men a girl of her type was wont to meet. She was at a loss to place me in any of the traditional categories of the social order she knew. In her eyes, I was neither bourgeois nor a worker, nor did I belong to the conventional bohème. She saw me as an individualist and a rebel. And Firelei, like most of post-war Europe’s best youth, was a rebel, too, a rebel against the conventions of a generation that had forfeited the privilege to show youth the way into the future. Youth had learned to cleave a path of its own. This we both understood and accepted. But Firelei knew nothing of the real nature of my work. "Communist" was a very unfashionable word in the Europe of 1930. It suggested unwashed individuals reeking of sweat and cheap coffee, gathering into hordes and yelling "Down!" in the streets. I feared that she would sever relations with me and flee if I told her who I was.
   Firelei was half German, half Flemish. Her father was a busi­nessman in Mainz on the Rhine. The German revolution of 1918 had come two months after her eleventh birthday. After her gradu­ation from a Lyceum, she had attended art school in Frankfort, and then in Munich, where she met an engineering student with whom she ran away on a hiking tour across the Alps. Her father, who had gone in pursuit, brought Firelei back to Mainz and maneuvered her into accepting a job in the advertising department of a fashion house. She worked for nearly three years in Mainz, uninterruptedly at war with her parents. The family was Deutsch-National; it moved in pro-monarchist circles. But Firelei detested soldiers and all authority that lives on a dogma and a uniform. She was sensitive and stubborn. Prolonged discontent and an inborn love of freedom made her reckless. She threw up her job, and went to Paris to develop further her clear artistic talent. The family implored, raged, begged her to return. In a German provincial town it was a disgrace to have a daughter run wild in Paris. Firelei, living ten days on bread and cheese, replied with a demand for a monthly allowance. They compromised by permitting her to go for a year to Antwerp, where she had an uncle, a retired sea captain who had lost his left leg on the Congo River. It was in his house that Firelei lived.
   Sometimes my work took me to Rotterdam, Ghent and Dun­kerque. I was away from Antwerp two and three days at a time. When Firelei came, eager to have my companionship, she often could not find me. Unavoidably she came to the conclusion that, for a sailor, I was leading a very strange life. Her uncle, a shrewd and physically powerful man, became suspicious of my activities. I did not want to lie to Firelei. I did not want to give her up. I decided to tell her the truth. Tossing and muttering in sleepless nights I came to the point where I decided to discard the Comintern, if need be, to win the girl I loved.
It was a hard fight. In my ears rang the words: ”Deserter! Traitor!”
Det var en hård kamp. I mina öron ringde orden: ”Desertör! Förrädare!"
   But the hold the Comintern has on the minds of its indentured servants can be compared only with the grip the Jesuit Order has on its members. Events of great magnitude ripening in India and Cochin-China swept me back to my post. Some four thousand Lascars served in the crews of British and German ships for which Antwerp was a regular port of call. These Lascars formed the pipeline through which the Comintern pumped an incessant stream of propaganda, instructions, and rank-and-file agents into all East Indian harbors. Moscow decreed an international Indian Week, during which a special campaign was to be waged in the ports of Europe, North and South America, the Arabian territories, South and East Africa, China and Indonesia.
Moskva beslutade om en internationell indisk vecka, under vilken en särskild kampanj skulle genomföras i hamnarna i Europa, Nord- och Sydamerika, de arabiska territorierna, Syd- och Östafrika, Kina och Indonesien.
   In Comintern circles there was already talk of "The Indian Revolution." Throughout the spring of 1930, many communists allowed themselves to become intoxicated with the prospects of "capsizing" the British Empire by bringing the Soviets to power in India. Aboard the Hansa liners from Hamburg, Bremen and Antwerp, Chinese communists trained at the Sun Yat-sen University in Moscow traveled to India with assignments to lead the masses of Chinese railway workers there to action. The strike of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR), joined by 125,000 workers, followed, and…
SW: Ombord på Hansalinjens fartyg från Hamburg, Bremen och Antwerpen reste kinesiska kommunister utbildade vid Sun Yat-sen University i Moskva till Indien i uppdrag att leda massorna av kinesiska järnvägsarbetare där till aktion. Det blev strejk på Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR), omfattande 125,000 arbetare, och...
…there was street fighting in Calcutta and other towns. The newly-founded Red Trade Union in India was under the direction of the Pan-Pacific Secretariat of the Profintern, which the American Earl Browder had established in 1927 in Shanghai with funds allotted him by Losovsky. In Peshawar, Garhwali and Gurtka, native East Indian soldiers mutinied when ordered to fire on rebellious workers. Communist units among the Sikhs led anti-imperialist demonstrations and attacks on police in Rangoon and Calcutta. In April, arsenals and police depots were raided in Bengal and Chittagong. Truckloads of rifles and munitions were distributed among the peasants of Eastern Bengal by the raiding detachments. On April 29th, communist units organized an attack on the Artillery Magazine located ten miles from Calcutta. There was street fighting in Madras. In Bombay, the workers stormed the Bank of India and forced the Stock Exchange to close. Moslem ”Red Shirt” battalions, which called themselves ”the Friends of God”, made their appearance. Our maritime office in Antwerp, through its well-organized contacts with the Docker´s Union of Calcutta, the chief gateway of revolutionary contraband from Russia and Europe, had a close connection with all of these events in distant India.
I Peshawar, Garhwali och Gurtka gjorde infödda östindiska soldater myteri när de beordrades att skjuta mot upproriska arbetare. Kommunistiska enheter bland sikherna ledde anti-imperialistiska demonstrationer och attacker mot polisen i Rangoon och Calcutta. I april attackerades arsenaler och polisdepåer i Bengalen och Chittagong. Hela lastbilslaster med gevär och ammunition distribuerades bland bönderna i östra Bengalen av förbanden som utfört räderna. Den 29 april organiserade kommunistiska enheter en attack mot Artillery Magazine, som ligger drygt 15 kilometer från Calcutta. Gatustrider utkämpades i Madras. I Bombay stormade arbetarna Bank of India och tvingade börsen att stänga. De muslimska Rödskjortsbataljonerna, som kallade sig ”Guds vänner”, dök upp. Vårt sjöfartskontor i Antwerpen stod i nära förbindelse med alla dessa händelser i det avlägsna Indien, tack vare de välorganiserade kontakterna med Calcuttas hamnarbetarförbund, den viktigaste porten för revolutionärt smuggelgods från Ryssland och Europa.
   My sense of duty toward the revolution plunged me into painful inner struggles. Had I the right to draw Firelei into such a life of conspiracy and violence? She meant infinitely more to me than the luckless Hindus. But I clung to the Comintern as a peasant clings to the land of his forbears. The Comintern was the earth which gave me life and purpose. And there was Firelei—rooted in a dif­ferent soil. I wrestled with the thought that she was far too good, too fine, to be destroyed in the Comintern service. I wrestled with the idea that I must discard one to win, and to keep, the other. I was afraid of the hidden weakness and potential treachery which is the heritage of every human being. It seemed much simpler to persist in the unthinking "Either—Or!" But where, I asked myself, lay triumph, and where defeat?
   One night Firelei became mine. I told her that I had been in prison. I told her that I was in the employ of the Communist International. I told her that I was proud to be a revolutionist, and that I never would be anything else. Firelei’s point of view was one of chaste and youthful idealism. Had not all the great thinker and poets and artists been revolutionists at heart? She knew nothing of the ugly realism of the communist movement.
In this respect, her mind was as virgin as a snow-white beach under a receding tide. I could make footprints in it almost at will. I taught Firelei to see Communism as a great advance toward human freedom, and left her ignorant of the brutal discipline and the chaining of all individual liberty in the Bolshevik ranks. I dwelt on communist heroism and readiness for selfless sacrifice, but steered her mind away from its barren materialism and cold-blooded gambling with other people´s lives.
I detta avseende var hennes sinne lika jungfruligt som en snövit strand under det sjunkande tidvattnet. Jag hade kunnat göra fotavtryck där nästan när som helst. Jag lärde Firelei att se kommunismen som ett stort framsteg mot mänsklig frihet, men höll henne i okunnighet om den brutala disciplinen och fjättrandet av all individuell frihet i bolsjevikernas led. Jag framhöll kommunistiskt hjältemod och beredvilligheten för osjälvisk uppoffring, men ledde bort hennes sinne från dess torftiga materialism och kallblodiga spel med andra människors liv.
   "When we gain power," I said to her, "all human suffering will end. Life will be joyous. Oppression, marching armies, unjust laws, hunger and wretchedness will be remembered only as specters of a vanquished past."
   Firelei had a woman’s inborn compassion for noble souls. I showed her a report from the Belgian Congo, describing the fearful conditions under which the wretched natives were forced to work in the copper mines and cotton districts around Bama and Leopoldsville.
   "It is against this inhumanity that we are fighting," I said.
   I showed Firelei another report, dealing with the lives of com­munists condemned by Fascist courts to the prison of Santo Stefano, an island five miles from Naples.
I told of prisoners chained in the hold of a ship, of men who were not permitted to see the sun or to hear a human voice year after year, of sickness and death in the dungeons, of a cemetery without names and crosses on the farthest end of the island, of bad food and gendarmes grown vicious out of boredom. Firelei had tears in her eyes.
Jag berättade om fångar som var fastkedjade i fartygslastrum, om män som i åratal inte fick se solen eller höra en mänsklig röst, om sjukdom och död i fängelsehålorna, om en kyrkogård utan namn och kors på bortersta delen av ön, om dålig mat och gendarmer som genom tristessen blivit ondskefulla. Firelei fick tårar i ögonen.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   "We must rescue them," I said. "For that we fight."
   I showed her a third report, which had come through from Saigon. It told of the struggle of the coolies for the right to organ­ize in Red unions, of strikes against the most pitiful wages on earth, of the ferocity of the Resident Governor of Annam and the French gendarmerie, of the killing of workers, and of the slaughter of peasants who had refused to pay exorbitant government taxes.
   "The coolies in Cochin-China feel and love like you and I do," I said. "They have a right to shape their own destiny. Their struggle is just, and we must fight to help them."
   I unfolded to Firelei a world that was like a gruesome picture-book of injustice and misery brought about by a handful of rich men in London, Paris, Brussels, and New York. She was not equipped to challenge this Marxist interpretation of poverty, mass-joblessness, and war. She idealized me and I idealized her. We were together now night after night, engulfed in a wave of delirious happiness that surpassed in intensity all conceptions we had had of the human capacity for unrestrained self-surrender. Not many days passed before she said:
   "Let me help you in your work."
   Firelei was not a communist. Her free-and-easy nature rebelled against being made a cog in an organization where blind obedience and totality of leadership were paramount. She volunteered her help out of a new feeling of comradeship, and out of an altruistic desire to alleviate the suffering of helpless people. I strove to keep her away from the ugly phases of communist practice. She painted posters, drew caricatures, and designed decoration schemes for the International Clubs. She became fascinated by motifs that had hitherto been completely beyond her horizon. Her work had originality because she knew nothing of the Russian pattern, and it soon attracted the attention of the propaganda department of the Western Secretariat. "Who is the comrade who can draw so well?" asked a letter from Berlin. I ignored the inquiry. Firelei was more interested in the constellations of lines and colors, and the effects they could exercise on the emotions—including her own, than in the strategy and tactics of political conspiracy.
   We discovered that we had in common a love of the sea, of growing things, and of a life of motion. Each week I deserted my Comintern duties for one day to hire a boat and go sailing with Firelei on the lower reaches of the Schelde. At times we sailed to Vlissingen for a walk over the dunes and to spend a night around a fire on the beach. We swam, won friends among fisherfolk, made love, dug for clams, and I taught Firelei what I knew of the stars and planets overhead. For the moment we asked no more. We belonged to each other.
   Firelei’s uncle grew more belligerent each time his niece returned home defiantly at dawn. I came to regard him as my personal enemy. Most Flemings are easy-going, but they can be brusque and harsh when their own interest or the honor of their clan is involved. The retired sea captain at first only threatened to send Firelei back to her parents in Mainz. As the girl continued to defy his ideas of propriety, he resorted to violence. One day Firelei came to me pale and disturbed.
   "Uncle Bert has tried to lock me up." Her laughter had a faintly hysterical note. "I did not permit it and he beat me. What shall I do now?"
   "Move out," I said. "Make no concessions. Bring him to his knees."
   "Where should I go?"
   "To me."
   "Naturally. But they’ll stop my allowance."
   "Freedom is worth more than money."
   "But you’ve barely enough to live on yourself."
   It was true. The larger part of my monthly salary dribbled away to meet unexpected organizational expenses, and there were months in which I received no pay at all. The Comintern had a way of demonstrating to its employees their dependence on the treasuries in Moscow and Berlin by sudden stoppages of subsidies. Such sporadic periods of penury were a loyalty test devised by the thrifty Piatnitzky. However, they never lasted longer than a month.
   "When you and I are together, there’s no obstacle we cannot overcome," I said to Firelei.
   From then on we lived together. Firelei’s uncle refused to allow her to take her belongings from the house.
   "Beware of the sailor," he warned her. "Only a renegade discards his home."
   I mobilized a squad of communist longshoremen for a night raid on the old sea captain’s house. Firelei’s belongings, which included several trunks full of books, were transferred without a serious mishap to my quarters under the roof of a six-story tenement facing Ant­werp’s marketplace. Our abode was rather unkempt and gloomy when Firelei moved in, but after a few busy days her sense of beauty and harmony transformed it into a cheerful anchorage for both of us. The walls were painted with good ship’s paint filched from boat lockers by some of my seafaring aides; the furniture was restored and rearranged; pictures found their places on the walls, bookshelves were installed, and Firelei saw to it that there were always flowers about the room. It was the nearest thing to a home I had had in the twelve years since the Great War.
   Up to this time Firelei had rarely met any of my communist associates. Now it became unavoidable that she would meet them more frequently and observe them at close range. These com­munists were not of the local Party organization, with which I had little to do, but men and women engaged in the international Apparat of the Comintern, passing through Antwerp on their vari­ous missions. At times they stayed overnight at my den, and, accepting as a matter of course that Firelei was a member of the service, they often spoke without reservation, as men will in a place they consider safe after a long and hazardous journey. It became apparent to Firelei that communist activities were closely linked with the Soviet secret police.
   One of my visitors—en route from England to Berlin—was a Macedonian whose name was on the "wanted" list of every polit­ical police in Europe in connection with the assassination in Sofia of Nikolaus Mileff shortly after the latter’s appointment as Bul­garian envoy to Washington. Another, a Eurasian Bolshevik, told of his escape from Pamekasan Prison on Madura Island in the Dutch East Indies, where some six hundred leaders of the armed insurrection of 1926-1927 in Java and Sumatra were confined. This emaciated Eurasian, who called himself "Waldemar," was a cutthroat who might have fitted into any pirate tale. Before his trans­fer to Madura Island, he had spent two years in the Digul River prison camps in the jungles of Dutch New Guinea under harrow­ing conditions. He prided himself on having organized prison mutinies and engineered the murder of several guards. "With this," he said abruptly pulling a long thin dagger from under his belt and caressing it in Firelei’s presence. He had come to Antwerp as a stowaway from Singapore. I escorted him to Verviers, where the communist in charge of the border station smuggled him through the frontier woods to Aachen and put him aboard a train bound for Berlin. Still another, a Russian waiting in Antwerp for a Soviet steamer to take him to Leningrad, tried to create a favorable im­pression on the silently listening Firelei by telling her of his exploits as a G.P.U. agent in Bangkok, where he claimed to have pressed a number of maids of the Rajhani Hotel into a Soviet commercial espionage organization which called itself "Association of Em­ployees of Europeans."
   The more Firelei learned of the underground machine of the Comintern, the more pronounced became her distaste for the com­munist movement as a whole. The single-track fanaticism, the matter-of-fact callousness, and the intolerance of many of the communists she met, appalled her.
   "How can people who talk of nothing but destruction and bloodshed lead humanity to freedom and happiness?" she asked.
   "You must understand that we are at war," I answered. "The purpose of war is to annihilate the enemy. We must destroy before we can build anew.”
   "But why must we borrow the methods from Russia? Every­thing you do is aimed at violence. I don’t like violence."
   "Every birth is like a revolution—violent! Even the most gentle child enters life amid screams and blood."
   "I have so much to learn," Firelei said.
   "You must learn how to hate," I told her.
   "I wish we could go away and live our own lives," Firelei concluded.

   One night I returned very late from a dash to Rotterdam. I was surprised to see that the light was still burning in our room. Firelei was not asleep. I found her poring over a sheaf of manuscripts I had written, partly in San Quentin and partly during odd hours, to take my mind off the often sickening pressure of Comintern business. The stack included the manuscript of a book, and a num­ber of short sketches and articles dealing with the experiences and observations of my early years aboard sailing ships. Firelei’s voice was tinged with jubilation.
   "This is a discovery!" she exclaimed. "Why have you never told me that you write? Why don’t you send these pieces out to be published? Let’s do it! I think they are vivid, really good."
   I saw at once that Firelei hoped that my writing could open for her and me a life away from the Comintern.
   "They are not Marxist," I said. "I just wrote them because I dream sometimes of going back to a sailor’s life."
   "Just because of that! Let me send them out."
   She begged irresistibly. Next morning she went to the city library to explore publications likely to accept material portraying the ways of ships and sailors. The following days she toiled at my typewriter, putting a number of manuscripts she had selected into shape. She worked devotedly, and with an enthusiasm that astonished me. The book manuscript which I had named "Scum’s Wake" she promptly dispatched to a publishing house in New York. A description of a sailing vessel maneuvering through a foggy English Channel night went to the Blue Peter, a nautical magazine appearing in London. A story of Heligoland, to which Firelei affixed the title "Silver Bridges," was sent to a tourist peri­odical in Hamburg, and an account of my stowaway voyage from Shanghai to Vancouver was put on its way to a New York travel magazine. Firelei continued to re-type more of my manuscripts during spare hours.
   Weeks flew by fast. And then came one triumph after another to the girl I loved. Blue Peter accepted my article, "Fog." From New York came a fairly handsome check for my stowaway yarn, and the German tourist journal was equally fast in paying for "Silver Bridges." The American publishing house reported that "Scum’s Wake" was under consideration. The magazine editors asked me to send them more stories. I stared at the checks, not knowing what to do. I was half bewildered by such unlooked-for success, and apprehensive of a publicity I did not want. For me to write for bourgeois publications was like trading with the enemy. But not so to Firelei.
   "Follow it up," she pushed me with bright eagerness. "Write some more."      Firelei did all she could to overcome my foolish resistance.
   "Go on writing," she urged. "In this way we will win freedom."
   "Freedom from what?"
   "From people who hold you in their hands like a pawn."
   "Listen," I objected. "I belong to the Comintern."
   "You belong to yourself—and to me!"
   "I cannot do it. I believe that loyalty to a chosen cause is the greatest thing in a man’s life."
   Firelei came close to me. She murmured endearments.
   "Let us be ourselves," she said. "We need not be dependent. We are fit enough to shape our own destiny. We need not rummage in secrecy and ugliness."
   Firelei was afraid of the future. She knew enough now of the Comintern service to realize that, sooner or later, it would disrupt and smash any harmonious relationship between any man and woman in its ranks.
   "What is on your mind?" I asked her brusquely.
   "Shall I tell you?"
   "I want a baby."
   I could not find the answer to give her. We had never spoken of marriage. We both believed that a union between a man and a woman cannot be made holier or more enduring by the official blessings of a functionary or a clergyman. But we both believed that it was a crime to have a child when the possibility of bringing it up in security and happy surroundings was lacking, and when the parents lived in constant fear of sudden flight or of a prolonged plunge into prison.
   "I am bound to serve the cause as long as I live," I said, well aware of waverings inside.
   "Write, all the same. You may change your mind some day," Firelei said quietly.
   I found time to write. I played with the idea of breaking away and striking out on my own the way a soldier toys with the thought of deserting his muddy trench to return to a distant home­stead, never earnestly believing that it can be realized. The ties which held me shackled to the communist machine were stronger than I cared to admit to myself. Nevertheless, I wrote, with Firelei at my side. Whenever I began a piece, I finished it in a single sit­ting which usually ended at dawn. Five or six articles and stories, all of which had the sea as their background, went out to various magazines. The editors sent me checks in return, and printed what I had written. Strangely enough, all this did not excite me at all. I took it as a matter of course, in the belief that "there is nothing a Bolshevik cannot do." Had I not won Firelei? My self-confidence still bordered on the monstrous. I would not have shied away from an assignment to sail a canoe around Cape Horn or to take charge of the government of Afghanistan. Meanwhile Firelei was making plans for my literary career, and talked of renting a fisherman’s cottage on a desolate spot of the Flanders coast.
   The end of this period of wavering came like a sudden awaken­ing from a long and erratic dream. It came in the form of a mes­senger from Ernst Wollweber in Berlin. The messenger was Michel Avatin, the Lett, whom I had helped to conduct across the ocean aboard the Montpelier six years earlier. The years, it seemed, had not made him older. Compact, firm-faced, swift-moving and ever at ease, he appeared one evening at the International Club in Ant­werp and embarked immediately on a thorough overhauling of the organization which I had a mandate to direct. I liked to work with Avatin. He was efficient and incorruptible. His reputation in the Comintern was that of a man who never crawled, never begged favor, never accorded mercy to shirkers. He was known to have friends and backers high in the councils of the G.P.U. and the Russian Party. But he was the kind of man who never demanded anything of anyone that he would not be able and willing to do himself.
   Avatin exercised many functions as a representative of the For­eign Division of the G.P.U.
His routine check-up on the soundness of the Comintern’s international Apparat in the Lowlands was only part of his mission.
SW: Hans rutinmässiga kontroll av pålitligheten hos Kominterns internationella apparat i området kring Nederländerna var bara en del av hans uppdrag.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   His main job was that of director of the Party’s "S-Apparat," the espionage department, in Germany and the smaller adjoining countries. In Antwerp, he requested my assistance in compiling a select list of little-known but reliable young com­munists to be planted within the Russian White Guard organiza­tions in Belgium and Holland. Avatin also went into conference with one of his aides, who was an employee of the Italian consulate in Antwerp. Mussolini’s Ovra was very active in luring exiled Italian revolutionists to Southern France, particularly to Marseilles, where they were occasionally abducted to Italy. The conference between the Lettish spy hunter and the Italian took place in the suburban office of Comrade Anton, the resident agent of the G.P.U. in Antwerp.
   "When you catch an Ovra spy, what do you do with him?" I asked Michel Avatin.
   "We cross-examine the unimportant ones, then give them a hard beating, and let them flee. The dangerous spies we execute, to strike fear into their colleagues."
   Abruptly, while we were striding along a street, Avatin said: "Take me to your quarters. I have instructions for you from Com­rade Wollweber."
   "But I am not under Wollweber’s jurisdiction."
   "Perhaps you are. He has taken over our military work in Central Europe."
   The tone in which Avatin said this was casual, but I thought it had a mildly ominous undertone. "Central Europe" embraced Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands and Belgium. We mounted the six flights of stairs to my garret quarters. In a flash Avatin’s eyes had taken in every detail of the place. Firelei was there. There was a startled look in her eyes. Her lips parted, she moved forward to greet the Lett, a stranger to her. It was obvious that Avatin’s appearance—a strongly masculine mixture of Viking and Mongol—had instantly caught her artistic interest.
   Michel Avatin shot a questioning glance in my direction.
   "She is my comrade," I said.
   "Party member?"
   "I regret," Avatin muttered. "Please ask her to leave us alone for one hour."
   Firelei picked up a book, and left the apartment without uttering a word.


Chapter Sixteen


AS MICHEL AVATIN FACED ME SQUARELY, he was the image of all the power of the Comintern and the G.P.U. He possessed the uncompromising poise of a fanatic who regarded himself as a member of the ruling caste of one-sixth of the surface of the earth.
   "How can you, an international representative engaged in illegal work," he demanded, "allow someone who is not a Party member to know an address on the secrecy of which depends the safety of our conspirative Apparat?"
   "Which address?"
   "This address. Your address. "
   "The girl is trustworthy," I said.
   "Trustworthiness is a mere assumption until it has been tested in the fire," countered Avatin. "She is not a Party member."
   Our conversation became increasingly bitter. A Party spy in the Antwerp Apparat had collected a lot of details about my personal life, and reported them to Comrade Anton who, doing his duty as a G.P.U. representative, had included them in his regular reports to Berlin. Avatin spoke quite frankly about this system of "mutual Bolshevist control." The reports had reached Ernst Wollweber who, with the assent of Dimitrov, had just then decided to place me in charge of the illicit traffic in firearms from Belgium to Ger­many. It was shortly after Chancellor Brüning, the Catholic leader, had dissolved the Reichstag and fixed September 14 as the date for a general election. The election struggle was being carried on in a spirit of civil war. To the surprise of all, the Nazi Party, under Hitler and Göring, struck out for power with unexpected ferocity. Communists fought Socialists. Socialists fought the Hitler troops. Hitler guards fought Communists. Ernst Thälmann, the Communist Party figurehead, had announced: "After the destruction of the Socialists, the final struggle for power in Germany will be between Bolshevism and Fascism." The military section of the German Communist Party needed arms which were hard to get in Germany. They had to be smuggled in from the border coun­tries. Wollweber had selected me to take charge of this enterprise on the Belgian side. The fact that Firelei was not a trained and tested Party member, endangered—in communist eyes—not only this project, but also all other illegal enterprises with which I was connected.
   "You are long enough in the movement to understand this," said Avatin. "You must either drop your girl or make a communist of her. Let danger test her loyalty. Then we will welcome her warmly."
   "I suppose the alternative is that I’ll be kicked out of the Party?"
   "There is no such alternative."
   "I know it."
   "We cannot release anyone who has worked in the Apparat. What is a girl? The world is full of girls. To us, the Party is every­thing, the beginning and end of all things."
   "Perhaps Firelei does not want to enter the Party."
   "If she loves you—and does not want to lose you—she will become a member of our Party," Avatin said.
   "And otherwise both she and I would have to go to the Soviet Union?"
   "That is the only way, comrade."
   Avatin had a way of suddenly changing his tune. Now he used persuasion, and spoke like an anxious friend. "Comrade, the path you are taking is the wrong path." Now he spoke with the double-edged pride of a zealous officer about to lead his troops to glory and death. "We live for the revolution—it is impossible for us to live any other life."
   Totalitarian faith and reckless obedience won. Avatin and I and countless others knew only one master—the Party and the Comin­tern, and had but one obsession, that the battle for revolution was the only worthwhile aim in our age. It was Parteibefehl that I should discard Firelei or win her unconditionally to the cause. It was Parteibefehl that I should cease writing for publications which Leninist theory identified with the enemy camp. I stopped writing. I scrapped my dreams of independence which now looked insipid and false. I became rude when Firelei hesitated to let me bend her to my will. I purchased guns in Brussels and Antwerp and had them smuggled into Germany by maritime couriers. I worked to exhaustion so as not to have time to think. I was violently at war with the avid individualist who was my other self. A strange harsh­ness took hold of me, and I trampled on the beauty and tenderness I had barely learned to cherish. Firelei left me, horrified, not com­prehending the sudden change. I traced her, and all night I stood on the street in front of her refuge and roared her name like a wild beast. Two policemen brought me to my senses. They released me after I explained that I was not a madman.
   After four days’ absence, Firelei returned to me. Her infatua­tion was stronger by far than her instinctive insistence on a normal way of life. Her capacity for self-abasement was as great as mine.

   During the following two weeks, rush work kept me busy for sixteen hours a day and more. Two middle-aged men, who looked like prosperous merchants, came to Antwerp by airplane from Paris with credentials from Dimitrov. I had been advised by the Western Secretariat in Berlin, in a coded message, to assist the two arrivals in every possible way. The two were the chiefs of the South Amer­ican bureau of the Communist International with headquarters in Paris. One was Gustav Sabottka, a Czech, who also headed Mos­cow’s international campaigns among the miners. The other was a quiet-spoken Russian or Pole, who used an American passport and was known to communists in Belgium and France as "Comrade René." Both had a formidable reputation in the confidential circles of the Soviet secret service abroad. They were accompanied by two smart-looking female secretaries and a bodyguard of three Frenchmen of the Paris Red Front League. The girls smelled of eau-de-cologne and the men of atrocious French cigars. Comrade Anton and I had a communist family move from its home in the Merxem suburb, to provide a temporary abode for the South American bureau. In such cases, secret private quarters were essen­tial, because hotels were obliged to report their guest lists daily to the police.
   The newcomers’ sudden descent on Antwerp had to do with the Comintern’s preparations for major coups in a number of South American countries. In most of these countries the Communist Parties operated illegally, necessitating the maintenance of a system of communications which was independent of the mails and cables. For this purpose, we had a net of maritime couriers on ships sailing out of Marseilles, but a sudden raid by the French Sûreté, in con­nection with communist schemes in Syria and the Near East, had disrupted the Marseilles organization. So it had been decided to move the communications center for South America to Antwerp, until the damage suffered in Marseilles could be repaired.
   The organizations at my command in Rotterdam and Antwerp now concentrated for a number of days exclusively on pressing communists, sailing on ships in the South American run, into the Comintern courier service. As a safeguard, they were freed from all regular Party duties. Huge batches of printed matter and much money went to Buenos Aires and Montevideo. These emergency couriers were virtual prisoners of the international Apparat, under the surveillance of our lynx-eyed watchers and G.P.U. operatives on the docks of the terminal ports on both sides of the Atlantic. We took these precautions to prevent consignments from becom­ing "lost." Even out at sea a courier was under the secret surveil­lance of a fellow-communist in the vessel’s crew.
Most of the propaganda literature shipped from Antwerp was destined for distribution among Latin American armies and navies, exhorting the men to mutiny in case of an acute crisis. I learned that astonishing numbers of undercover agents were on their way to South American states. The Communist Parties there were known to have strong anarchist tendencies. Moscow did not trust the Latin American leaders out of sight, and therefore had them amply covered with Comintern supervisors.
Det mesta av propagandalitteraturen som skickades från Antwerpen var avsedd för distribution bland latinamerikanska arméer och flottor och uppmanade männen till myteri i händelse av en akut kris. Jag fick veta att ett häpnadsväckande stort antal hemliga agenter var på väg till sydamerikanska stater. Kommunistpartierna där var kända för att ha starka anarkistiska tendenser. Moskva vågade inte släppa de latinamerikanska ledarna utom synhåll, och övervakade dem därför med en riklig mängd handledare från Komintern.

(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)

   Sabottka and René were well satisfied with the prompt way in which I adapted my organization to serve their emergency needs. René became particularly friendly with me. He intimated that he could use me as an organizer on South American rivers. Both of them, beyond a tentative effort at flirtation, ignored Firelei. Sabottka referred to her, in speaking to me, as "your enticing bour­geois wife." I resented it bitterly. But I did my duty as a communist. Private likes and dislikes had no right to survive. René pulled my hair in a fatherly manner.

   "I shall mention your excellent co-opera­tion in my next report to Moscow," he promised.

   Firelei’s father appeared unexpectedly in Antwerp. He came to take his daughter back to Germany. Since Firelei wished that I should speak to him, I met him in a hotel room I had rented for the interview. He was a well-preserved and slightly paunchy man, with red cheeks and the outward signs of opulence. He had come, ex­pecting to see his daughter. Instead, he found me. From the first instant I met him as an enemy, determined to repulse him swiftly, ruthlessly, and finally. Inside, I felt I was soft. Brutal aggression was the best defense against this softness.
   "Was wünschen Sie?" I asked, with forced bluntness.

   "Where is my daughter?" the man asked huskily.
   "Your daughter belongs to me!"
   The man pleaded and blustered like a desperate beggar under a rich man’s portal. He squirmed and implored. He made threats. He asked for consideration and pity. I was sorry for him. I became un­necessarily cruel.

   "Leave now or I’ll throw you down the stairs," I threatened.
   Firelei’s father departed, shaking his fist at me.
   "I’m going to have your past investigated," he half shouted, half mut­tered. "I’ll make it as hot as hell for you—you communist!"
  To him, I knew, I was a vicious hoodlum. I told Firelei what had happened.
She suddenly recalled that it was her father’s birthday. That made her restive. For a long time she moved aimlessly about the room. She mentioned the rollicking festivals with which her family traditionally celebrated the birthdays of any of their clan. There would be a festival that night at Uncle Bert’s. There would be wine and champagne and tables laden with food. On past occa­sions, Firelei had spoken of these jamborees with disgust, and had said: "They are gobbling and guzzling away a thousand marks in one night while people outside must gnaw dry bread." Now Firelei decided to go to the home of her sea-captain uncle to placate her father, and to try for some sort of truce with the family.
   "I will make it clear to him that there is no reason why they should worry and suffer because of me," Firelei said.
   "Do you intend to go alone?"
   "No. We’ll go together. We have nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing to fear."
   We went late. A meeting had detained me. Approaching the house, a well-constructed three-story building of gray stone and brick, with a carefully tended little garden on one side, we heard the muffled sounds of feasting. A group was singing—
"Trink, trink Brüderlein trink,
"Lasset die Sorgen zu Hause . . .”
   I rang the bell. A Flemish maid opened the front door. Firelei walked through the vestibule to a large living room. Many people were there. I heard the clinking of glasses. The furniture had been moved aside to make room for dancing. The singing continued. A jovial roar arose as Firelei entered the living room, but when I fol­lowed her all the people suddenly became silent. I felt the hostility in their heavy stares. Then one of the men rose, and stumped toward me. He was a broad-shouldered Fleming with a full, once weather-beaten face and iron-gray hair. He was Firelei’s uncle. It was not easy to discern that one of his legs was artificial. His out­stretched arm pointed toward the door.
   "Leave my house," he said.
   "If you make him leave, I shall leave with him," Firelei said.
   Seconds loaded with painful consternation followed. Firelei’s father pushed forward, muttering. Other men began to grumble. A woman gasped:
   "Jesus-Maria, what a girl!"
   "Leave my house!" the one-legged sea-captain repeated im­periously.
   "What is the matter with you all?" asked Firelei.
   I now faced her father.
   "I’m sorry about this morning," I mumbled. "Let’s try to talk sense."
   Five or six people rose, and tramped past us to get their hats.
Others walked about the room, not knowing what to do.
SW: Andra gick runt i rummet utan att veta vad de skulle göra.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   There was general confusion. Someone crashed his fist on a table. A carafe was pushed over and splintered. A woman rocked to and fro, her hands clasped to her face. Firelei stood immobile. Her left hand touched her throat. Her slender form was upright in the commo­tion. Her face was pallid. Her eyes showed amazement, her lips bewilderment and scorn. The one-legged man stood in front of me, both hairy fists raised high. He roared into my face:
   "How can you do such a thing to me? How can you do such is thing to me?"
   Other men gathered around us. The thought of being pounced upon by a number of enraged and half-drunk citizens seemed ridic­ulous. The men were advancing, and I backed against a wall, look­ing for Firelei. An elderly woman with black curls grasped Firelei’s wrists, and was trying to drag her into an adjoining room. She struggled to free herself. Another woman and a man seized her arms and jerked her about. Meanwhile, the advancing men, led by the sea-captain, were pushing me toward the street door.
   "How can you do such a thing to me?" he raged.
   "Shut up," I yelled. "You’re crazy!"
   "Go," he shouted with all the force of his lungs. "Go, I tell you, go!"
   It was a bitter burlesque. I suddenly lunged forward, and the men gave way. I leaped across the room where Firelei was still struggling, her dress torn. Her assailants were terrified. They let her go. The one-legged man, his eyes blazing under thick brows, interfered. Firelei cried:
   "Uncle Bert, you drank too much, you don’t know what you’re doing."
   The front door slammed with such force that the house vibrated. A man had fallen over the table. He wept. The sea-captain seized Firelei’s shoulders. He almost lifted her off the floor.
   "A disgrace! A damned disgrace!" he shouted madly.
   Firelei’s father joined him.
   "You won’t inherit a penny," he threatened. "I won’t give you the dirt under a fingernail."
   He seemed to have gone berserk. Sounds like those of fog-horns came from the throat of the one-legged man:
   "A disgrace! Freethinkers and whores!"
   Firelei struck him across the mouth. He was silenced.
   The black-haired woman wailed, "Our girl, our baby .. ."
   Firelei was disheveled and frantic. Never had she expected a welcome like this. I led her out of the house. We hurried down the street. For a dozen paces the one-legged man stumped behind us. Then he stopped.
   We went in the direction of the harbor. Brassy music brayed from behind the windows of the dives. Sailors rolled toward pleasure. At the corners, prostitutes smoked cigarettes and coaxed passing mariners.
   "This was beastly," I panted.
   "It was pitiful," Firelei said.
   We walked on in silence, skirting the bank of the Schelde until we came to the gloomy battlements of the Steen, an ancient fortress of the Jesuits.
   "And now—what?" I asked Firelei.
   "Where you go—I go," she answered.
   Another week passed. Firelei had stubbornly refused to register as a member of the Party, which to her was an alien, impersonal monster.
   "Men were not made for uniforms," she said emphatically. "Neither real ones, nor spiritual ones. I can help you in all sincer­ity without yelling ’Hurrah!’ or ’Down’ at things I know so little about."
   My nerves were frayed, my attitude toward Firelei became un­fair. I was worn out from overwork and lack of sleep. I was no longer sure of my footing. Life seemed an idiotic carnival, a sense­less clamor without respite and joy. One day, Firelei asked me:
   "Why must you hurt me when you are dissatisfied with yourself?"
   "Am I hurting you?"
   And then I rushed off to meet René. He was in the company of the eternally calm and mournful Comrade Anton. Also present was an intelligent-looking young man I had not seen before. He was a German, Karl S., a graduate of the Western University in Moscow. He had been sent to Antwerp to relieve me of my duties. I was given another assignment.
   "You will acquaint Comrade Karl with the details of your Ap­parat," René said, adding with a fine smile, "I have made arrange­ments with Comrade Walter. You are going on a trip to Buenos Aires. Your steamer is leaving Southampton in two days. Tell no one where you are going. We shall spread the intelligence that you have returned to Germany."
   Little time remained to prepare for my departure. I surrendered to Karl S. all the material, contacts and information he needed to carry on. Then I hastened to the garret that had been home to Firelei and myself through four crowded months. I was standing in front of the bed, packing a suitcase, when Firelei came in. With­out saying a word she stepped close to me and put her arms around my neck. But my thoughts were already at the La Plata.
   "Please leave me alone," I said.
   "Why should I leave you alone?"
   "I don’t know. I have no time. You disturb me."
   Firelei laughed.
   "Grumpy-one," she said. "A pleasant welcome you give me. . . . Or is it farewell? Are you going away?"
   "Yes, tonight."
   "Where? I am going with you."
   "I’m going for the Comintern. I must go alone. I cannot tell you where I am going, but I shall be back before long."
   I pretended that I did not hear her sigh. She disengaged her arms, and slumped into a chair.
   "Jan," she said, using the name I had adopted for the Lowlands waterfront, "Jan, listen to me, I want to talk to you."
   "Go ahead."
   "Tell me, am I no more to you than a handy object in bed?"
   I stopped packing.
   "No," I said, "you are my comrade."
   "Comrade!" she cried, "I hate the word. I hate the bed. I hate the dreary life we are leading. You are always away. You never come to me before midnight. You do not even ask me for food or money. Must it be like that? Must we be so miserably empty when we are together? Why don’t we take a holiday and walk through the fields? Why can’t we get some flowers and some wine, and have an evening to ourselves?"
   I saw her fight back the tears. Firelei was ashamed of tears.
   "I’m sorry I have made you suffer," I said. "But can’t you under­stand that we are in the midst of the biggest social upheaval of all times, that I follow the most sublime aim any man can follow? I belong to the Cause; I belong to it brain and hide. You’ve said to me once ’Where you go—I go.’ I wish you would follow me. No word has a deeper meaning than the word Comrade."
   "I cannot, Jan."
   Firelei’s face was ghastly pale. Her lips twitched. The tip of her left foot tapped the floor in a nervous tattoo.
   "Why can’t you?" I demanded harshly.
   "Because I can see how these last months have changed you. You have become a serf. A fanatical serf. Whenever you speak of the Party, the muscles in your face seem frozen hard and your eyes are cruel and wild. The Cause, always the Cause."
   "It’s splendid," I said, "and true!"
   "It’s ugly," she answered. "It takes everything and gives nothing."
   "That’s not ugly."
   "Yes, it’s ugly—a mass of sweating, shouting scarecrows is ugly!"
   Firelei crossed the room to where a water color portrait, which she had made of herself in front of a mirror, was fastened on the wall. It had been remarkably well done. She paused in front of it, her eyes scanning every line of the picture.
   "Look," she said, "this is I. My breasts are small and firm, my legs are slender and strong, the lines of my hips are enticing and my voice is melodious. I know it, because you have told me so. My eyes are gray, and they like to laugh. When they laugh, they sparkle. They tell me that I belong to you with body and soul. You are much stronger than I. What you make of me, I am."
   "You are my comrade," I said.
   "Am I?" Firelei smiled. "I dreamt that you had a powerful dog. The dog had the face of Avatin. It forced me to eat in one room while you ate in another. Then you saw me give poison to your dog, and you came and broke my wrists and struck me in the face with the plate from which the dog was eating. When I fell, you told the dog to kill me."
   "Firelei! Firelei!" I shouted.
   She was still gazing at her likeness. She turned.
   "Don’t shout," she said softly.
   I implored her to be sensible.
   "How can I be sensible when you are out of your mind?" she answered serenely.
   I hesitated, and said:
   "I shall take a later train to Vlissingen."
   "No," Firelei replied. "You still have an hour before the last train. You are going to England? I have bought candles and a bottle of Madeira. Let us put on our best clothes. Then we will darken the room and light the candles. Let’s pretend you’ve just come back from your voyage."
   I boarded the liner Monte Pascoal at Southampton Roads, travel­ing second class, and armed with credentials purporting me to be a representative of the Universum Publishing House in Berlin. The contraband I carried included six reels of film in flat steel cases. I did not know the contents of the films. All I knew was that Sabottka and René attached great importance to having them safely de­livered to the central Profintern office in Montevideo (Confederacion Sindical Latino Americana). I also carried several large money envelopes, which were to be called for by one of Arthur Ewert’s South American couriers. Money for Latin America was usually transmitted through the Soviet Trade Delegation (Yujamtorg) in Buenos Aires. In Comintern circles it was understood—though never mentioned or discussed—that funds not sent by cable, but by secret courier, consisted of currency forged for the Comintern by German craftsmen in Berlin. This was especially true of Ger­man, Belgian, French and American currency in denominations of 100. I did not know whether the money I carried to Buenos Aires was counterfeit or not. Its transmission, however, was organized with extraordinary circumspection. It was a very large sum. How large, I had no way of knowing. The three envelopes were marked A, U, and C—Argentine, Uruguay, Chile. Before my departure, there had arrived a beautiful cowhide suitcase built by an expert in Berlin. The money envelopes were placed into its hollow cover in the presence of René, Comrade Anton, and myself. Anton then glued the lining into place. To gain access to the consignment, it would now be necessary to cut open the cover of the suitcase. I then filled the suitcase with harmless papers of the Universum Publishers and with soiled laundry. "It is almost fool-proof," Rene smiled. "It makes you feel secure. When one feels secure, one acts inconspicuously."
   I had paid the rent for my garret quarters for three months in advance. I would be back, I hoped, within sixty days. Firelei prom­ised to face this period of loneliness bravely.
   During the voyage to Montevideo I brushed up on my Spanish, became the most persistent visitor of the ship’s library, and slept much, and conscientiously avoided all personal contacts with my fellow passengers. Vigo, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro and Santos were ports of call. I resisted the powerful lure of these ports with success. I did not go ashore with the gay caravans of sightseers, because I was afraid to leave my contraband at the mercy of any possibly inquisitive steward or ship detective.
SW: Jag gick ombord på oceanfartyget Monte Pascoal vid Southampton Roads. Jag reste i andra klass och var försedd med dokument som påstod att jag var representant för Universum Förlag i Berlin. Smuggelgodset som jag bar inkluderade sex rullar film i plåtfodral. Jag kände inte till innehållet i filmerna. Allt jag visste var att Sabottka och René lade stor vikt vid att få dem säkert levererade till det centrala Profintern-kontoret i Montevideo (Confederacion Sindical Latino Americana). Jag fraktade också flera stora kuvert med pengar, som skulle tas emot av en av Arthur Ewerts sydamerikanska kurirer. Pengar till Latinamerika överfördes vanligtvis via den sovjetiska handelsdelegationen (Yujamtorg) i Buenos Aires. I Kominternkretsar var det underförstått - även om det aldrig nämnts eller diskuterats - att medel som inte telegraferades, utan skickades med en hemlig kurir, bestod av förfalskad valuta skapad för Komintern av tyska yrkesmänniskor i Berlin. Detta gällde särskilt tysk, belgisk, fransk och amerikansk valuta i valörer om 100. Jag visste inte om pengarna som jag tog till Buenos Aires var förfalskade eller inte. Överföringen av dem var emellertid organiserad med extraordinär försiktighet. Det var en mycket stor summa. Hur stor, kunde jag inte avgöra. De tre kuverten var märkta A, U och C - Argentina, Uruguay, Chile. Före min avfärd hade det kommit en vacker läderväska byggd av en expert i Berlin. Penningkuverten placerades i det ihåliga fodralet i närvaro av René, kamrat Anton och mig själv. Anton limmade sedan fodret på plats. För att få tillgång till försändelsen skulle det nu vara nödvändigt att klippa upp resväskan. Jag fyllde sedan resväskan med harmlösa papper från Universum Förlag och med smutstvätt. "Det är nästan idiotsäkert," log Rene. "Det får en att känna sig trygg. När man känner sig trygg, väcker man ingen uppmärksamhet."    
   Jag hade i förväg betalat tre månaders hyra för mina vindsrum. Jag skulle vara tillbaka, hoppades jag, inom sextio dagar. Firelei lovade att modigt möta denna period av ensamhet.    
   Under resan till Montevideo bättrade jag på min spanska och blev den mest ihärdiga besökaren på fartygsbiblioteket. Jag sov mycket och undvek samvetsgrant alla personliga kontakter med mina medpassagerare. Fartyget anlöpte Vigo, Lissabon, Rio de Janeiro och Santos. Jag motstod framgångsrikt dessa hamnars lockelse med. Jag gick inte i land med strömmen av glada turister, för jag var vågade inte lämna mitt smuggelgods i händerna på någon eventuellt nyfiken steward eller fartygsdetektiv.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)

   The ship remained only one day in each port. I kept to my cabin, pretending to be ill from the previous night´s drinking bout.
SW: Fartyget stannade bara en dag i varje hamn. Jag höll mig i min hytt och låtsades att jag var sjuk från supande under natten.

   The night before the Monte Pascoal entered the yellow mouth of the La Plata, heading for the anchorage off Montevideo, I hid the metal cases containing the films in the biscuit-tank of one of the steamer’s lifeboats. The passport and customs inspection by the Uruguayan authorities were perfunctory for the passengers of the first and second class. With a firm grip on my new cowhide suitcase, I journeyed ashore by the first launch.
   As I walked from the landing, through the knots of shouting cab-drivers, I noticed that I was shadowed by two well-dressed individuals. One of them kept some twenty yards behind me, the other followed on the opposite side of the street. My first thought was, "Police!" I quickened my stride, turning corner after corner. The two followed. I was debating with myself whether to hail a taxi or to break into a run. The bright yellow suitcase I carried was an object too easily identified. "If I ran, I’d be arrested at once," I calculated. "If I jumped into a taxi my pursuer would take the number of the car or even follow me in another." In despera­tion, I tried another trick. I pulled a travel booklet out of my pocket, simultaneously throwing a furtive look over my shoulder. I tore the paper into small pieces, so that my shadowers could see what I was doing, and then scattered the shreds into the street. The two sleuths, I felt sure, would stop to pick up the scattered bits of paper. I halted, pretending to look into a shop window, and watched them from the corner of my eyes. They did not stoop to gather the papers. The one behind me grinned brightly, waving both hands in a gesture which among seamen signifies "All clear." I waited, every nerve tense. The man came straight up to me. His companion crossed the street.
   "Zum Teufel, " the first one laughed, "you run off like a cock­roach, you with your long legs."
   He had spoken in German. His companion nodded a welcome. "We come from Harry Berger," the German said.
   Harry Berger was the cover name for Arthur Ewert. The two were guards sent to meet me to insure the safety of my consign­ment. We all boarded a cab, and drove to a small restaurant on the Calle Viejo, the back room of which was the office of the Monte­video liaison agent. There I produced my credentials, which had been typed on linen and sewed into the shoulder-lining of my coat. The liaison agent, a burly, fluff-faced German, at once dispatched a courier to the Monte Pascoal to smuggle the heavy metal film containers ashore.
   Montevideo and Buenos Aires served as Comintern headquarters for all countries south of the Panama Canal.
SW: Kvällen innan Monte Pascoal kom in i La Platas gula mynning, på väg mot förankringen utanför Montevideo, gömde jag metallfodralen som innehöll filmerna i kexbehållaren i en av ångbåtens livbåtar. Den uruguayanska pass- och tullmyndigheten var perfekt för passagerarna i första och andra klass. Med ett fast grepp om min nya läderresväska, åkte jag i land med första barkass.    
   När jag gick från landgången, genom klungorna med skrikande taxichaufförer, märkte jag att jag var skuggad av två välklädda individer. En av dem höll sig omkring 20 meter bakom mig, den andra följde på motsatt sida av gatan. Min första tanke var "polis!" Jag skyndade på mina steg och gick runt hörn efter hörn. De två följde efter mig. Jag diskuterade med mig själv om jag skulle hejda en taxi eller börja springa. Den ljusgula resväskan jag bar var ett alltför lätt identifierat föremål. "Om jag springer, blir jag arresterad på en gång", bedömde jag. "Om jag hoppar in i en taxi tar min förföljare bilnumret eller rent av följer efter mig i en annan." I desperation försökte jag ett annat trick. Jag drog ut en resebroschyr ur fickan och kastade samtidigt en förstulen blick över axeln. Jag rev papperet i småbitar, så att mina förföljare kunde se vad jag gjorde, och spred sedan remsorna över gatan. Jag kände mig säker på att de två deckarna skulle stanna för att plocka upp de utspridda pappersbitarna. Jag stannade, låtsades titta in i ett skyltfönster och tittade i ögonvrån. De lutade sig inte ner för att samla ihop papperen. Den bakom mig flinade glädjestrålande och viftade med båda händerna i en gest som bland sjömän betecknar "Allt lugnt." Jag väntade med nerverna på helspänn. Mannen gick rakt fram mot mig. Hans följeslagare korsade gatan.    
   "Zum Teufel", skrattade den första, "du springer som en kackerlacka, du med dina långa ben."    
   Han hade talat på tyska. Hans följeslagare nickade välkomnande.
   "Vi kommer från Harry Berger," sa tysken.    
   Harry Berger var täcknamnet för Arthur Ewert. De två var vakter som skickats för att träffa mig och garantera min försändelses säkerhet. Vi gick alla in i en taxi och körde till en liten restaurang på Calle Viejo, där det bakre rummet var för Montevideos förbindelsemans kontor. Där visade jag upp min legitimation, som hade skrivits på linne och sytts in i axelfodret på min rock. Förbindelsemannen, en burdus och mosig tysk, skickade genast en kurir till Monte Pascoal för att smuggla i land de tunga filmfodralen.    
   Montevideo och Buenos Aires fungerade som Kominterns huvudkontor för alla länder söder om Panamakanalen.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)

   In Brazil and Chile the communist influence was especially strong, and still growing in strength. Party work had to be carried on under semi-illegal conditions, but the Red trade unions flourished more or less in the open. Although there were many savage laws against subversive activities, arrests were few.
SW: I Brasilien och Chile var det kommunistiska inflytandet särskilt starkt och växte fortfarande i styrka. Partiarbetet måste bedrivas under halvt illegala förhållanden, men de röda fackföreningarna blomstrade mer eller mindre i det fria. Även om det fanns många hårdhänta lagar mot subversiv verksamhet, var det inte många arresteringar.

   Communism in South America was entirely under the direction of foreign agents. Russians, Germans, Poles, Letts and Finns were in responsible posi­tions, and there were a number of New Yorkers in the corps of traveling agitators.
SW: Kommunismen i Sydamerika stod helt under ledning av utländska agenter. Ryssar, tyskar, polackar, letter och finländare hade ansvarsfulla positioner, och det fanns ett antal New Yorkbor i kåren av resande agitatorer.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)

   The police, feared by ordinary criminals for its swift striking power and brutality, showed lack of cooperation and inefficiency when confronted by the task of coping with inter-continentally organized political conspiracy.
Polisen, som var fruktad av vanliga brottslingar för sin snabba slagkraft och brutalitet, visade brist på samarbete och ineffektivitet när den konfronterades med uppgiften att hantera interkontinentalt organiserade politiska konspirationer.

   My stopover in Montevideo lasted several weeks. A female repre­sentative of the Yujamtorg office in Buenos Aires came to Montevideo on one of the week-end excursion steamers. She was a thin, bloodless person of about thirty-five, smartly dressed and harshly matter-of-fact. She was the secretary of the Bolshevik Party cell among the Yujamtorg personnel, and probably a stationary agent of the G.P.U. To her I surrendered the cowhide suitcase. She scru­tinized the lining of its cover with a magnifying glass, and, finding the identification marks and the lining intact, she handed me a receipt for "one case of electric bulbs." Incidentally, less than a year later, on July 31, 1931, the Yujamtorg was raided and closed by the Buenos Aires police. It then moved across the La Plata, and was re-established in Montevideo. Proof of the close connection between the Yujamtorg and the bloody communist insurrections in Brazil caused the Uruguayan government to close its offices and expel the Soviet trade envoy, Minkin, in December, 1935. It was then that Arthur Ewert was arrested as the leader of the revolu­tionary outbreaks in Brazil, where he is still imprisoned, although renounced and abandoned by the Comintern.
   The hospitality of the communists of Montevideo exceeded any­thing I had so far encountered in Europe or in the United States. I was given a luxurious room in a private house on the outskirts of the city. I was lavishly fed. Each day brought invitations to dinner in the homes of local communists—which included doctors, tally-men and tugboat captains now on the payroll of the Profintern. There were many pretty girls showing their eagerness to throw themselves into the arms of the foreign camarado. Germans in general were at that period most popular in South America. Even the tough-looking hombres in the communist rank and file tried to outdo each other to win the patronage of a Bolshevik from over­seas. Often enough a meeting ended with a dusky comrade sidling up to me and, with flashing of eyes and teeth, suggesting in an intimate whisper: "Oiga—senorita pequena y hermosa? Vamonos! Pajaro!" I declined. I was hungrily waiting for a letter from Firelei. I had told her to turn over mail for me to Comrade Anton, who would forward it. But none arrived.
SW: Mitt uppehåll i Montevideo varade i flera veckor. En kvinnlig representant för Yujamtorg-kontoret i Buenos Aires kom till Montevideo på en av ångarna med veckoslutsturister. Hon var en tunn, blodlös person på cirka trettiofem, snygg klädd och kärvt saklig. Hon var sekreteraren för bolsjevikpartiets cell bland Yujamtorg-personalen och troligen en permanent agent för GPU. Till henne överlämnade jag läderresväskan. Hon granskade fodret i fodralet med ett förstoringsglas. När hon konstaterat att identifikationsmärkena och fodret var intakta, överlämnade hon till mig ett kvitto för "en väska med elektriska glödlampor." Händelsevis stormades Yujamtorg av Buenos Aires-polisen mindre än ett år senare, den 31 juli 1931, och stängdes. Det flyttade sedan över La Plata och återupprättades i Montevideo. Bevis för den nära förbindelsen mellan Yujamtorg och de blodiga kommunistiska upproren i Brasilien fick den uruguayanska regeringen att stänga dess kontor och utvisa den sovjetiska ambassadöre Minkin i december 1935. Det var då som Arthur Ewert arresterades som ledare för revolutionsutbrotten i Brasilien, där han fortfarande är fängslad, trots att Komintern tagit avstånd och övergivit honom.    
   Gästfriheten hos kommunisterna i Montevideo överskred allt vad jag hittills hade stött på i Europa eller i USA. Jag fick ett lyxigt rum i ett privat hus i utkanten av staden. Maten var överdådig. Varje dag medförde inbjudningar till middagar i de lokala kommunisternas hem - som inkluderade läkare, godskontrollanter och bogserbåtskaptener som nu stod på Profinterns avlöningslista. Många vackra flickor visade sin iver att kasta sig i armarna på den främmande camaradon. Tyskar i allmänhet var på den tiden populärast i Sydamerika. Till och med de tuffa hombres bland kommunisternas fotfolk försökte överträffa varandra för att vinna beskydd av en bolsjevik från andra sidan havet. Ofta slutade ett möte med att en skum kamrat ville smila in sig hos mig och med gnistrande ögon och tänder antydde i en intim viskning: "Oiga - senorita pequena y hermosa? Vamonos! Pajaro!" Jag avböjde. Jag väntade hungrigt på ett brev från Firelei. Jag hade sagt henne att överlämna post till mig till kamrat Anton, som skulle vidarebefordra det. Men inget kom.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)

   The chief efforts of the Comintern were concentrated on drives to transform the Latin American harbors into communist strongholds. Each day I delivered lectures on maritime organization methods and strike technique to an assortment of waterfront organizers all the way from Callao to Bahia Blanca. A special school had been established in Montevideo for the training of these cadres. Together with men from the Confederacion Sindical, I charted the plans for the opening of International Clubs in Buenos Aires and Montevideo.
Kominterns främsta ansträngningar koncentrerades på satsningarna för att förvandla de latinamerikanska hamnarna till kommunistiska fästen. Varje dag höll jag föreläsningar om maritima organisationsmetoder och strejkteknik för en samling hamnorganisatörer som kom från Callao och ända bort till Bahia Blanca. En särskild skola hade inrättats i Montevideo för utbildning av dessa cadres. Tillsammans med män från Confederacion Sindical drog jag upp planerna för öppnandet av internationella klubbar i Buenos Aires och Montevideo.

   My sojourn ended after I had spoken as a delegate of the Mari­time Section of the Comintern at a conference of waterfront func­tionaries from Peru, Chile, Uruguay and the Argentine. Action programs were drafted for the seamen, the dockers, the rivermen and the personnel of the South American navies. I cited the details of the mutiny of the German fleet in 1918 to impress the Latin Americans with the importance of building up communist units in every navy. I spoke enthusiastically, and even the cheeks of my interpreter were hot with enthusiasm.
   Little did I dream then that in September, 1931, during the presidential election campaign, the Comintern would make a seri­ous bid for power in Chile. The country became paralyzed by strikes and riots. The slogan "All power to the Soviets!" was raised. The Chilean fleet mutinied and the mutineers seized naval bases. Martial law was declared and eighty government airplanes bombed and machine-gunned the mutineers. The revolt was crushed. Three hundred and twenty mutineers died in the battle. A score of ring­leaders were sentenced to death, and many more sent to prison.

Min vistelse avslutades efter att jag hade talat som delegat för Kominterns sjöfartssektion på en konferens med hamnfunktionärer från Peru, Chile, Uruguay och Argentina. Handlingsprogram utarbetades för sjömännen, hamnarbetarna, männen på floderna och de sydamerikanska flottornas personal. Jag citerade detaljerna om den tyska flottans myteri 1918 för att hos latinamerikanerna inpränta vikten av att bygga upp kommunistiska enheter i varje flotta. Jag talade entusiastiskt, och även tolkens kinder glödde av entusiasm.    
   Föga anade jag att Komintern i september 1931, under presidentvalskampanjen, skulle göra ett allvarligt försök att gripa makten i Chile. Landet förlamades av strejker och upplopp. Slagordet "All makt till sovjeterna!" höjdes. Den chilenska flottan gjorde myteri och myteristerna ockuperade flottbaser. Krigslagar proklamerades och åttio regeringsflygplan bombade myteristerna och besköt dem med kulsprutor. Upproret krossades. Trehundratjugo myterister dog i striden. En stor mängd upprorsledare dömdes till döden och många fler skickades i fängelse.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)

   My job was done. I crossed to Buenos Aires and there embarked on the Cap Arcona for Europe. No letter from Firelei had reached me. This deeply worried me. The fast liner hammered northward, no man aboard her more impatient to get home than I. Aboard the Cap Arcona, I made a disquieting discovery. The German Reich­stag elections had taken place during my absence from Europe. The Communist Party had gained a million votes, and had become the third strongest party in the land. The Socialists had lost many hundred thousands of their followers. The Comintern policy of wrecking them had not been in vain! But the surprise that came like a thunderclap from the clear skies was the tremendous advance of the Hitler movement, which up to this time had been regarded worthy only of disdain. In one gigantic leap the National Socialists had increased their mandates in the Reichstag from 12 to 107; they who only two years earlier had but one-fifth of the communist strength now ranked as the second strongest political party in the country. Some new, hitherto unknown force was rising with the ominous roar of a yet distant tide-rip. And I first saw its signs aboard the Cap Arcona; they created in me a sensation of astonishment, excitement and vague apprehension.
de skapade hos mig en känsla av häpnad, upphetsning och vag oro.

   The crew of the ship, one of the largest in the German merchant fleet, contained a strong, disciplined, well-organized cell of Nazi storm-troopers, who flooded the vessel with their propaganda. I observed them doing drills and gymnastics during their watch below. They were a band whose élan and defiance of all outsiders compared with nothing I had as yet perceived under the German flag. Through the years since 1919, the German merchant marine had been the almost exclusive domain of the Communist Party; no other political creed had been tolerated in the forecastles. But here, aboard the Cap Arcona, the Hitlerites ruled.
SW: Under åren sedan 1919 hade den tyska handelsflottan varit kommunistpartiets nästan exklusiva domän. Ingen annan politisk tro hade tolererats för om masten. Men här, ombord Cap Arcona, styrde Hitleristerna.

   They exercised their rule through a combination of propa­ganda and terror. All of them were young, representing a high type of German youth. The extermination of Communism was their aim. For the rest of the voyage, I studied them and the methods of their ship organization. I linked their domination of the Cap Arcona with the election victory of their party.
SW: Utrotandet av kommunismen var deras mål. Under resten av resan studerade jag dem och deras metoderna för fartygsorganisation. Jag kopplade ihop deras dominans ombord på Cap Arcona med partiets valseger.

   I came to the conclusion that is was time to do something, to do it soon, to do it with all the energy and persistence at our command. One hundred and seven Nazi deputies in the Reichstag! Behind each deputy stood sixty thousand voters, not counting the militant youth under twenty years of age.
SW: Etthundrasju nazistiska riksdagsledamöter! Bakom varje ledamot stod sextio tusen väljare, och då var inte den militanta ungdomen som var under tjugo år inräknad.

   I remembered the warning voice of Arthur Ewen: "We shall be destroyed!" But not even Stalin realized that this Nazi triumph signaled the beginning of the end.
Men inte ens Stalin insåg att denna nazistiska triumf markerade början på slutet.

   Upon my arrival in Hamburg I submitted my report and I was immediately given a new assignment which called for my presence for some months in Bremen and the Weser country. Ernst Woll­weber in addition to his many other controlling functions, had acquired the chieftainship of all communist forces in German ship­ping, railroads and communications. Ernst Thälmann and his satellites were more often in Moscow than in Berlin. Maneuvering in the dark with much patience and genuine ability, Ernst Woll­weber, the saturnine ex-mutineer whose cradle had been rocked among the coal mines of Silesia, became more and more the domi­nating force behind the scenes of the strongest and best-organized communist movement outside of Russia. I was now directly re­sponsible to Wollweber, and subject to his orders.
   I telegraphed to Firelei, but received no reply. I notified Woll­weber that I intended to make a dash to Antwerp for a day or two. He replied that the Party could not recognize the validity of private enterprises on the part of its employees. I wrote back to Berlin by airmail that I had no "private enterprises," but requested a short leave of absence to find Firelei and to arrange for her com­ing to Bremen. I stressed the fact that Firelei’s artistic talents would be of value to the propaganda department of the Party. Wollweber answered in what approached an ultimatum. "Intimate contacts between responsible comrades and un-proletarian outsiders are out of the question," he wrote. "I have made that clear to you before. Please accept my standpoint. Unless the person (Firelei) becomes a member of our organization and submits to its discipline, we must reject her as a possible danger to our Apparat. If you cannot under­stand that, you have not grasped the Leninist definition of what a Bolshevist Party should be."
   I went to Antwerp. It was the beginning of November. A wet wind howled in from the North Sea, and rain-water gurgled in the gutters. I stormed up the stairways to the garret where Firelei and I had had so many happy hours together. At the top landing I stopped for breath. My heart pounded. I drew the key, unlocked the door, and entered. The place was empty. A thin layer of dust was on the floor. There were no books, no clothes, no curtained windows that faced the tower of the Cathedral. Only gaping, depressing emptiness. Firelei had left no message. Then my eyes struck something horrible. There was the picture Firelei had painted of herself, tall, silent, and tender in its colors. Dismally it stared at the stripped room. It was the portrait of a murdered girl. The plaster on the walls showed through where the eyes had been. The eyes had been cut out.
   I began a frantic search. The landlord knew nothing. He only grumbled about the nuisance of having lone women go and make a mess of things. I raced to the house of Firelei’s uncle, but the door there was slammed into my face. I questioned the neighbors. No, they said, the German painter-girl had not come back to the sea-captain’s home. I phoned the police. I questioned Comrade Anton and all other Antwerp communists who might have known her. None of them knew where Firelei had gone, except, perhaps, Anton—and he refused to tell because I had not come to Belgium in an official capacity.
   "Maybe she has returned to her parents in Germany," he suggested. "Daughters of the petite bourgeoisie capitulate at the first serious obstacle."
   It was not true. The large-bosomed and large-hearted madame of the Café Banana, where Firelei went at times to sketch waterfront types, knew what had happened to my girl.
   "She is in the hospital, the poor meisje," she said in her masculine voice. "She was very ill. But she is better now, nearly well. Why in the name of the Saviour did you not take better care of her?"
   "What happened? Tell me quick!"
   "An abortion," the woman said. "Godsverdume, she was brave enough to do it herself. She nearly bled to death when they came for her."
   Intense remorse, self-accusation, pangs of conscience racked my whole being. I fought them with gnashing teeth. Through the eyes of the twisted rationalism of a communist such mental agony was the attribute of weaklings. I tried to think. "Daily throughout the world, men and women stumble and fall! Shall we stop our advance because of personal calamities inevitable as sunrise?"
   "Firelei loves flowers," I thought. "They would be a sign that I stood with her." I bought flowers, and with them I tiptoed to her bedside. How could I ever forget the expression of joyful relief on her face when she saw me? A long time we looked at each other, holding hands, not saying a word.
   Firelei spoke first, after a long, radiant smile.
   "You have come back," she said.
   I talked of many things that I knew would please her. And then I asked:
   "Why did you do it?"
   "I thought you’d never come back," she answered softly. "I have learned how it feels to die."
   Day after day I lingered in Antwerp. Firelei’s recovery was like the coming of spring. A wire from Wollweber reminded me that it was November, the stormiest month of the year.
   "Return without delay," the wire said.
   "I must go," I told Firelei.
   "Soon I shall be well enough to follow you," she said happily. "It will be good to share life with you."
   "All our life we will be comrades," I said.
   The color in her cheeks had disappeared. Her face looked thin­ner, harder, more determined.
   "I have changed my mind," she said. "I had much time to think. The day I come to Bremen you must make me a member of the Communist Party."
   Inadvertently I recoiled. I knew that it was not her acceptance of Bolshevism, but her love for me, which brought her to this decision.
   "In Bremen you will meet my mother," I said.
   "I am glad," Firelei smiled. "She and I will be friends, I feel sure."


Chapter Seventeen
CAPTAIN GÖRING, Hitler’s right-hand man, was scheduled to appear as the main speaker at a mass meeting of the National Socialists in Bremen. The chief of the anti-Nazi division of the Communist Party, the ruthless Heinz Neu­mann, gave the command to break up the meeting. Our local lead­ers shunned this duty, perhaps because they learned to respect Göring’s storm-troopers. As a newcomer, I was delegated to do the job. This was part of my new assignment. Other duties involved liaison service for the Comintern and mobilizing the workers of the German high seas fisheries for strikes, under the direction of Wollweber.
Andra uppgifter innefattade förbindelsetjänst för Komintern och mobiliserandet av arbetarna i fisket i tyska Nordsjön för strejker under ledning av Wollweber.
   A hundred picked men from the Red Front League were placed at my disposal for the Göring affair. They were fearless young roughnecks, one and all. We had a special leaflet printed for dis­tribution at the meeting, under the headline: "Ten questions Nazi Göring fears to answer." I detailed my men into groups of five and instructed them to mingle with the crowd in the hall and to go into action at the shout, "The National Socialists are neither na­tional nor socialist." Each man was armed with a blackjack and brass knuckles, and a batch of fifty leaflets.
   The meeting was to begin at eight in the Kasino, the largest hall in town. A steady stream of men and women flowed through all the streets leading to the Kasino. A platoon of policemen occupied all surrounding corners. Girls and young men roamed the side­walks. Some wore red bands around their sleeves—they sold com­munist publications. Others wore the swastika insignia—they shouted Hitler slogans in raucous chorus. Here and there a minor affray broke out, but was quickly squelched by the police. Brown-shirted troopers marched by in closed formations. A howl went up:
   "Down with the Brown murderers!"
   "Down with the Muscovite pest!" came in prompt reply.
   Thousands jammed the hall. Ranged along the walls and in front of the speaker’s stage, storm-troopers stood shoulder to shoulder. A brass band played a war march. Crimson banners of gigantic dimensions covered the walls. A hundred bearers of swastika flags formed the background of the stage. In the huge crowd, my crew of communists were like a drop in a river.
   All of a sudden the array of Brownshirts lining the walls stood at attention. Right arms flew upward. The band blared fanfares. The massive walls of the building seemed to shake as the human mass broke out in one tremendous roar:
   "Heil! Heil!"
   A score of stalwarts goose-stepped down the aisle toward the stage. They were followed by uniformed men bearing storm ban­ners. The golden swastika which topped the banners glittered under the lights. And then a grim-faced, burly man in civilian clothes strode down the aisle. His chunky right arm was raised in the Hitler salute. Another column of stalwarts followed directly behind him.
   A bell rang. The roar ceased. A whip-like man, with a military voice, announced that Captain Göring would speak on "Versailles must die so Germany may live."
   The chunky man stepped forward, glowering at the audience, his broad muscular face brilliant under the spotlight. A beautiful blonde girl presented to the Nazi chieftain a bouquet of roses as large as a wheel. Captain Göring sniffed the roses, and grinned. Then he took off his coat and threw it carelessly behind him under the table. He rolled up his shirt sleeves and loosened his belt. Laughter of approval mixed with applause. Göring swung his arms, as if to limber up, and the applause rose to a booming roar.
   Captain Göring spoke.
   His speech was rude and vigorous, scorn­ful of politeness, and so simple that a child often could have under­stood him. What convinced his hearers, however, were less his words than the impression of truculent and brutal personal honesty which he created. His voice and his fists pounded the Treaty of Versailles. He paced up and down on the stage, fists clenched, hairy arms flying, his face streaming with sweat. His voice became a gale of menacing sounds. He worked himself into a blazing fury. He yelled and growled and hammered. He grumbled and pranced in mad outbursts of wrath. He attacked everything in the world from God down to pawnbrokers and nudists, excepting only the Army. He unleashed a wild surf of hatred, and sent it thundering into his audience. I was amazed to find the mass of stolid Germans more excited than a crowd of Spaniards in a bull ring. I tried to be cool, tried to take notes on what I intended to say after Captain Göring had finished, but soon gave it up. The man fascinated me.
   At last Göring ended amid an earthquake of applause. He sat down and mopped his face. He fished his coat from under the table and wrapped it carelessly around his shoulders. The whip-like man with the military voice rose and asked if any representatives of enemy parties wished to speak ten minutes each to refute Captain Göring, who would be glad to answer all questions raised. I rose and stepped forward, automatically obeying my "Parteibefehl!" I felt my scalp shrivel and grow cold. I handed the whip-like man a slip of paper, bearing my name and Party affiliation.
   The whip-like man announced:
   "A representative of the Communist Party now has the word. I beg the meeting to maintain discipline."
   I mounted the stage. A deathly silence descended upon the great hall. Troopers of Göring’s bodyguard eyed me curiously.
   After the first sentence, my self-confidence returned. There were snickers and catcalls, but there was also the frenetic applause of my hundred aides in the crowd. I pointed out that the Treaty of Ver­sailles was the consequence of a lost war, and that the war had been provoked by capitalists for imperialist purposes.   
   "All Germany knows," I went on to say, "that the Nazi Party is financed by capitalists exploiting the German nation. The National Socialist Party is neither national nor socialist—yet it calls itself a workers’ party!" At this point I turned and pointed toward Captain Göring: "Does this man look like a worker?"
   Göring thrust his bull-head forward. Half a dozen troopers jumped on the stage and rushed me.
   "Raus mit dem Halunken," Göring ordered, "Out with this scoundrel!"
   That same instant my aides, in groups of five, rose in the crowd and hurled fistfuls of the small red leaflets though the densely packed auditorium. There was general tumult. I leaped off the stage over the heads of the troopers below, and plunged headlong into the crowd. A blackjack came down on my head. In the excitement I barely noticed the impact. The Brownshirts had left their points of vantage along the walls, and were lunging toward the center of the hall, to fall upon the intruders. A terrifying melee followed. Blackjacks, brass knuckles, clubs, heavy buckled belts, glasses and bottles were the weapons used. Pieces of glass and chairs hurtled over the heads of the audience. Men from both sides broke off chair legs, and used them as bludgeons. Women fainted in the crash and scream of battle. Already dozens of heads and faces were bleeding, clothes were torn as the fighters dodged about amid masses of terrified but helpless spectators. The troopers fought like lions. Systematically they pressed us toward the main exit. The band struck up a martial tune. Hermann Göring stood calmly on the stage, his fists on his hips. My plan had been to create such a pandemonium in the packed hall that the police forces waiting outside would barge in and close the meeting. But the police did not intervene; it was controlled by Social Democrats, who were satisfied to let the anti-democratic forces break each others’ heads undisturbed.
   After what seemed like an all-day combat, which in reality lasted not more than ten minutes, I found myself near the entrance. A cursing trooper hit me in the face. Another kicked me in the back. Bottles and glasses were flying about like shrapnel. Two Brownshirts grasped my arms and rushed me through the vestibule, amid abuse, blows and kicks. In hopeless defence, I clutched the throat  of a trooper and tried to shove him in front of me as a shield. His comrades freed him. He pulled a steel whip from his belt and pounced on me savagely.
SW: Efter vad som kändes som en dagslång strid, men i verkligheten inte varade i mer än tio minuter, befann jag mig nära ingången. En stormtruppsman svor och slog mig i ansiktet. En annan sparkade mig i ryggen. Flaskor och glasögon flög omkring som granatsplitter. Två brunskjortor grep tag i mina armar och drev mig genom entréhallen under skymford, sparkar och slag. I hopplöst försök att försvar mig grep jag en stormtruppare om halsen och försökte skjuta honom framför mig som en sköld. Hans kamrater befriade honom. Han drog fram en stålpiska från sitt bälte och slog mig brutalt med den.
   All about me communists were fighting now to gain the street. They ran off like hares. I also ran. Rounding a corner, I passed a big open motor lorry. In it sat thirty policemen, motionless, hold­ing their rifles like silent specters.
   My mother, who lived a quiet life in her tiny Bremen apart­ment, received Firelei well. She abhorred communism, because it preached violence and denied God, but her urge to aid those in need knew no discrimination. Had a drunken murderer come to her for help, she would have given it to him. Her three small rooms were full of memories of the past. My mother loved to regard her home as an open haven for her five wandering children and their friends. Both of my brothers, sturdy six-footers obsessed by an in­vincible wanderlust, had gone to sea. My two sisters also were away, the older one as a nurse in a Berlin hospital, the younger as a photographic expert with the scientific expeditions of Dr. Leo Frobenius, the African explorer in the wilds of Sudan. "Oh, but they always come back to me," my mother smiled, content to wait, while writing to them letters beautiful with patience and love. She liked to tend the flowers in her backyard, and to feed the birds and squirrels in a nearby park.
medan hon tålmodigt och kärleksfullt skrev vackra brev till dem. Hon tyckte om att vårda blommorna i sin trädgård och att mata fåglarna och ekorrarna i en park i närheten.
   One day Firelei said to me: "Mother is worried about you. When you became a communist, she tried hard to understand com­munism, but she could not. It breaks her heart to see you work only for destruction and strife. She prays that you should turn away from it."
   "It is too late," I said.
   "Mother thinks it is never too late. She has begged me to in­fluence you to go to navigation school to study for the next officers’ examinations. She says it has always been your dream to stand as a captain on the bridge of a liner."
   "It is still my dream," I said, struggling to hide a treacherous upsurge of emotion. "Only tell me—who would entrust a known communist and an ex-convict with a valuable ship? No, no, it is far too late!"
   "Why not do it, and see what comes of it?" Firelei implored. "There is nothing you cannot do. With a navigator’s license in your pocket, you will surely find a berth. Remember, it is never, never too late!"
   I did not neglect my various Party duties. But I found time to enroll as a student at the Nautical School in Bremen. Its director, Captain Preuss, had known my father well. He received me warmly.
   "Sieh, wer kommnt denn da!" he boomed. "Well, well, my boy, have you become tired of the Bolshevist nonsense?"
   "How do you know I’m a Bolshevik?" I asked, somewhat embarrassed.
   "Allah told me," laughed Preuss, adding seriously: "Don’t be a fool. Shipowners have their information service. You’ve been giving them a lot of trouble lately. They’ve got your name on the blacklist—in red ink, I assure you. However—repent, and we shall see what we can do."
   Attending school consumed but little of my time. I had mastered the essential mathematics and nautical astronomy in San Quentin, and had to put in but a few hours at school each week to conform with the government regulations for prospective ships’ officers.
Of the subjects taught, only the intricacies of German Maritime Law were new to me, and the medical course teaching sailors how to treat scurvy and cholera, how to amputate a leg, set broken bones and deliver a child.
SW: Bland undervisningens ämnen var bara de mer komplicerade aspekterna av den tyska sjöfartsrätten nya för mig, och den medicinska kursen som lärde sjömän hur man behandlar skörbjugg och kolera, amputerar ett ben, fixerar brutna ben och förlöser ett barn.
   I had no reason at this time for shouldering the additional burden of studies other than that of trying to please my mother. I was overworked, ate insufficiently, and slept too little. But my mother was overjoyed; in her innocent heart she believed that she had won a victory over the Comintern.
   I found the Nautical School a citadel of Hitler.
The staff of thirty teachers was composed of Nazis.
SW: De trettio lärarna var nazister.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   The roughly three hun­dred students were Nazis. The officers’ club—the Tritonia—was dominated by Nazis. The school was swamped with Nazi litera­ture. During recesses, the school roared with Nazi meetings. Many of the students came to the lectures in storm-troopers’ uni­forms. Every coat lapel around me boasted the flashy swastika insignia. I was the only communist there.
   "Why are you a Nazi?" I asked one of them. It was toward the end of 1930.
   "Look what this so-called democracy has done for us," he answered with complete self-assurance. "Half of our ships are rotting in graveyards.
Thirty thousand German seamen have no jobs. After the examinations, only one out of ten among us will be lucky enough to get a mate´s berth. All this is going to be changed.”
SW: ”…Trettiotusen tyska sjömän är arbetslösa. När vi tagit examen är det bara en av tio som har turen att få hyra som styrman. Allt detta kommer att förändras.”

   ”Adolf Hitler will lead Germany to its right­ful place among the nations. We shall have colonies. We are going to expand in all directions. We are going to have the finest mer­chant marine in the world. Under Hitler, our ships will sail—and not rot."
   "A program of imperialist expansion," I commented.
   “Most certainly!"
   "That’ll mean war."
   "What of it? Men were born to wage—and win—wars."
   "The German people want no war."
   "We are the German people."
   "Look at Russia," I said. "It is the only country in the world whose merchant marine is growing."
   "Don’t tell me about Russia," replied the Nazi. "I’ve been to Vladivostok with my last ship. The girls there come aboard to let themselves be raped five times for a tin of sardines. That’s Bolshe­vism for you!"
   "The Russians exported more grain than Canada did last year," I countered.
   "I advise you to stop your communist propaganda in this school," the Nazi said coldly. "Some of our boys might bring their riding whips and flog you out of the building. So hold your tongue."
   All the same, each time I went to school, which was on two or three mornings a week, my briefcase bulged with communist propaganda material which I spread at every opportunity on every desk in every classroom. The Hitlerites did not dare to attack me physically; the Nautical School lay in the Neustadt district, where the communists were strong. On their way home, the Hitlerites had to pass through communist-ruled streets and violent retaliation would have been inevitable. Besides, through a girl of the Young Communist League, detailed to work in Nazi organizations, I had circulated the rumor that I was an expert pistol shot and never went without a gun. I had no fear of being denounced for carrying arms without a permit. The hatred the Nazis had for the democratic police was as intense as our own. And a good many of my antagonists were also secretly armed.
SW: Inte desto mindre var min portfölj sprängfylld med kommunistiskt propagandamaterial som jag spred vid varje tillfälle på varje skrivbord i varje klassrum. Jag gick i skolan två eller tre morgnar i veckan. Hitleristerna vågade inte attackera mig fysiskt; den nautiska skolan låg i distriktet Neustadt, där kommunisterna var starka. På väg hem måste Hitleristerna passera genom kommunistregerade gator och en våldsam vedergällning hade varit oundviklig. Dessutom hade jag, genom en flicka i ungkommunisternas förbund, med uppdrag att arbeta i nazistiska organisationer, låtit cirkulera rykten om att jag var en skicklig pistolskott och aldrig gick utan pistol. Jag var inte rädd för att bli angiven för att ha vapen utan tillstånd. Nazisternas hat mot den demokratiska polisen var lika intensivt som vårt. Och många av mina antagonister var också i hemlighet beväpnade.

   Firelei, whose deep love for me had driven her into the move­ment, soon won considerable popularity in the German Com­munist Party. She painted posters which the Party used in nation-­wide drives. Her caricatures of Hindenburg and Hitler and other enemy leaders were reproduced in the Party press. She organized theatrical groups which toured the German Northwest; the most famous and talented of these groups was called the "Red Re­porters."
SW: den mest kända och begåvade av dessa grupper kallades "Röda Reportrarna."
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   Without receiving a penny of remuneration, she worked from morning till night. She was kept too busy to realize that her plunge into Party work doomed her hopes for a legitimate career as an artist. At times, when she was tired, she would ponder and ask, "Where does all this lead to?"
   "Forward and upward!" I would answer. "We have no time to he tired."
   I had stopped my sallies into the field of literature. When I wrote, I wrote for the Party press.
My articles and sketches ap­peared in a number of communist dailies and weeklies.
SW: Mina artiklar och skisser publicerades i ett antal kommunistiska dags- och veckotidningar.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   On orders from Wollweber, I had cut short all efforts to publish my book, "Scum’s Wake," in the United States. Instead it was censored by the literary department of the Comintern, to eliminate deviations from official Stalinist policy, and in mutilated form it appeared in the camouflaged German communist press controlled by Willy Münzenberg and several trade union publications in Soviet Russia. Since I was a salaried employee of the Comintern, I was formally requested to contribute the payments due to me toward "the suc­cessful completion of the Five-Year-Plan." I did so cheerfully. As a reward, I was nominated to the post of honorary president of the League of Proletarian Writers in the Northwest District.
   I had also written two one-act plays which were entitled "Signal of Mutiny" and "The Sailor’s Enemies." They were both accepted by the Party and subsequently performed by the communist theatrical groups aboard the largest liners of the North German Lloyd in Bremerhaven, including the crack ships Columbus and Bremen, causing a greater disturbance in shipowners’ circles than a month of intensive strike agitation. The plays were open incite­ments to mutiny, veritable commands to the crews to seize the ships and to hoist the red flags when the time was ripe. Simultane­ously with these performances went a dogged propaganda aboard the vessels of the North German Lloyd,
the company that prac­tically dominated the old Hanseatic metropolis of Bremen.
SW: företaget som praktiskt taget dominerade den gamla Hansametropolen Bremen.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   Great, therefore, was my astonishment, when I was approached one day by a representative of the Lloyd Verlag, the publishing house of the North German Lloyd. The representative invited me to call at the editorial headquarters of the company for a confidential con­versation with the editor-in-chief of the Lloyd Journal. Loyally I wired Wollweber informing him of the fact.
   "Be careful," he replied, "their object is bribery. But the con­tact may be of value."
   The editor-in-chief received me graciously. She was a cultured woman, a certain Miss von Thülen, the sister of one of the most powerful personages in the North German Lloyd. Serenely she informed me that the company had been informed that I experi­enced financial difficulties in completing my term at the Nautical School. She offered me a contract to write one article a month for her magazine, a total of twelve pieces at two hundred marks each. I refused. She then asked me if I would consider translating the official tourist guide for 1931 of the North German Lloyd from German into English. This tourist guide was well known in all North Atlantic ports. It was a two-hundred-page book praising the beauties of Germany. Miss von Thülen offered me a thousand marks to do the job. I accepted. The tacit understanding was that I should refrain from all further efforts at stirring up trouble among the crews of the Lloyd ships.
   Wollweber considered planting me as an undercover agent of the Comintern inside the North German Lloyd. This plan, how­ever, was torpedoed by Heinz Neumann, who wanted me for his anti-Nazi campaigns. I did only a small part of the translation my­self. The bulk was done in record time by official translators of the Communist Party. After ten days, I was able to deliver the English version of the tourist guide. I received a check for one thousand marks. The money went into the treasury of the Com­munist Party, and I continued to harass the North German Lloyd at every possible turn. Again I had wantonly thrown away a chance of building up for myself an independent existence within the law. Firelei was stunned by my recklessness. My mother was deeply hurt by my treachery.
   Wollweber was on one of his tours of inspection to all the com­munist units in the transport industry of Central Europe. The man was uncanny. No detail, no weakness escaped him.
He was a beast with the brain of a malevolent scientist.
SW: Han var ett odjur med en ondskefull vetenskapsmans hjärna.
(Omitted from Swedish translation, 1942.)
   There was nothing he feared, except publicity. I said to him good-naturedly,    "They call you the ’Little Lenin,’ but you’re much more like Stalin than Lenin."
   At that Wollweber stopped short. "What makes you think that?" he asked, showing his tobacco-stained teeth in a grin.
   "Well," I said warily, "Comrade Lenin was always before the masses."
   "What have you got against Comrade Stalin?" Wollweber scowled.
   "Nothing," I said.
   "Comrade Stalin is the greatest living statesman," Wollweber declared, as if he were sentencing someone to be hung. "No one who questions this assertion can ever be used in a vital function."
He then inquired into my relations with Heinz Neumann and his anti-Nazi division. I showed him som circular letters sent out by Neumann. ”Write a report on all this”, the burly little Silesian growled. ”Sign it. Keep no carbon copy.” Wollweber hated Neumann as a most dangerous and younger rival. Neumann saw the Hitler movement as the chief danger to the German workers. Wollweber ridiculed Hitler as a ”wildgewordener Kleinbuerger”, and stuck to the policy decreed by Moscow that the Social Democrats stood most in need of extermination.
SW: Han frågade sedan om mina relationer till Heinz Neumann och hans anti-nazistiska enhet. Jag visade honom några rundskrivelser som skickats ut av Neumann. ”Skriv en rapport om allt det här”, brummade den kraftiga lilla schlesiern. "Underteckna den. Spara ingen kopia.” Wollweber hatade Neumann som en ytterst farlig och yngre rival. Neumann såg Hitlerrörelsen som den största faran för de tyska arbetarna. Wollweber förlöjligade Hitler som en "förvildad småborgare" och höll fast vid den politik som Moskva beslutat, att det främst var socialdemokraterna som behövde utrotas.
   That evening, the day’s work done, Ernst Wollweber said to me: "Now let’s go and be happy."
   "What is it that you need to be happy?"
   "A quiet place, where a man can let go of the life-lines, and drink a case of beer in peace."
   I laughed. I invited Wollweber to my quarters in the proletarian Westend of the city. I bought two cases of beer and cajoled the landlady into preparing a large amount of Bratwurst and potato salad. Wollweber arrived at nine. Always suspicious, he sent his secretary ahead to investigate the house before he entered it him­self. The secretary was a small girl of twenty, fairly attractive but tight-lipped, and devoted to her master like a well-trained dog.
   Wollweber was a heavy drinker, though he hardly ever touched a drop of alcohol unless he felt himself perfectly safe from the long arms of his many enemies. This time he drank without restraint; his small, gleaming black eyes fastened themselves like sucking animals on Firelei. His hands soon followed, but Firelei laughed them away. With a few swift strokes, she drew a caricature of the plainly amorous Wollweber and named it "Cannibal looking for a bride." Wollweber guffawed, but the epithet "Cannibal" became as popular as that of "Little Lenin."
   Wollweber talked of his youth. Early in the Great War his father, a miner, had been killed on the Russian front, and Ernst had become a member of the Socialist Youth at the age of seventeen. His trade had been that of a riverman. He had plied the German waterways, smuggling defeatist propaganda from Berlin to the western front until, one day, he helped a group of "activists" sink a number of cement barges in a canal in Belgium to block the trans­ports of war material to the front. The Socialists expelled him for his radicalism, and Wollweber joined the Spartakus Bund and, at the same time, volunteered for the Imperial Navy. He had fought in the Battle of Jutland, and had then become one of the chief organizers of the final mutiny in the German fleet. Wollweber boasted of his prowess both as a revolutionist and a man, and all the while he edged himself closer to Firelei. His little secretary-mistress watched him like a hypnotized mouse.
Abruptly Wollweber turned to me.
   "This chit of yours," he growled. "I must have her in bed." Pointing to his frightened secretary, he added: "You take Helen, she’s a nice little hare."

Plötsligt vände sig Wollweber mot mig.    
"Jag måste ha ditt lilla våp i säng”, brummade han. Han pekade på sin skrämda sekreterare och tillade: "Du kan ta Helen, hon är en fin liten hare."
   The drinking bout ended suddenly. Firelei, Helen and I de­camped, seeking emergency quarters in a hotel and leaving the "Little Lenin" alone in charge of my abode. Returning next morn­ing to see what had happened to my chief, I found him in bed with a Junoesque prostitute he had managed to pick up in the street after our departure. Wollweber had sobered up. He paid the girl, and told her to be off.
   "Bah," he snarled when we were alone, "after a night like this I could puke at myself. Life is a leprous hell-hole. Unsatisfactory, altogether unsatisfactory."
   A few minutes later, after a dousing with cold water, he was again the old, disillusioned warrior.
   "Let me see your plans for the Weser mobilization," he growled. "We must put more punch into it. By February we must come to strikes that will tear the trans­port industry to ribbons."

   The Hitler movement was sweeping the country like a storm flood, washing away the parties in the middle. Because it was my business to fight it, at meetings, in the factories, in the streets and on ships, I studied its methods. The Nazis waged their campaigns with unlimited courage and ruthlessness, with devotion and cynicism. They promised higher wages to the workers, higher profits to industry, and well-paid jobs to the unemployed. They promised the liquidation of department stores to small traders. They promised land to the farmhands, tax-exemption and higher income to the farmers, and government subsidies and cheap labor to the large landowners. They promised to outlaw strikes and at the same time supported every strike to curry favor with the toilers. They ranted against capitalism and bargained with captains of industry behind the scenes. They held out the promise of careers and of power to students and intellectuals, who rallied to the Nazi banner by the thousands. Nazi propaganda was as quick as lightning, seizing upon every mistake made by other political groups. There was no escape from it. At home and on the job, in the city and in the country, one heard Nazi harangues and encountered Hitlerite agitators.
SW: Det gick inte att komma undan den. Hemma och på jobbet, i staden och i landet, hörde man nazistiska predikningar och träffade på Hitleristiska agitatorer.
   Hand in hand with this propaganda went a superbly organized terror. Merchants were terrorized into surrendering part of their profits to the Nazi Party. Liberals were terrorized until they dared not hold public meetings. Brown-shirted raiding detachments, schooled in the technique of terror, clubbed, stabbed and shot opponents in daily affrays. All the middle groups, from the Socialists to the Catholic Center, preferred to fight the Hitler tide with pitiful ineffectual ”spiritual weapons”, the weapons of persuasion. There was only one force in Germany capable of countering the Brown terror with equal ruthlessness, and that force was the Communist Party.
   We began to wage a ceaseless war against the Nazis, especially among the industrial workers of Germany, who had remained hostile to Hitler.
SW: Alla mittenpartier, från socialisterna till den katolska centern, föredrog att bekämpa Hitlers flodvåg med ynkliga ineffektiva ”andliga vapen”, övertalningsvapnen. Det fanns bara en kraft i Tyskland som kunde motverka den bruna terrorn med likvärdig hänsynslöshet, och den kraften var kommunistpartiet.    
   Vi började föra ett oupphörligt krig mot nazisterna, särskilt bland de tyska industriarbetarna, som hade förblivit fientliga mot Hitler.

   We raised the slogan, "Strike the Nazi wherever you meet him!" But it was a secondary motto for us. The paramount aim of the Communist Party was still the destruction of Social Democracy, the "principal foe" blocking the road toward a Soviet Germany. So it was that in organizing a maritime strike campaign, I concentrated my main efforts on the destruction of the socialist-controlled trade unions. With the aid of many hundreds of thousands of leaflets, we stirred up the discontent of the workers and lashed them to wild hatred against the employers, against the police and against the Social Democratic leaders—who favored arbitration. But the resistance I and my assistants met throughout this campaign came more from the militant Nazi hordes than from the hated Social Democrats.
SW: Men det motstånd jag och mina medhjälpare mötte under hela den här kampanjen kom mer från de militanta nazihorderna än från de hatade socialdemokraterna.
   The tactics employed by the Comintern to wreck the socialist trade unions was that of the "united front." Every communist meeting, newspaper, leaflet raised the slogan of the "united front" on every occasion. In the beginning, because of my sincere belief in the desirability of co-operation with the socialists, I took it literally. I went to the headquarters of the socialist Transport Workers’ Union in Bremen to propose to its chief a plan of united action in the strike then imminent. One of the numerous G.P.U. spies in our Party got wind of my visit, and sent a confidential report to Berlin, in which he accused me of secret counter-revolutionary negotiations with a notorious "Social-Fascist"—a term then in vogue among communists. The report was forwarded to Herrmann Remmele, communist Reichstag deputy, then touring Western Germany. He promptly collared me, and gave me a rough-and-tumble lecture on what the Comintern meant by the "united front."
   Comrade Remmele made it clear that no "united front" was wanted unless it preserved communist leadership. The aim was to unite with the rank and file against the will of their socialist leaders. This was called the "united front from below," and was calculated to drive a wedge between the rival leaders and their masses, and to split the trade unions. All communist proposals were intentionally so worded as to be rejected by the socialist chiefs. These proposals invariably ended with the appeal, "Defend the Soviet Union, the fatherland of all workers!" The socialist leaders rejected this formula, and the communists then cried, "Traitors! Saboteurs of co-operation!" Thus the "united front" maneuver became one of the main causes of the impotence of organized German labor in the face of Hitler’s march to power.
   I bowed to Remmele’s order.
   "That is the Party line," he said. "Any deviation from it is equal to treason!"      Five years later this veteran of the Bolshevist movement, the author of a volume in praise of the Soviet Union, who had been condemned to prison in Germany and fled to Russia, came to the end of the "Party line." He was shot in the dungeons of the G.P.U. in Moscow as a "Gestapo spy."
   The blind hatred for the Social Democrats took a decisive turn about the middle of January, 1931, when Georgi Dimitrov issued a secret memorandum of instructions to all leaders and sub-leaders of the communist columns. A special committee, headed by Thälmann, Heinz Neumann and Wollweber, was set up to carry the instructions into effect. Summed up in one sentence the instruc­tions were: "United action of the Communist Party and the Hitler movement to accelerate the disintegration of the crumbling democratic bloc which governs Germany."
   My chief aide, a leather-faced engineer named Salomon, and I stared at each other in consternation.
   "Who is crazy?" Salomon muttered. "We—or the Central Committee?"
   Wollweber and other members of the Central Committee toured the country to hammer this somersault of policy into the heads of their followers. They explained it as a masterful tactical maneuver. Once the rotten democratic system had been smashed by the combined Communist-Nazi offensive, the field would be clear for the final battle of annihilation between Swastika and Soviet Star.
SW: Wollweber och andra ledamöter i partistyrelsen turnerade landet runt för att hamra in denna politiska kullerbytta i huvudet på sina anhängare. De förklarade att det var en mästerlig taktisk manöver. När väl det ruttna demokratiska systemet hade krossats av den kombinerade kommunist-nazistiska offensiven, skulle fältet ligga öppet för den sista förintelsestriden mellan hakkorset och sovjetstjärnan.
   "Without the help of the Social Democratic Party, the German bourgeoisie cannot survive," Wollweber growled in a meeting of Party functionaries. "With the liquidation of the Social-Fascists, we are preparing the soil for civil war. We shall then give Hitler our answer on the barricades."
   Those who objected were threatened with expulsion from the Party. Discipline forbade the rank and file to discuss the issue. From then on, in spite of the steadily increasing fierceness of their guerrilla warfare, the Communist Party and the Hitler movement joined forces to slash the throat of an already tottering democracy.
   It was a weird alliance, never officially proclaimed or recognized by either the Red or the Brown bureaucracy, but a grim fact all the same. Many of the simple Party members resisted stubbornly; too disciplined to denounce openly the Central Committee, they embarked on a silent campaign of passive resistance, if not sabotage. However, the most active and loyal communist ele­ments—I among them—went ahead energetically to translate this latest Parteibefehl into action. A temporary truce and a combining of forces were agreed on by the followers of Stalin and Hitler whenever they saw an opportunity to raid and break up meetings and demonstrations of the democratic front. During 1931 alone, I participated in dozens of such terroristic enterprises in concert with the rowdiest Nazi elements. I and my comrades simply followed Party orders. I shall describe a few of such enterprises to characterize this Dimitrov-Hitler alliance and to illustrate what was going on all over Germany at that time.
   In the spring of 1931, the socialist Transport Workers Union had called a conference of ship and dock delegates of all the main ports of Western Germany. The conference took place in the House of Labor in Bremen. It was public and the workers were invited to listen to the proceedings. The Communist Party sent a courier to the headquarters of the Nazi Party, with a request for co-operation in the blasting of the trade union conference. The Hitlerites agreed, as they always did in such cases. When the conference opened, the galleries were packed with two to three hundred Communists and Nazis. I was in charge of operations for the Communist Party and a storm-troop leader named Walter Tidow —for the Nazis. In less than two minutes, we had agreed on a plan of action. As soon as the conference of the Social Democrats was well under way, I got up and launched a harangue from the gallery. In another part of the hall Tidow did the same. The trade union delegates were at first speechless. Then the chairman gave the order to eject the two troublemakers, me and Tidow, from the building. We sat quietly, derisively watching two squads of husky trade unionists advance toward us with the intention of throwing us out. We refused to budge. As soon as the first trade union delegate touched one of us, our followers rose and bedlam started. The furniture was smashed, the participants beaten, the hall turned into a shambles. We gained the street and scattered before ambulances and the Rollkommandos of the police arrived. The next day, both the Nazi and our own Party press brought out front page accounts of how "socialist" workers, incensed over the "treachery" of their own corrupt leaders had given them a thorough "proletarian rub-down."
Hated by Nazis and Communists alike were the Steel-Helmets, the military organization of the Monarchists, whose leader was Hugenberg. One Sunday morning the Steel-Helmets had assembled for a parade through the city of Bremen. Some four thousand strong, the started out on their march. A few days earlier the Communist Party high command had sent the Steel-Helmets an ultimatum to the effect:  ”Don´t march, or…” However, the Steel-Helmets were one of the best-trained political formations in Germany. They marched. Communists and Nazis mobilized to drive them off the streets. All along the route of the parade raiding detachments took up positions. Some blocks were occupied by Red Front League men, others by storm troopers, and in other blocks the Red and Brown raiders lurked shoulder to shoulder. The Steel-Helmet parade became a disaster. The field-gray formations were cut to pieces. Flags were torn, musical instruments smashed, and there was shooting and stabbing and clubbing. After that, the Steel-Helmets never marched again in Bremen.
SW: Lika hatade av nazister som av kommunister var Stalhelm, monarkisternas militära organisation, som leddes av Hugenberg. En söndagmorgon hade Stalhelmfolket samlats för en parad genom Bremen. Med en styrka på runt fyratusen man påbörjade de sin marsch. Några dagar tidigare hade kommunistpartiets högkvarter ställt ett ultimatum till Stalhelm med innebörden till: ”Marschera inte, annars…” Men Stalhelm var bland de bäst tränade politiska förbanden i Tyskland. De marscherade. Kommunister och nazister mobiliserade för att driva bort dem från gatorna. Längs hela marschvägen intog attackgrupper sina positioner. Vissa kvarter ockuperades av Röd Frontförbandens män, andra av SA-män, och i andra kvarter lurpassade de röda och bruna angriparna skuldra vid skuldra. Stalhelmparaden blev en katastrof. De fältgrå förbanden revs upp. Flaggor revs sönder, musikinstrument krossades och det var skottlossning och knivhugg och batongslag. Efter det marscherade Stalhelm aldrig mer i Bremen.
   On another occasion the German liberals were the victim. The Democratic Party had called a public mass meeting in defense of the German Constitution. It had summoned its military organiza­tion, the "Young German Knights," to protect this meeting against extremist raiders. A large police force also took up positions in the great hall. The day before the meeting, the Nazi Party had approached the Communist Party with a request for aid to smash the rally of the Democrats. A truce was established between the Red and Brown guerrillas. Both sides concentrated to wipe the Democrats off the political map. I was assigned to lead the Com­munist wrecking party; the Nazi faction was again under the com­mand of Tidow, a soldier of fortune in the clique of Captain Röhm. Our hordes came early, filling the hall before the Demo­crats arrived in force. The main speaker of the evening was Gen­eral von Lettow Vorbeck, the defender of German East Africa during the Great War. We granted Lettow Vorbeck a bare ten minutes of uninterrupted speaking. Then, at a signal, group of Nazis and Communists in the front row of the auditorium began to shout the vilest terms of abuse at the General. Police and "Young German Knights" immediately intervened to silence the marauders. In a few seconds a grand battle was in progress. Bottles and chairs whistled through the air. Well over a thousand raiders tangled with hundreds of "Knights" and police and several thousand inno­cent listeners. Tidow’s men and my own had brought with them itching powder, stink bombs and a large number of white mice. The itching powder and the mice were used to drive the women present from the meeting. General von Lettow Vorbeck was locked in a lavatory beneath the stage. The police did not dare to use their weapons for fear of hitting noncombatants. Eventually, the police drove us into the street, where the affray continued far into the night. The mass rally of the Democrats was shattered beyond hope, like so many others of their meetings throughout the Reich.
   Communist co-operation with the Hitler movement for reasons of political expediency did not stop at wrecking the meetings and demonstrations of opponents. In the spring of 1931, the German Nationalists moved for a plebiscite to oust the Social Democratic government of Prussia. Together with the followers of Hitler, they collected the number of signatures required by law to force the Berlin government to make the plebiscite mandatory. Tensely we Communists awaited the answer to the questions. ”How are we to vote? If we vote with the Nazis, the Socialist government of Prussia might fall, and a combination of Hitlerites and Monarchists will come to power in Prussia, the dominant state within the Reich. Surely we are not to give our votes to make Hitler ruler of Prussia?"
   The Communist high command, under Dimitrov, ga’e us the answer by telegram and letter, and through circulars, pamphlets, and headlines in the Party press. "Down with the Social Democrats, the chief enemy of the workers! Communists, your duty is to sweep the Socialist traitors out of the government offices!" So, while Communist and Nazi terror groups blazed away at each other in nightly skirmishes, Communists went loyally to the polls to give their votes in support of a drive launched by the Monar­chist Hugenberg and the Fascist Hitler.

   The wave of strikes which we had engineered in the early months of 1931 was water on the Nazi mill. The miners struck in the Ruhr, in Saxony, and Silesia. In my own province, along the seaboard, the waterfront workers followed. We endeavored frantically to turn this strike into a major political battle by leading the masses into conflicts with the police. But the workers, taught by many bitter experiences, were either too tired or lacked confidence in the power of the Communist Party. Under such conditions, the encounters tended to be short and hectic.
   Hamburg and Bremen were at that time the most important ports of call for the Soviet merchant marine. We received in­structions from special emissaries to exempt Russian shipping from the strike. It was Parteibefehl. So when the dockers struck, all ships were affected except those flying the Soviet ensign. Our strike committees formed special stevedoring gangs to load and unload Russian vessels while the craft of other nations lay para­lyzed. The mass of strikers protested. Nazi agitators exploited the opportunity with the cry: "The Soviet Union organizes scabbing! While the workers starve, the communists draw pay from Soviet steamers! The Communist Party places the profit interest of the Soviet Union above the bread-and-butter interest of German proletarians!"
   Many of us were sick at heart at the transformation of the Soviet government into the foremost strike-breaking firm in Ger­many. But our Party leaders were adamant. "Those who strike against the Hammer and Sickle," they proclaimed, "are saboteurs of the Five-Year-Plan, traitors to the first Land of Socialism!" Striking workers who opposed this decree were clubbed at meetings and driven off the waterfront by Red Front squads, and often straight into the outstretched arms of the Hitlerites.
   At the same time, the Nazi brigades muscled into our ranks for the purpose of infiltrating those industries which had remained immune to their propaganda. In Bremen and Minden, the Nazis perpetrated bold coups and threatened to attain a majority in the strike committees. The job of driving the Nazi squads off the docks and out of these committees was given to Edgar André, one of the leaders of the outlawed Red Front Fighters’ League. I had met him in 1923, in the lair of Maria Schipora. This warmhearted giant and superb fighter displayed uncompromising cruelty when it came to grinding Hitler’s columns into the dust.
   Edgar André had won great popularity among us after he had successfully smashed Nazi meetings in which Dr. Joseph Goebbels had been the chief speaker. André organized Red terror units in all North German towns, armed them with stilettos and Belgian automatics, and gave them the order: "For every communist murdered, five storm-troopers must be killed!" It was André who was mainly responsible for the creation of a special military organization named the "Anti-Fascist Guard." No man inspired greater fear and hatred in the hearts of the storm-troopers than Edgar André. Our undercover agents in the Hitler formations reported that the storm-troop commanders, Karl Ernst of Berlin and Fiebelkorn of Hamburg, had decreed, "André muss sterben!—André must die!"
   By this time, two years before Hitler’s ascent to power, the framework of the Gestapo was already in existence. The Nazis had adopted the pattern and technique of the Tcheka, and the elite of the storm-troopers had proved itself most gifted in copying the model of mass terror originated in Soviet Russia. From now on, it was terror against terror.
   The Nazi decision to "liquidate" Edgar André, we knew, would be carried out at any risk. André called a secret conference on March 4 to discuss the establishment of a special school to train the Anti-Fascist Guard in terrorist warfare. I was invited to the conference, and had been requested to bring with me a list of fearless young communists fit to lead terrorist drives against the storm-troopers. We met in utmost secrecy in the backroom of a tavern in Fünfhausen, a village a few miles from Hamburg. But André himself was not present, as he had received sudden orders shortly before the meeting to fly to Paris on a pressing military mission.
   The conference at Fünfhausen ended quite late. After a glass of beer at the bar, I boarded the night omnibus for Hamburg. With me were two other communists, Karl Henning, a member of the Hamburg senate, and a comrade named Cahnbley, who was in charge of the secret printing of illegal army and navy propaganda.
   Outside of Fünfhausen the bus stopped. Three young men, one in the uniform of a Nazi storm-trooper, entered and sat down near the driver. There was nothing unusual in that; the Hitlerites drummed day and night in these outlying communities. But while the bus was speeding along the open road, the three newcomers suddenly leaped up and drew guns. The uniformed trooper pressed his automatic into the driver’s back.
   "Just keep her going," he said calmly.
   The other two faced the rear of the car, their fingers on the triggers of their pistols. In a flash I realized that there had been a spy at the Fünfhausen conference, and that these three were assassins. One of them, a tall, blue-eyed youngster, leveled his gun at Cahnbley.
   "You’re André," he barked. "We are looking for you."
   Cahnbley shrunk back in his seat. The other passengers sat like frozen corpses. Comrade Henning intervened.
   "Leave him alone," he said. "That’s not Edgar André."
   The pistols swung around. One of the Nazis snapped:
   "I know you. We’ve got you on the list, you’re Henning."
   "Put down your shooting irons," Henning said.
   I exchanged a glance with Cahnbley. The next instant we lunged at the assassins. Their guns roared. Glass splintered. The trooper in front was firing at Cahnbley and me. A woman shrieked.
   We were unarmed. Comrade Henning slumped across the lap of a woman beside him, and groaned. The tall young Nazi was still firing at Henning. Some of the bullets struck the woman’s legs. She squirmed and screamed.
   Comrade Cahnbley had pulled off a shoe and was attacking the Brownshirt in front of him. The smell of burnt powder filled the bus. A small child crumpled. The guns roared deafeningly. Sud­denly Cahnbley reached for his face, and pitched atop two women in the aisle. Both women were bleeding. A bullet grazed the top of my head: I reeled and slumped between two seats.
   The bus stopped. Struggling against unconsciousness, I heard the assassins order all passengers out on the highway. I closed my eyes and lay still, pretending to be dead, and was dragged out of the bus and thrown into a ditch by the road. The Nazis com­manded the chauffeur to drive on alone. They cut the telephone wires overhead, and were picked up by a car which had followed the bus.
   Men were busy with flashlights. Blood ran down the back of my head. Henning was dead, hit seven times in the head and chest. Cahnbley had lost an eye and part of his nose. The wounded child whimpered. Two wounded women were unconscious, the third kept screaming at the top of her voice. Someone bathed my head in cold water. Before the police arrived, I staggered away in the dark. A milk truck brought me to Hamburg.
   Two nights later I sat on the platform of a communist mass meeting in the Sagebiel Hall of Hamburg. Ernst Thälmann, the Party leader, spoke. He called for the formation of Red Vigilante committees in town and country to meet the Nazi terror.
   After Thälmann, I stood up to address the meeting. The chair­man referred to the bandage I wore around my head as a "badge of revolutionary honor." I urged the masses to drive Nazi invaders out of the working class districts, and to avenge the death of Com­rade Henning. I terminated my speech with the cry, "Death to Fascism! Germany is not Italy!"
   From fifteen thousand throats came the cry for vengeance:
   "Rache! Rache!"
   Michel Avatin, of the G.P.U., was assigned to track down the murderers of Henning. They were apprehended, but had to be surrendered to the police. The judges before whom they were tried were, like most German judges, Nazi sympathizers. The assassins received prison terms, and were freed shortly after Hitler came to power. All three subsequently became members of the Hamburg Gestapo.