Leipzig Trial of 1933

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Leipzig Trial of 1933


a trial staged by German fascists of Communists falsely accused of setting fire to the Reichstag; held in Leipzig, Sept. 21-Dec. 23, 1933.

Seizing power in January 1933, the fascists made it their task to smash the Communist Party and destroy its influence among the masses. On the night of Feb. 26, 1933, Hitlerites acting on the direct orders of H. Göring set fire to the Reichstag building and, blaming the Communists for this act, unleashed mass terror. On February 28 an emergency decree abolishing personal freedom, freedom of assembly, of unions, of speech, and of the press was issued. Among the accused at the Leipzig trial was the Bulgarian revolutionary then in Germany, the Communist G. Dimitrov. The monstrous fascist provocation called forth a wave of protests. A commission of the greatest jurists in the world was formed, and it held an inquiry into the circumstances of the crime. The “countertrial” (held in London in September 1933) proved that the Reichstag had been burned by the Hitlerites.

From the very beginning of the Leipzig trial, Dimitrov managed to turn the fascist court into an arena for the struggle against the fascist dictatorship. He completely refuted the false charges and proved who was in reality guilty of the arson of the Reichstag. Under pressure from the protest movement that unfolded throughout the world, the court in Leipzig was forced to acquit Dimitrov and the other Communists accused. The exposure of the Hitlerite provocateurs inflicted a moral and political blow on German fascism.


Dimitrov, G. Leiptsigskiiprotsess: Rechi, pis’ma i dokumenty. Moscow, 1961.
Laiptsigskiiat protses i mezhdunarodnata solidarnost v borbata protiv fashizma 1933–1934. Sofia, 1958.
Rakhmanova, I. P. “Georgii Dimitrov na Leiptsigskom protsesse.” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1957, no. 2.
Kurella, A. Dimitrov protiv Geringa. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from German.)
Kalbe, E. Freiheit für Dimitroff: Der internationale Kampf gegen die provokatorische Reichstagsbrandstiftung und den Leipziger Prozess. Berlin, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.