In the ranks of the FIR and its member federations Georgi Dimitrov is well known as a famous Bulgarian politician and a hero of the antifascist fight. Of cause, nobody can forget his active work against the reactionary-monarchist dictatorship since 1923. He need to go to exile, but he continued to work in the ranks of the Communist International for his antifascist commitment. He stayed in the German Reich, when Hitler was brought to power, and he was accused being responsible for torching the German Reichstag.
Antifascists will never forget his standing in the Leipzig trial (“Reichstagsbrandprozess”), where he unmasked the real responsible for the fire raising.
Dimitrov needed to be his own advocate. How successful he was, became visible not least in the legendary argument between Nazi Minister Hermann Göring, who actually appeared as the representative of the prosecution, and Dimitrov, who cross-examined him. Dimitroff put Göring in such distress with his questions that the latter – instead of answering – reacted with outbursts of anger. Before the court ended this “interrogation”, Dimitrov formulated his famous sentence: “I suppose you are afraid of my questions, Mr. Prime Minister?” Goering’s reply was more revealing than any anti-fascist reconnaissance leaflet: “You will be afraid when I catch you, when you are out of here from the court, you crook you!” he roared. Although Dimitrov was subsequently expelled from the courtroom, he was the political victor.
Dimitrov knew that the German Radio broadcast the entire trial. Despite all the restrictions and rebukes by the court, he thus had an opportunity to reach many people, who would not read only the propaganda reports of the synchronized domestic press. Therefore, he formulated in his closing words:
“I defend my own person as an accused communist. I defend my own communist, revolutionary honor. I defend my ideas, my communist sentiments. I defend the meaning and content of my life.”
Dimitrov’s heroic struggle before the bars of the fascist court remains a symbol of anti-fascist steadfastness even for today’s generations.
The lack of proof of any involvement, but especially the international publicity of this trial finally led the court to acquit Georgi Dimitrov, his two Bulgarian co-defendants Vasil Taneff and Blagej Popow as well as the KPD – functionary Ernst Torgler “for lack of evidence”.
Thanks to the international solidarity, Dimitrov could leave Germany 1933 and continued his political work. His analysis of fascism at power, he gave at the VII World congress of the Communist International, contains a lot of ideas, they are actual until now and they can help us to understand the situation and find political answers to react today. Often one can hear only the short version of his speech.
However, especially his view of all the social groups they support fascist regimes can help the antifascist movement today to bring different antifascist perspectives and positions together. Dimitrov’s analysis that fascism means war because of the aggressive character of the peer group of fascist policy remembers us to find wide alliances for peace keeping against imperialist policy.
Moreover, we do not forget his important role as Prime Minister of Bulgaria. However, he was no longer able to realize his plans for a Balkan peace region. He died at the age of 67 on July 2, 1949.
Georgi Dimitrov’s analyses and political answers are also valid for today’s world. Therefore, we remember this important Bulgarian and anti-fascist fighter. In Bulgaria, on the occasion of the 140th anniversary George Dimitrov’s birth several events, scientific conferences, public ceremonies and other commemorative events will happen. This documents that Dimitrov and his antifascist struggle are not forgotten in Bulgaria, neither by the veterans, nor by the today’s generations.
In addition, the international antifascist movement will always remember him and other heroic acts of antifascists to show that antifascist action was and is possible even under conditions of terror and persecution.