Nguyen Ai Quoc has lived in Berlin for almost half a year and repeatedly writes letters to request for funding

Công bố một số tư liệu mới về Bác Hồ – Hoàng Thành Thăng Long
Travel document of the representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in Berlin issued to Chen Vang (Nguyen Ai Quoc) to go to the Soviet Union

Nguyen Ai Quoc visited Germany many times and spent many days in Germany each time. The first time was probably in 1919, the second was in 1920 and once in 1927 or 1928, but the most evident ewas the visit to Germany in 1923 on the way to the USSR for an International Farmers’ Congress held in Moscow.

On the night of June 13, 1923, Nguyen Ai Quoc boarded a train in Paris and arrived in Germany on June 14, 1923. He stayed for several days in Berlin, then from Germany got a ship to the USSR.

In Berlin, on June 16, the Plenipotentiary representative office (actually the Embassy) Soviet Socialist Republic of Russia in Berlin issued a visa number 1829 instead of a passport for to Chen Vang (Tran Vuong, Nguyen Ai Quoc) to go to the USSR.

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Visa No. 1829

Full name: Chen Vang

Born: February 15, 1895 in Indochina

Occupation: Photographer

Purpose of the trip: Professional work

Issued by USSR representative office in Berlin – Germany on June 16, 1923

Stephan Bratman signed

On June 18, 1923 Chen Vang (Tran Vuong) was given a temporary residence permit No. 5136 by the Berlin Police Department, valid until June 22, 1923, signed by Schneider, Berlin Police Chief, and then extended until June 27, 1923. The reason for the extension of temporary stay was because German port workers’s strike in Hamburg in the last days of June1923, making the ship to the USSR unable to operate.

Temporary residence permit No. 5136

On June 25, 1923, Nguyen Ai Quoc was granted a visa of the USSR. These documents are preserved at the archives of the Soviet Communist Party, now the National Institute of Social and Political History of the Russian Federation.

Entry visa number 361370

Mr.: Chen Vang

Destination: The Socialist Republic of Russia

Via the border station: Petrograd Commercial Port

Purpose of the trip: Professional work

Time in Russia: One month

In the period after the 25th, Tran Vuong boarded the Soviet ship Karl Liebneck departing from Hamburg port and on June 30, 1923 the ship docked at Petrograd harbor (named Leningrad from 1924 to 1991 under the Soviet regime and now Saint Peterburg). The sign of the Petrograd border guard post clearly indicated the date of entry.

Thus Nguyen Ai Quoc stayed in Berlin for about 12 days. Before 1923, Nguyen Ai Quoc also came to Germany twice:

– The first time was about the end of October 1919 with lawyer Phan Van Truong, including contacting to buy photo materials of AGFA for Khanh Ky photo brand which hired Nguyen Ai Quoc as a worker in its photo shop (AGFA is a subsidiary of Bayer AG Group in Leverkusen in West Germany).

– The second time Nguyen Ai Quoc came to Germany in 1920 when he joined the tour of the French Tourism Association.

– At the end of 1927, Nguyen Ai Quoc once again came to Germany (there is a research document stating that he came to Germany in February 1928), but according to Ho Chi Minh – Biography Chronicle, Nguyen Ai Quoc wrote a letter on December 16. 1927 from Berlin to the Farmer’s International Presidency.

According to the study of Mr. Tran Ngoc Quyen, former Foreign Affairs officer in Germany, on January 23, 1969 during the reception of former Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Health and also a long time German Democratic Republic’s Chairman of the Vietnamese Committee Max Sefrin visits Vietnam (this is the last delegation of the German Democratic Republic welcomed by Ho Chi Minh), President Ho Chi Minh told some details about his time in Germany in 1928 as follows:

Initially, I stayed in a family of workers near Alexanderplatz (located in the center of Berlin). But after seeing the risk of German police surveillance and arrest, the German communist comrades moved  me to the garden house in Karlhorst in Berlin County – Lichtenberg.”

Regarding Nguyen Ai Quoc’s whereabouts during this time in Berlin, Prof. Dr. Richard Kirsch, Head of the Medical Mission of the GDR came to Vietnam in 1956-1957, in the article “Ho Chi Minh – Friend of the GDR, Enthusiastic international soldier – A person closely attached to his German classmates,” wrote about his meeting with President Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi as follows:

President Ho Chi Minh said that in the 1920s he had to flee from Paris because of being under arrest warrant due to his political pursuit and at that time he had been to Berlin for several months. At first staying in a family of workers near Alex Square (short for Alexanderplatz Square) and then, when discovered by the political police (Germany), he moved out to a garden house outside of the city … “. This article was published in the SED daily Neues Deutschland (September 10, 1969) after Ho Chi Minh died.

The garden house is located in the Karlhorst district of Lichtenberg district, East Berlin, and the owner of the garden house is a kind elderly couple. In 1957 during the official visit to the German Democratic Republic, President Ho Chi Minh offered to arrange for him to visit his German savior couple in 1928, but this garden house was no longer there (during World War II it was heavily destroyed by bombing, so it became a factory campus) so this proposal could not be implemented because they did not know if the couple were still alive and where they have moved. Later, people learned that the old couple was still alive.

Also according to Prof. Wilfried Lulei and Master Axel Friedrich (both researchers on Vietnamese who have studied and worked in Vietnam for many years and the authors of the essay “Ho Chi Minh and Germany” which was published in Germany in 2011), in Berlin on March 4, 1928, Nguyen Ai Quoc met three Vietnamese coming from France at the headquarters of the Anti-Imperial Alliance. They were Tran Dinh Long, Nguyen The Thach and Bui Ai who were on the way from France to the USSR. During their short transit in Berlin, the Communist International arranged this secret meeting (according to Tran Dinh Long: Thirty years in Soviet Russia, Ha Thanh Thoi Bao, No. 21 on September 4, 1937).

According to Ho Chi Minh – Biography Chronicle – Volume I, National Library Publishing House, Hanoi, 1993, pages 252 – 262 recorded quite a lot of activities of Nguyen Ai Quoc during his time in Germany in 1928. In the letters to the Board Orient International Communist or International Farmer, Nguyen Ai Quoc proved very impatient with free time while he was eager to return to Indochina for revolutionary activities. In a letter dated December 16, 1927 to the Presidium of the People’s Council he wrote:

… In 2 or 3 weeks I will return to my country. My trip cost about $500, because I do not have money, so I hope you will help me.

Please answer me at the following address: Mr. Lai, at Mr. Escxten Haleso’s house (Hallesche Strasse). In the reply, simply write “yes” or “no.” If so (support money), send the money to the Central Committee of the German Party (ie the German Communist Party KPD), to ‘Liwang.’

With or without money, I ask you to send me a practical organization program so that I can work in a useful way.”

Or in a letter dated April 12, 1928, to the Committee for Eastern region of the International Communist, Nguyen Ai Quoc wrote: “It is impossible to work in France (because of strict police supervision), useless staying in Germany but urgent in Indochina, so I asked to leave for our country. In my letters to you, I have set up a working budget and a travel budget.

When Comrade Nobo passed Berlin, he promised to care about my problem. I told him that if he has not approved working expenditures, as long as he gives me travel costs, I would go anyway, because I had been wandering from one country to another for a year. when there’s a lot of work to do in Indochina.

But so far I have not received instructions from you nor comrade Dorio’s answer.

Currently, I am in an unbearable situation:

l) Waiting indefinitely (I have waited for instructions for 4 months).

2) There is no money for living because MOPRE cannot help me indefinitely, even for 18 dollars per week (the money is not enough for me to live but is too heavy for the organization).

So I ask my comrades to give me as soon as possible precise instructions about what I have to do and when I can leave.

Please send greetings to the communists.”

On the same day, Nguyen Ai Quoc also sent a letter to a cadre of grassroots cadet, including “… Can you imagine how I am living in a mental and physical condition: there are a lot of works but I cannot do anything, eating without working, having no money without being allowed to work, etc.

Through the above letters, we can see that during his time in Germany Nguyen Ai Quoc was constantly asking for money to soon return to Indochina for revolutionary activities.

In the beginning of June 1928 Nguyen Ai Quoc left Germany and began his journey to return to his homeland. From Germany he traveled to Switzerland by train and then to Italy.

Author: Hiếu Bá Linh –

Translator: Hoang Thanh Thang Long

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