Fritz Platten

Fritz Platten, approx. 1930.

Fritz Platten (8 July 1883 – 22 April 1942) was a Swiss Communist, born in the Canton of St. Gallen to an Old Catholic family [1].


After the collapse of the Second International, Platten joined the Zimmerwald Movement and became a Communist.

Fritz Platten is mostly known for having been the main organizer of Lenin’s return trip from the exile in Switzerland back home to Russia after the February Revolution. Due to the First World War, the trip was not easily arranged, but Lenin and his company traveled through Germany in a sealed train car. They then took the ferry to Sweden and were greeted in Stockholm by the Swedish communist leaders Otto Grimlund, Ture Nerman, Carl Lindhagen and Fredrik Ström, who together with Platten had helped plan the trip. The train journey then continued through northern Sweden and Finland back to Russia and St Petersburg.

Platten participated in the foundation of the Communist International, and, as a representative of the Swiss Communist Party, spent much time in the Soviet Union.

Platten was present when Lenin’s car was attacked in Petrograd on January 14, 1918 (Jan 1 O.S.). The two were riding in the back of the car after having given a public speech at Mikhailovsky Manege.[1] When the shooting started "Platten grabbed Lenin by the head and pushed him down. ... Platten’s hand was covered in blood, having been grazed by a bullet as he was shielding Lenin."[2]


Platten was married to Bertha Zimmermann (1902-1937), also of Switzerland. In 1935, she worked for the OMS in Moscow as head of the courier section at the OMS headquarters of the OMS or International Liaison Department, the most secret section of the Comintern.[3][4]


Platten became a victim of the Stalinist purges of the 1930s. He was arrested in 1938 and moved to a prison camp near Nyandoma in 1939, where he was shot on 22 April 1942.[5] He was rehabilitated after Stalin's death.


  1. ^ Lenin, V. I. (1972). Speech At The Send-Off Of The Socialist Army’s First Troop Trains. Lenin’s Collected Works. 26. Moscow: Progress Publishers. p. 420, a footnote.
    1. The send-off took place in Mikhailovsky Manège on January 1 (14), 1918. As Lenin was returning to the Smolny an attempt was made on his life: a bullet went through the windscreen and passed over his head. The Swiss Communist, Fritz Platten, who was with Lenin, was wounded.
  2. ^ Volkogonov, Dmitri Lenin: A New Biography, 1994. Page 229.
  3. ^ Studer, Brigitte (2015). The Transnational World of the Cominternians. Palgrave Macmillan.
  4. ^ Sakmyster, Thomas L. (2011). Red Conspirator: J. Peters and the American Communist Underground. University of Illinois Press. pp. 37 (most secret, translation), 38 (organization), 40 (Browder), 62 (Russian counterpart), 63 (process).
  5. ^ Kevin McDermott The Comintern: A History of International Communism from Lenin to Stalin, 1996. Page 146.

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