Bram Fischer

by Sophia Dobrowski

Fischer's early life and accomplishments

Abram “Bram” Fischer was born on April 23, 1908 in the Orange Free State. He was born into a prominent Afrikaner family, into a english-speaking home. He later went to Grey University College in his home town. Fischer proceeded to study law at Grey, and then later spent 3 years at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. Fischer later became a communist after visiting the Soviet Union, and then converted to a Stalinist doctrine. He was successful in his career as a corporate lawyer, and was vastly admired as a truly brilliant man with the potential to lead the country as Prime Minister. Later in his life, in 1967, he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize. The Lenin Peace Prize is awarded by a panel appointed by the Soviet government, to notable individuals who the panel indicated has strengthened peace among comrades.
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Fischer's Anti-Apartheid Struggle

In 1942, Fischer and his wife became members of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA). He was a member of the Congress of Democrats, and in 1952 Fischer defended Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and eighteen other ANC leaders in the Defiance Campaign. In 1953, Fischer was banned under the Suppression of Communism Act and from the Congress of Democrats. For years after, there were police raids on his house. It was very clear that Fischer’s involvement and defense of the anti-Apartheid activists would put him in illegal activities. On September 23, 1964 Fischer was arrested for violating the Suppression of Communism Act. At the start of the trial he was granted bail to argue a case in England, promising that he would return, which he did. The trial commenced on November 16, 1964. On January 23, 1965, however,Fischer went underground. He was recaptured in December, disguised as "Douglas Black". At this point his trial was on far more serious charges, including sabotage. Later in a letter, he stated that no one should submit to the barbaric laws and monstrous policy of apartheid. In 1966, he was found guilty of breaking the Suppression of Communism Act which led to a conviction of life imprisonment. In 1974, Fischer was seriously ill with cancer and liberal newspapers and political leaders mounted an intensive campaign for his release. With their success, he was released from jail a few weeks before his death.
Love, Communism, revolution and Rivonia Promo 1

Bibliography

Joyce, P. (1999) Abram Fischer. Available at: http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/abram-fischer (Accessed: 13 November 2015).


shootthebreezeprod (2008) Love, communism, revolution and Rivonia Promo 1. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKUv9dfkzE4 (Accessed: 13 November 2015).